What's happening backstage?

Introducing Tim Knight, Technical Assistant Stage Manager for Silver Birch and Senior Stage Technician for the other 2017 Season productions. 

How did you end up working in opera?

By accident! I was working on a cruise ship as a Production Manager, saw this advertised and it looked interesting. Steve (Garsington Technical Director) and Ian, his assistant, interviewed me via Skype while we were docked in Miami port. Working on cruise ships was a wonderful way of seeing the world. The travelling was incredible but life on a ship is not real life and I missed family and friends' birthdays and other events back home.

What is your role in Silver Birch?

I am Technical Assistant Stage Manager and currently also Technician/Set Builder. I work with the creative team keeping track of entrance and exits, placement of performers, prop making/sourcing, time keeping, making notes about rehearsals, helping to assemble the set, and I will also act as a liaison with the rest of the stage management team when they arrive later on in the rehearsal process. 

What do you do for Garsington Opera when you aren't working on Silver Birch?

I am Senior Stage Technician for the daytimes. That means taking over from the night crew at 8am (they do the big set change overnight). I work with the technical crew to finish assembling the set and working on repairs and notes that I've been given for the show that night.

How does working on Silver Birch differ to the other operas?

There are many many more names to write down quickly for the stage management notes and as we are setting up for rehearsals once a week we have to bring everything we need each time and then take it away. You would normally set up a room and stay there for the rehearsal process.

What have you done so far at work for Silver Birch this week?

Tuesday – I started at about 1pm with a quick meeting with Steve (Technical Director) to go through the plans for the rehearsal set get-in for Silver Birch later that day. I organised the packing of the van and the last-minute things that still needed to be finished-off and made. We then drove to Garsington’s storage to grab a few last things for the set before heading to Cressex Community School to start the get-in at 6.30pm. There were three of us from Garsington Opera and two hire crew. We had three hours to put up the set. After we left the school at 9.30pm we went and loaded the van with the props and I went back to site to finish some pre work so we could finish the set the next day.

Wednesday – I went down to site early to pick up a few things that I hadn’t found the night before and then on to Cressex to carry on the set up with Steve and Will (trainee Stage Tech). The rehearsals started at 10.30am. While Dave (Assistant Stage Manager) ran the rehearsals I was outside finishing bits of the set. By 3pm we had the whole set ready to be used and I was back in rehearsals helping run things. My day finished about 6pm with a quick tidy up and sending out the rehearsal notes for that day.

Thursday – Back to normal with only a few extras added to the set so with Dave’s help I spent the day as ASM and finished about 6pm after getting the scaffolding door in place and strapped so it could be finished the next morning.

What's your favourite part of the job?

I love making things and enjoy building. I also really enjoy organising and running things so it goes smoothly. I make things at home in my spare time; I went on a prop-making course and made a miniature castle door in a wall. I also enjoy making clothes, particularly trousers and waistcoats

If you had one bit of advice to the Silver Birch company what would it be?

Enjoy the process and the show because it's an incredible thing to be part of.