Sydney Theatre Company head of set construction James McKay was typical of many youngsters in that he had no idea what he wanted to do when he was at school.
McKay started in the industry while travelling overseas, where he used his gift of the gab to talk his way into a set construction job while living in London and desperate for money.
In this interview with The Daily Telegraph, James explains how set building is a unique trade, different in the theatre from that of film and television. He explains the process, the challenges of touring and the skills worth having if you're thinking about getting into this area.
He also sheds light on the range of people involved in set building teams, for example:
"Sometimes we have to get an engineer's certificate to approve our building methods. We do the construction and then scenic artists do the painting. In a smaller company people are more multi-skilled."In terms of qualifications which are most useful, James believes carpentry, steel/boilermaking and building are the best trades to have for this field. An appreciation of art or creative endevours and being hands-on are the qualities needed for success.
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Photo: James McKay (Courtesy: CareerOne/The Daily Telegraph)
(Original article by By Henry Budd, The Daily Telegraph)