Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – West Side Story - content- not single

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – West Side Story


Opera Australia

Services provided:

Steel stage set construction, custom scrim and on site installation


Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour – West Side Story


Mrs Macquarie’s Point, Sydney

The brief:

Following the successful delivery of various staging, set and prop elements for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour for the productions of Madam Butterfly, Aida, Turandot, Carmen and La Bohème, Opera Australia once again engaged SRC for the 2019 production of West Side Story.

SRC were required to set the scene for this modern-day Romeo and Juliet story that unfolds on the mean streets of New York’s West Side, where two rival gangs strut their stuff.

How it was brought to life:

SRC built a huge steel structure to create the underside of a freeway passing over a basketball court in New York. This overpass portal was formed with approximately 11 tonnes of steel and measured an imposing 31m wide and 15m high.

Precisely built to engineer specs, the portal featured a ply cladding platform across the top and two custom staircases providing access. Custom built handrails matching the steel structure ensured the safety of backstage crew and performers. The entire structure, including the staircases and handrails, was painted black.

To create the look of the underside of a freeway, SRC worked with a trusted supplier who digitally printed a custom scrim with opaque lines as well as the Statue of Liberty torch. Scenic paint was applied to the white seams of the scrim so they blended discreetly into the scene. PVC see-through mesh was used to ensure the scrim would withstand the potential weather conditions an outdoor stage can be exposed to, including wind and rain. (Lucky they did as opening night saw guests donning their wet weather gear!). The scrim was then secured into place using two lengths of 11mm keder rope edge and a custom tensioning system.

Guests arrived at the venue through an entry arch built by SRC; a scaffold structure, clad in ply faced flats which were painted black and treated pine slat cladding painted in a scenic wash.

SRC completed delivery by assisting with assembly on site over four days.

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