Behind the Scenes at A Child of Science

5 Jul 2024

Our 5-star hit production A Child of Science will be coming to an end on Sat 6 July. This brand-new play written by Gareth Farr, directed by Matthew Dunster and co-produced with ImPossible Producing, told the story of a remarkable medical breakthrough that changed the world as we knew it. 

Audiences were left deeply moved by the heartfelt and caring way the harsh realities of the journey to IVF success were represented. You can see what audiences thought here.

But keeping the emotional intensity and slick staging night after night takes a powerhouse of a cast and crew, and we knew we had to document their phenomenal work before they take one last curtain call.

So, we invited back Bristol photographer (and Portrait of Britain Award-winner) Cíara Hillyer to sneak about backstage during a show, to capture some of the candid moments between the brilliant team making the show the success it is.

The acting company arrive an hour and a half before the start of the show and always begin with a warm-up on stage. This can be anything from stretches or vocal warm-ups to an impromptu game of footie.

Once the company are in costume, the beginners are called to the stage to set up for the start of the show. 

The cast are called to the stage when needed by the Deputy Stage Manager who is also responsible for cueing all the lighting, set and sound changes that take place during the show.  The DSM will also note any wear and tear to the set or props to ensure everything is perfect before the next performance. 

There can be quite a bit of waiting around between scenes...

...alongside some dashing from one side of the theatre to the other for those quick entrances...

The cast have some assistance with hair, make-up and costume from the brilliant team in Wardrobe but there is still quite a bit of DIY in theatre!

The beautiful set by Anna Fleischle was complimented by Sally Ferguson's stunning lighting. You can read out more about Anna's design here

Actors waiting for their entrance onto stage have stood in this wing space for hundreds of years...

We analysed the paint on these walls and found they were impregnated with decades of greasepaint - the old traditional makeup used by actors in the 18th-19th Centuries. Actors would wipe their nervous faces with their hands and then lean on the walls while waiting for their entrance.

There are quite a few props in A Child of Science, sourced by our Stage Management team. 

Here's one of actor Gruffudd Glyn's favourites...

A Child of Science runs until 6 July. Find out more and booking