What does a Scenic Artist Apprentice do?
Louisa Mozzilli reflects on her two-year placement with the Scenic Art team.
The Royal Opera House recently held a prize-giving ceremony to congratulate our Scenic Artist Apprentice, Louisa Mozzilli, who has successfully completed her two-year apprenticeship at the Scenic Art Workshops in Thurrock.
The Scenic Art team is responsible for painting, repairing and modifying scenery for both Royal Opera and Royal Ballet productions. Recently, they have been preparing the backcloth for Laurent Pelly’s new production of Robert le diable, which opens on 6 December.
Louisa joined the team in 2010. Since then, she has worked on a number of productions to learn the vast array of skills that are required to become a proficient Scenic Artist. From creating the Mad Hatter’s Theatre from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to refurbishing sets for The Nutcracker; assisting Turner prize-winner Chris Ofili on the backcloths for Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 to texturing the walls of Carthage for David McVicar’s production of Les Troyens, Louisa has developed and honed techniques that will make her highly employable.
“Getting the opportunity to learn on classic and modern sets has been such a privilege,” explained Louisa. “I have been given the time to develop at my own pace and try out techniques on my own projects as well as contribute to the scenery which could be seen in the season’s repertory. No week was ever the same which really kept my on my toes! One week, I would be refurbishing The Nutcracker, the next week I would be creating wood-grain effects for Falstaff‘s panelled walls. My apprenticeship has been a rare and wonderful opportunity to learn on the job – I would recommend it to anyone!”
Since finishing her apprenticeship, Louisa has gained employment with a commercial Scenic Painting Studio and will be working on sets for new West End productions. She hopes to gain further experience and one day to return to the Royal Opera House once again.
The Scenic Artist Apprenticeship is one of a number of training opportunities that the Royal Opera House offers in backstage technical and production and provides places for between eight and ten young people each year to gain both high-quality vocational training and learn on the job from some of the best in the industry. Earlier this year, Armoury Apprentice Sabrina Clarke celebrated the completion of her 18-month apprenticeship. Other apprenticeship areas include scenic carpentry, scenic metalwork, costume-making and technical theatre. Find out more about apprentice opportunities at the Royal Opera House.
The Royal Opera House’s Scenic Artist Apprenticeship is generously supported by The Gordon Foundation