Transforming the Manchester Lines set

Designer Amanda Stoodley takes us behind the scenes of the Manchester Lines set…

When we first saw the vast space up on the fifth floor of Number One First Street it was sitting empty, quiet and still. A lot can change in two weeks. Now, it’s a hive of activity and we’re full steam ahead transforming it into a ‘theatrical journey’.

The main fit-up is nearly complete. It was a tricky build and a bit like piecing together a jigsaw, because although the space is large, access to it is very small in comparison.

Manchester Lines is set in a lost property office so at the start of the project we visited the Transport for London’s Lost Property Office, to give us a real feel and flavour for our lost property office of the soul. It was a truly fascinating and intriguing place – thousands of lost items, from the obvious to the totally extraordinary and every one with its own story. It was an enormous inspiration for the design, which needed to contrast, and at the same time blend, with the style and feel of Number One First Street.

Now we’re sorting, selecting and labeling all the bags and boxes of donated and borrowed items, which we’ve been gathering to line the shelves and dress our Manchester Lines world. As we go through it all, you can’t help but wonder about the owners or journeys of these weird and wonderful items. Some might be used by the actors or referred to in the play and some might simply just be on the shelf – a collection of lost and random objects…or are they? Soon we’ll be handing it all over to our wonderful cast, and then it really will come to life. I can’t wait.

I believe we’re the first people to inhabit this part of Number One Frist Street and it’s nice to think that a brand new empty space with no history now holds hundreds and hundreds of little tales.

Take a quick look at our production team in action transforming the space in this short timelapse video. You also get a taster of some of the music you can expect on the night courtesy of our Musical Director Dominic Harlan…

Manchester Lines runs from 12 June until 7 July 2012

Places are strictly limited – so get your tickets early, last year’s production of Hard Times was a 100% sellout!