The Family Way by Bill Naughton as been produced a number of times at the Octagon, most recently in 2015. 

Produced in the round, the only thing to be seen when the audience entered was a giant net curtain, that contained the entire set.  This was lifted at the beginning to reveal the company of actors, all dressed for a wedding, who then set out the furniture to resemble the house, as if it was being unfolded. 

Setting the net curtain prior to every show was a job that involved everyone available, with a member of stage management directing operations from the grid and the rest of us on stage, guiding the net into place.  Often the actors would be around the edges of the auditorium, starting their warm-up, so we would be accompanied by all kinds of unusual sounds and snatches of dialogue. 

As the show begins with a wedding, one of the first things we had to make was a wedding dress.  We have about twenty wedding dresses of different styles and periods in our store, but nothing quite like this.  We used a vintage dress pattern and this lovely cotton lace over a silk lining.  To edge the hem, neck and the sleeves hundreds of the individual daisy style flowers were cut out of the lace and put together to make a unique trim. 

Adding the next patch 

I have added this patch in a slightly different way.  The lining fabric underneath is attached in the usual way but the lace is simply laid on top and then attached with random running stitch (also called seeding) using this lovely space dyed thread. 

The stitching holds the delicate lace in place better than a conventional seam would. 


Coming up next 

Helping out a colleague… 

 See the rest of the blogs in the series so far