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HMS Pinafore

Martin Jarvis
HMS Pinafore design
Award-winning designer and sailor Martin Jarvis (left) and his boat (right).
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We hadn't performed this show for a while (1991),so it was very refreshing to give it an airing.

The distinguishing feature of the show was a glorious set inspired by Fraser Grant & designed by Martin Jarvis.

Audiences were stunned by the sight of the man-'o-war as it occupied the whole of the large acting space with orchestra on the poop deck.

Resplendent with canon, figurehead, mast, rigging and authentic flags, the deck was large enough to accommodate the full company.

A couple of seagulls were perched in the auditorium and another one, christened Dick Deadeye, who got his revenge in Act two. All in all a lively and colourful show.

The set was Highly Commended in the The National Operatic & Dramatic Association awards, London Region, for 2009.

Said Martin Jarvis, who in addition to designing the set also sang - and danced - in the male chorus: "Fraser Grant, the director, felt that because The Questors Theatre can accommodate a full thrust stage, we should have the forward part of the ship instead of the poop deck or midships as is usual done - so I ran with the idea.

I had always been fascinated by square-rigged ships as a little boy so here was a chance to build something full size. We decided the orchestra would be accommodated on an upper deck behind the acting area.

I prefabricated the prow, figurehead, mast, nine-pounder cannon, belaying pin rack and mooring bollards at home and with the aid of my RNR friend, Lt.Cmdr. Philip Treloar (who was also in the male chorus), we were able to add real signal flags, ship's bell, oars and props - like a telescope and boatswain's whistle.

With the aid of most of the cast we got it together in time although it was a huge amount of work."

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