Young blade trains as opera armourer
Tuesday 27 May 2008
The Royal Opera House is taking on its first armourer's apprentice to look after weapons used during its productions.
The opera house in London has decided to take on its own trainee to shadow the official armourer because it has become difficult to recruit people with the right skills. University courses relied on by theatreland have been found to lack the right practical content.
The ROH has appointed 20-year-old Robbie Candy to learn the trade, ensuring all the weaponry needed for productions is in the right place at the right time and in good repair. He will also be making items such as knives and sword holsters used by the cast.
Mr Candy was learning to make and repair guitars at Merton College in south London when he was signed up for the post. He works a two-day week at the ROH – full-time during the college holidays.
He was recruited by Bendy Ashfield, the project manager for the scheme at the ROH, who was convinced students on the college's guitar and violin making courses would be ideal for the job.
Mr Candy, who comes from a theatrical family, saw it as an ideal opportunity to enter a world that he wanted to join. "My family history was in the theatre or showbiz so it feels kind of like I should be working in it," he said. "My auntie was in the Royal Ballet and my grandma was a dancer during the war. One of my great uncles was in a tap-dancing trio and then I had a great cousin who was a singer and an actress.
"I didn't have the talent to act or perform so a backstage job was just what I wanted. So far I've made belts and 'frogs' [scabbards] for holding swords. I'll get the chance to make other things later on."
Mr Candy is learning his trade under the tutelage of Rob Barham, who has been the armourer at the ROH for 22 years.
They have just been preparing for Don Carlos by Giuseppe Verdi – an elaborate production which needs 100 swords – which opened this month.
"I have to watch Robbie when he's doing something more dangerous like polishing up the swords for the production," said Mr Barham. "There are certain items that could bite back."
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Britain's first cinema flickers back to life following £6m refurbishment
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
James May hints Top Gear days are over following Jeremy Clarkson's BBC exit
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers