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Michael's the new Opera House apprentice
7:30am Monday 23rd April 2012 in News
WHEN building things out of Lego as a youngster, little did a lad know he would one day be helping to build some of the most spectacular stage sets in the world.
For 19-year-old Michael Wilson, learning about and helping with the construction of sets for the Royal Opera House at its Purfleet base is now a day job.
He is the newest apprentice at the new production facility, learning a trade in carpentry at the impressive, purpose-built Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop at High House Production Park, the UK’s first national centre of excellence for technical skills, crafts and artistic production.
Reporting to the foreman and working with a team of skilled carpenters, Michael, a theatre fanatic, has just helped build an impressive set for the ROH production of Falstaff which opens in Covent Garden on May 15.
Michael, from Rainham, and the team are now building a spectacular set for Les Troyens, which opens at the end of June.
While on the ROH apprenticeship, Michael also goes to the Building Crafts College in Stratford every few weeks.
He said: “I’m really loving it. I don’t think there’s another apprenticeship I’d enjoy more.
“I’ve always had an interest in building and in theatre, so it’s perfect.”
Explaining how he got the apprenticeship, Michael, who studied at Palmers College, Grays, said: “I had a friend doing some casual work here and so managed to get some work experience. I then had an interview and that was how I got the job.”
The ROH sets, which are huge but intricately detailed, have wow-factor. As such, much of Michael’s work is confidential.
In February, Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price announced 830 apprenticeships for young people had been created last year.
Michael said: “I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is not sure what they want to do.
“If I don’t get offered a job here, my apprenticeship is teaching me skills I can use elsewhere.”