A pallet recycling specialist found itself in the unfamiliar role of theatre agent after Manchester’s award-winning Royal Exchange needed help with stage sets for two of its productions.
The Royal Exchange approached Dukinfield-based PH Pallets to supply more than 50 pallets for its spring – summer season productions of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the world premiere of ‘Cannibals’. The pallets were used to create the atmospheric stage designs for the two successful productions.
Mark Houghton, a partner in PH Pallets, says, “We were a bit surprised – and honoured – to get a call from the Royal Exchange but we’re slowly getting used to strange requests. We didn’t hold any auditions for the pallets. We just used our normal procedures, quality checks and tracking to choose the star pallets – and they worked beautifully on stage!
“The humble pallet is like gold dust within the creative community. You just have to search the social network platform, Pinterest, to see thousands of creative ways to reuse and recycle wooden pallets. We’ve even had a lady drive more than 100 miles from North Cumbria to pick up three pallets so she could make a decorative log store!”
The Royal Exchange is a busy theatre and builds all of its sets in its workshop space in Swan Street, Manchester.
John Goodfellow, Press and Communications Manager for the Royal Exchange, says, “It was just an odd coincidence that both designers were inspired to use pallets in what were two very different plays. In both cases it gave the design an incredible flexibility with stage crew and cast moving the pallets around to suggest everything from a courtroom in 1930s deep south America (To Kill A Mockingbird) to the rural fields of Eastern Europe (Cannibals).”
Written by Rory Mullarkey and directed by Michael Longhurst, the ‘Cannibals’ stage was designed by Chloe Lamford. Harper Lee’s iconic ‘To Kill A Mockinbird’ was adapted by Christopher Sergel and directed by Max Webster with set design by James Cotterill. The plays kicked-off the Royal Exchange’s Spring – Summer 2013 season, which continues now with Harold Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party’.