Layout and booth building guidelines for a Renaissance Faire, and other outdoor themed events.
Monday, May 7, 2012
BUILDING HISTORY OUT of PLYWOOD, BURLAP & HAY BALES
The basic building blocks of any Faire
Renaissance Faires are THEATRE set in the woods. Your goal is to transport your audience back in time but often with only a small budget and the reality that most, if not all of your structures will need to be temporary. There are few Faires that have the luxury of a permanent site where they can leave their main structures up all year round. This means that every building will need to be transported in, erected, and then removed at the end of the event. One thing that you can say about the building materials in Elizabethan England was that they were anything but portable. Half-timber buildings with thatched roofs and stone foundations don’t transport well, and trying to fake these can be tricky if not done artfully. As large-scale outdoor theatre, you are basically creating an enormous stage set, but you are asking your audience to suspend their belief just enough to imagine that these structures are “real”. Your guests will arrive wanting to “play along” but their imaginations are only just so elastic and can be snapped by the sight of too many anachronistic elements and details. Your goal as the designer of the Faire is to balance these budgetary, safety, and building codes, within the period illusion you are trying to sustain. In the end, your allies will most often be plywood, burlap & hay bales. All of which can be configured to represent almost all of the environments you are trying to create.