Company Quick Fire | Queensland Theatre

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK AT THE STATE THEATRE COMPANY? 

I come from a family of 10 children who have all had, or still have, careers in the Theatre industry as set builders, scenic artists, costume makers and props makers. I started my career with an apprenticeship in 1980 at the Australian Opera workshop in Sydney (now Opera Australia). My father Ray Pierce was the Construction Manager there at the time. The younger half of our family moved from Sydney to Brisbane in 1982 where I continued as a set builder at my Fathers set construction workshop, Raypier Constructions, building outdoor venues for the Commonwealth Games Festival, and scenery the Royal Command performance then later building scenery for the QPAC opening concert and opera sets for the Lyric Opera (now Opera Queensland). I later joined QPAC in staging and workshop where I stayed for 12 years before joining Queensland Theatre production department in 2001. 

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE HERE AT QUEENSLAND THEATRE?

In my role as - Company Carpenter/Head Mechanist - I’m involved in devising construction methods of scenery, props, special effects, automation as well as rigging and logistics of transport, from the presentation of the design through to construction phase. I then supervise the dismantling then re-assembling of each production from our workshop to various venues in Brisbane and/or interstate.

HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN THE ARTS?

As a young boy, my Father would take my younger brothers and I into work with him some weekends or on school holidays. There we watched him with his staff (some of whom were our older siblings) constructing scenery, props or painting large backdrops and would sometimes be called on to help in some way and, sometimes, we even came backstage to the theatres he was working in. So yes I’ve always had an interest in the arts and lucky enough to have made a career from it. There is an old saying that my father often quoted “how do you get an elephant out of the theatre?... You can’t ….. It’s in his blood.”

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE EXPERIENCE AT QUEENSLAND THEATRE?

It’s happened more than once, but it doesn’t always happen. The experience of sitting in the auditorium on opening night and a beautifully designed set is revealed to the audience for the first time and it’s like everyone is gasping in amazement at the same time. That never gets old.

WHAT’S ONE THING YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

My two brown labs (wait - that’s two things).

WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD?

Working in a gelatin factory.

IN YOUR OPINION – WHAT IS THE BEST PLAY EVER AND WHY?

There’s been so many shows I’ve worked on in my 38 yrs, but a recent one is The Wider Earth. The combination of puppets, set, costume, sound, lighting and AV worked so well together and everyone that worked on that show were so enthused by the energy from the Dead Puppets Society that they all went that extra mile to get it over the line. And what a lovely story told about Charles Darwin.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO ON THE WEEKEND?

Hanging out with my family and dogs and playing guitar.

 


John Pierce
Company Carpenter/Head Mechanist
Queensland Theatre