All aboard for Northern School of Art Hartlepool’s latest impressive set

A film set that would not look out of place in a big budget production of Murder on the Orient Express has been built by talented Hartlepool students.

This impressive full-scale replica of a luxury period train carriage has been skilfully recreated from scratch by production design students at the Northern School of Art in Church Street.

It will soon be all aboard for filming opportunities by students from other departments as well as becoming a stage set for the Billingham Players amateur dramatics group.

Fifteen second year students from the Production Design for Stage and Screen degree course have spent around six months designing and building the set from scratch.

Course lecturer Norman Austick said: “The Northern School of Art is one of only a few institutions that provide the opportunity for students to design, develop and build full-scale sets.

“We have alumni from the course who work for the Royal Shakespeare Company, BBC, Disney, Madame Tussauds, Pinewood Creatives – it’s a terrific, hands-on course that provides students with the practical design and specialist skills they need for an exciting career in the creative industries.”

The project has included everything from the students reupholstering chairs, making curtains, printing cocktail menus and designing bottle labels.

The carriage named the Hartlepool to Istanbul is modelled on luxury trains from around the turn of the 20th Century.

Student Joe Littler,19, said: “It was the age of luxury rail travel. The film course from our university have written some scripts for it which they are going to film on.”

Hope Harvey, also 19, said: “It’s been really useful by working in group work and construction because a lot of us didn’t use construction before.”

The entire set has been made from items that can be recycled or are biodegradable as the students have sought throughout to make it environmentally sustainable.

Chloe Smith, 20, designed intricate veneer panelling which used a laser cutter for the pattern.

She said: “They have been made out of recycled plywood, environmentally friendly stains and inks to bring out the different colours.”

Norman added: “I think the quality of what they have done is really good.

“They have worked really hard and well as a group.”

Next month, the set will be redressed and transported down the A19 for the Billingham Players’ production Equally Divided.

It will then return to the Northern School of Art to serve as the backdrop to the costume programme’s Great Gatsby themed party and college’s end of year show.