The Build Begins

The first of many

the first of many (flats)

There is now a furious sound of hammering and drilling coming from the unit in the Mander Centre – or more strictly, there is the furious sound of hammering and drilling in the unit. No sound must escape and disturb the shoppers. It was one of the restrictions on using the space, that we only found out about quite late, but in a way, we should have realised it earlier – you never see shop fitters at work in the normal run of things. When the shopping centre is open, you can’t be banging and crashing about and destroying the shopping experience of the public. That’s why shop fitters have to do night shifts – or twilight working.

Some of the many flats we'll use

lots of the many

Our original intention was that the public would be able to come into the unit, to a viewing area, and see it as it gradually developed from an empty space to the newly created set. The noise restrictions make this unlikely now. Most of the building is being done downstairs to keep the noise limited, then the team will bring it up stairs and put it into place.

So everyone is working away like ants in a nest, in the bowels of the Mander Centre. If they are good they will be allowed out to see the sunshine every once in while – but only if they are good.

Uzma arrives

Uzma arrives

The design team is a mixture of people who worked on it last time and new faces. Already they seem well set and busy, with basic flats being knocked out at an astonishing speed. By Monday the first bits will go into the space and then the designers will get to work finishing. The rooms will be different to last time, because of the new people, but also because so much stuff is scavenged to decorate them; so each time it is going to be different – it will be what ever the charity shops and auctions have to offer on the day.

The hope is to have as much done as possible before the cast arrive in a few weeks. I have faith.

Steve Johnstone, co-director


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