COVER UP: Gordon Duffy-McGhie being head-moulded by prop maker Claudia Jeavons
COVER UP: Gordon Duffy-McGhie being head-moulded by prop maker Claudia Jeavons

ACTOR Gordon Duffy-McGhie recently discovered the unexpected demands of taking part in a theatre production as his face gradually disappeared under a mask of plaster of Paris bandages.

Cast as Macbeth in The Castle Players’ forthcoming summer production, he began to look more like the Invisible Man than Shakespeare’s despotic king as trainee prop maker, Claudia Jeavons, created a mould of his head.

Ms Jeavons, who joined The Castle Players in 2012, is studying for a degree in production arts and design at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in Glasgow.

Graduating this summer and required to make a severed head for her final degree project, she contacted the director of this year’s production, Laurence Sach, and offered to create the essential prop.

“I thought it would be much better to make something that would be used in an actual production,” said Ms Jeavons, who hopes to build a career in the TV and film industry after graduating. “The Castle Players production of Macbeth has come along with perfect timing,”

The initial part of the process requires a complete mould to be made of the head and neck.

This is done in two parts, the front and back of the head, which are then joined together. Liquid latex and expanding foam are then poured into the mould to create the head itself.

This is then carefully painted and individual hairs implanted with a hair punch to create a starkly realistic effect.

And what of the head-moulding experience?

Sam Turner

“Professionally swift,” said Mr Duffy McGhie. “But very, very scary. Now I know what an entombed body feels

like.”

Macbeth plays in the grounds of The Bowes Museum from July 10 to July 14.

Booking opened on Tuesday, May 1, with tickets available online from www.thewitham.org.uk, by phone 01833 631107, or in person at The Witham, Barnard Castle.

The Castle Players is a community drama group based in Barnard Castle.

The group was established in 1986 and produced its first summer production in 1989.

Since then the company has produced an annual summer production in Barnard Castle, autumn productions to encourage and develop new directors, as well as touring a classic tale to local community venues during the winter.

This year’s production will be the company’s 30th summer show.