Bespoke structural glass box for the National Theatre

The specialist works division of IQ created a bespoke structural glass box for theatre production, Network, on stage at the National Theatre in London. Network was a sold-out success at the National Theatre and returned to Broadway to continue its triumph. The play starred Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale, a news anchorman who was struggling to pull in viewers. The Network follows Beale as he gradually unravels on stage, a performance that won Bryan Cranston the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actor in Play.

national theatre scene

During the play, Howard Beale presents his final broadcasts where he unravels live on-screen – little did he know that this would make ratings soar and propel Beale into the position as ‘the biggest thing on TV’. The Network play showcases the media environment throughout both its hilarious moments and hair-raising aspects.

The Network, based on the film by Paddy Chayefsky is a Tony award-winning performance. The stage creative utilised the large glass box which was constructed on a moving trolley so that the ‘newsroom’ within the glass box could move across the stage. The performance included four cameras, two of which were handheld, this allowed the camera crew to move freely across the stage – which made the cameras become a character of their own. The fluidity of the clear glass box and the cameras moving around the stage really creates a live story-telling element.

national theatre the network

The structural glass design consists of vertical and horizontal panes of frameless structural glass joined together with minimalistic silicone joins. To support these clear glass panes, frameless glass fins and glass beams were included within the glass box design to accentuate the clear, frameless aesthetic. The single glazed box was a beautiful element of the stage design, it captured the lights that were illuminating the stage and cleverly created a separate room on stage that could clearly be seen into.

the network structural glass

The bespoke glass box design also included a single glazed pivot door so the actors could easily move in and out of the glass box but also close the door during scenes where the actors needed to have a clear separation from the studio on stage.

Photography Credit: National Theatre. Photos by Jan Versweyveld

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Shannon Normoyle

As one of the Senior Marketing Executives, Shannon oversees the website and SEO management for IQ and can often be found working on SEO strategies or writing content for the websites. 

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