Friday 12 April 2013

Tanya Noor

I met Tanya Noor when she was a student at LCF in her 2nd year and I had just started working in the makeup department on another makeup course. This was about 20 years ago which is very scary to think where the time goes. About 6 years ago I needed a new teacher for Theatre makeup at WTC, was re-introduced to Tanya who by then was heading up Makeup on the Theatre production of Phantom of the Opera. Over the years I had kept bumping into Tanya as she was often working at the IMATS shows creating amazing characters for the Charles Fox team. While Phanton has played a big part of Tanyas career she has also worked on productions for the Royal Ballet, Royal Variety Performance, BBC Childrens in Need, This Morning as well as a host of films working as a daily makeup artist.

Tanya came in to teach Theatre Makeup to our first year HND students and has stayed with us ever since. Our students love her teaching and down to earth attitude, some of our graduates have been fortunate to gain work experience and some jobs on the Phantom Production. I observed Tanya teaching as her mentor on her teacher training programme and it was refreshing to see how she tranfers the learning and knowledge of her skills to the students. Tanya's technical skills appear skillful and she combines this with her working knowledge of over 20 years experience.

I believe Tanya is a master of makeup, creating wigs, prosthetics, straight and character makeup. Tanya is very well liked and respected in the makeup industry and is often called in by other artists for her expertise. For example the  makeup maestro Sharon Dowsett called in Tanyas help on a fashion shoot where they needed help with SFX.
In September 2011 I was asked by Tanya to become part of her team of 15 makeup artists working on the 25th Anniversary of "Phantom of the Opera". 


I went to view the show at Her Majesties Theatre in preparation to understand the show in greater detail. Backstage Tanya showed me how she applied the phantoms makeup, who at that time was John Owen Jones who had his rock music blaring out in the makeup room. It takes Tanya about 40 minutes to complete the makeup for each performance. 
Tanya asked me to become involved to help with the body makeup on two male dancers, one of whom needed tattoos to be covered up as well straight makeup applications on the female ballet dancers.

I also went along to help Tanya with the rehearsals testing how the makeups appeared on camera as the production was going to be filmed in HD and some alterations needed to be made to the traditional makeups. It was amazing to see the vast scale of the set design encompassing computer generated images onto a large screen at the back of the stage. We tested the white makeups for a particular scene and Tanya also tested the phantom makeup, there were discussions and viewings on camera with the team of designers/directors then continuous changes were made until everyone was happy with the final selections.

The tech day for Phantom 25 was on Friday 30th September, I arrived early to set up in the ballet dancers room. My plot included applying body makeup to the two male ballet dancers playing in the opening scenes and applying a traditional makeup on the ballerinas. All the makeup designs were set by Tanya accompanied by visuals and test makeup photographs on the artistes. The principal male ballet dancer was brought in from the Royal Ballet and this was the world renounced artiste Sergei Polunin who needed a selection of tattoos to be covered up. The other ballet dancer was Simon who plays the same role each evening on the Phantom production. On the Friday we worked a system to use and apply the makeup quickly and during the dress rehearsal we could test how durable the makeup was especially with the coverage on the tattoos. In the end we decided to work with the derma palette from Kryolan, powdered with MAC Studio Fix, reapplied with derma colour and re powdered with Studio Fix. When we were happy the tattoos were covered up, we used MAC Face & Body in C9 all over the upper torso and then finished off with airbrushing for definition on the muscle formations.


 The rehearsal day was busy, chaotic, lots of problem solving and timing issues and from starting at 10am we finished at 11.30pm with still part of the tech to finish. This is a normal production day.
Tanya applied the makeup for the female lead of Christina which was played by Sienna Boggess and Christopher Tucker was brought in to apply the prosthetic makeup on the Phantom, played by the brilliant Ramin Karimoo .
The next day we started early, we prepped the ballet dancers and the two male dancers. I was working in a team of 5 makeup artists, Christine, Denise, Amanda, Faye and we worked really well together as a team. The next two days of the production ran really well, it was fast and we had to work as a team and quickly while keeping the performers calm in a stress free environment. 


Tanya put a great team of makeup artists together including Spob O'Brien who worked on Liz Robertson as Madame Giry and Amanda Turner who worked on the male principals including Wynne Evans.
The final show was a real success and while the main show was at the Royal Albert Hall, it was also shown in cinemas throughout the country. For the finale of the show Sarah Brightman came on to perform a song from the show and was surrounded by 5 of the phantoms including John Owen Jones and Colm Wilkinson. Finally Michael Crawford came on stage with the original London cast of Phantom and Andrew Lloyd Webber for the final bow to a standing ovation.