They call themselves 'the magicians' who work behind the spotlight. A group of graduates from the Applied Arts Department of the Academy for Performing Arts have unveiled the mysteries of stage production in their graduation exhibition. The 13 graduates involved in the exhibition major in three main streams: scenic art, costume making and prop making. They have gone through two years of diploma studies and three years of degree training. The exhibition features their final year projects, which include a diverse range of artwork such as costumes, photos, paintings and kinetic sculptures. Scenic artist LuLu Siu Lo-lo, 22, created a set of oil paintings, photography and video work under the theme 'as beautiful as life'. She captured touching moments of people on the street and at the airport. Costume maker Lily So Lai-lai, 23, crafted a collection of corsets based on those worn from the 17th to 19th centuries. For reference, she used fashion books and magazines. 'I'm fascinated by the changes in female fashion. In the past, women used corsets to shape their figures to the extent that they could hardly breathe,' she said. Prop artist Regina Wong Wing-po, 24, designed kinetic installation of a rolling ball using stainless steel and a metal ball. The stunning work is a labour of love which combines the aesthetics of physics, mathematics and visual arts. Most audiences tend to pay more attention to stage performers while ignoring the busy workers backstage. But the three graduates said they are proud to be part of a team which makes theatre a place where dreams and aspirations are fuelled. 'People may not be aware of a tiny prop. For example, a watch we have made. Still, I find a sense of satisfaction in it,' Wong said. They described themselves as magicians who possess the 'magic power' to transform a bare stage into a forest and a pretty young girl into an old witch in the blink of an eye. The budding artists have been involved in many school stage productions, ranging from experimental theatre works at the Studio Theatre to flamboyant musicals at the Lyric Theatre. 'Many people think studying arts isn't practical because an artist doesn't have a clear career path. But I think our training is very comprehensive,' Siu said. 'We learn about the workflow of the whole stage production, from craftsmanship to financial planning. 'We can also apply the knowledge not just in the theatre but also in other entertainment fields such as the advertising and film industry.' The Applied Arts Graduation Exhibition runs daily from 10am to 8.30pm until July 8 at the Studio Theatre of the Academy. For more information, call 2584 8592.