Today I was able to sit in on a couple of the digital live Zoom performances taking place this is as part of The Spark Arts for Children half term #SparkFestival
“During lockdown families from the Belgrave community, the golden mile of Leicester, met online to share and uncover their personal histories.”
Chandni Mistry performed Airmail - a set of community told adapted stories live-streamed direct to the audience’s home, over Zoom. Airmail is a collection of stories told through time, across continents and generations. Jumping from Uganda to Watermead Country Park, Leicester.
AirMail (below - Chandni Mistry)
Rina Fatania performed The Video Call - a collection of stories that resonate voices from the heart of Belgrave, the golden mile of Leicester… a world of WhatsApps, Zooms, never ending summer barbecues and right up to lockdown.
VideoCall (below - Rina Fatania)
I’m currently compiling the on demand versions richly recorded and underscored to podcast listening comfort perfection by Audio Artist, Dimple Patel. Directed for Zoom by Trina Haldar from stories co-written by her Satinder Chohan and participating families of Belgrave in Leicester.
Delighted to have been able to introduce Marcus Romer into the mix which provided support and confidence Trina, Rina and Chandni. He allayed their fears of Zoom bringing a sense of play to the scripts embracing the confines of the video frame. Zoom was used magnificently with Virtual Background overplayed with filters. Chandni seamlessly flipped from back to background with a well placed dog face tracing filter. Feathers were raised to the camera with the space in frame thoughtfully augmented with a Paper plane and model boat large and close in passing across the field of view.
The stories gave a glimpse into a world and culture of being a migrant from India through the eyes of 2nd and 3rd generation Leicester families. Shock and delight, I audibly gasped in Airmail, here in my home at the story of family members leaving India under duress and instructed to remove jewellery at the airport to laughter in VideoCall at the contracted text speak and Dwali zooms.
I now have the live experience. Performed in speaker view with families watching from home line up along the top of the main spotlighted performers window. Interaction between the children and Chandni during Airmail pushed the boundary to wholeheartedly demonstrate that live theatre can be digital.
The 9 stories will be available to listen to as part of the Families On Demand part of the #SparkFestival programme. I am unreservedly glad I saw them performed live.
A hat tip must go also to the zoom operators Helen Raw and Katie Bosomworth.