Theatre Feed

Edinburgh Fringe - Gather for iMelania

Gather… Melania is the next show in town. This was signposted for me by Imitating The Dog who as a theatre company Explore the boundaries between theatre and technology. A recommendation from these guys certainly got my attention.

 

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Edinburgh Fringe LIVE(streamed) from New York City - Planet of the Grapes

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Planet of the Grapes - A retelling of the film classic Planet of the Apes. Yes! Following on for my Twitter request for shows. (Blog Post PT1) Planet of the Grapes performer Peter Michael Marino https://twitter.com/blackoutpete signposted his show to me. It was akin to walking down the Edinburgh Royal Mile picking up leaflets for shows to select.

It's not about finding shows, the annual fringe program is jammed packed. What to chose? picking up a flyer is a way to narrow the field. Yesterday's tweet did just that.

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Live digital theatre with an after-show chit chat. It was a delight to go backstage and meet Peter. Get a guided tour of the stage to see behind the scenes, as well glimpse into the performers green room! Such magnetic personalities ;)

Corking performances, Grape acting… and wonderful imagination. A treat for those who are well versed in the original film and a few treats for those who have read the book.

I loved the pre-show arrival with live mini ghost light with the Livestream scrolling ticker and audience noise. The mini interval was complete with a grape pianist. It was digital bijou. I loved it. It had for me the spirit of fringe in buckets. The close-up and personal of the tabletop stage leaning well into the digital medium where you’d not get that view in a physical venue. It made me want to see puppet theatre again.

Peter is a master at playing with that sense of scale. It was wonderful.

Thank you Peter for sharing with me your process. Your aspirations for the future of the show and the 'what went to plan' and the 'things that didn’t' making the liveness so magical. And is a perfect example of digital theatre.

Continue reading "Edinburgh Fringe LIVE(streamed) from New York City - Planet of the Grapes" »


It started with a tweet

This morning I Tweeted... Recommendation for a digital theatre, online live performance or immersive #XR remote access experience to attend this weekend or next week, please. @CITheatre @ImitatingtheDog @KillTheCatCo Other digital innovating tweeters welcomed. #DYCP

First, stop https://electricmedway.co.uk/about/

I attended Chronic Insanity Theatre’s Puncture the Screen festival during the first week of my holiday on the Isle of Mull at the end of July. The holiday location is super remote. I love it. Attending a festival of super interest to me combining the 2. I loved it. A mixture of on-demand pieces, performance, workshops and live expert panels was just what I needed to truly be rested and reset for when I returned home.

This is my first Saturday home and I have vowed to make Saturdays culturally enriching. Seeing shows, reading books and checking out VR, XR and immersive experiences.

Replying to @pcmcreative

@ImitatingtheDog We have Means of Production on at  @ElectricMedway

and There’s Something Among Us on at @ththeatrespace at the moment :) plus loads of other work from throughout the year on our website.

First show of the day. It feels like my own mini-festival! There’s Something Among Us by Chronic Insanity Theatre

https://electricmedway.co.uk/events-2021/means-of-production-by-chronic-insanity-theatre/

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There is a commitment to a piece of digital theatre. It is not a piece of scrolled to content. Just as you actively attend a venue so your activity navigates to the digital theatre piece be live or on-demand. The holding page is the digital foyer. The copy on screen the programme. If it is a paid experience this is also the box office.

For my first piece, 4 factory workers in a split-screen setup a-la securing cam stacking where I was an observer asked to review the footage that led to an incident.

“Based on the conditions in a number of smartphone factories around the world, Means of Production blurs the line between digital theatre and found footage, asking questions about corporate behemoths, global supply chains, and the murky ethics behind the 21st century’s need for new technology.”

A poignant monologue to the camera makes this most certainly theatre. Conscious of its 4th wall and in a suitably digital setting used that device to share its message.

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At Chronic Insanity’s Puncture the Screen Festival https://bit.ly/citheatre-pts a platform Glitch.me was used to deliver the interactive story THE NEXT BEST THING by Emily Holyoake. Here it is again. As I emirs myself in the audience experience of immersive theatre, immersive performance and extended experience its platforms, access and set up expectations on the audience member are of deep interest as I contemplate this especial as part of my own practice since being awarded a CYPD grant from the Arts Council to develop my own immersive extended experience work.

Below the 2D digital experience was this

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My first multi-screen extended digital theatre experience.

https://meansofproduction.glitch.me/

Following the prompts to configure 4 devised and place them at cardinal points around me East, South, West and North as the primary device the split-screen security monitor stacked surveillance footage surrounded me.

How here is the experience bearing in mind it was my first time and you will have your first time with these kinds of experiences. I would have needed a 3 set up to get it working seamlessly and I’d seen the 2D performance and enjoyed it. Not wanting to make the attendance of the performance about the fumbling with my tech I let it go. I know there will be another opportunity perhaps even from Chronic Insanity. I love this frontier.

So… I confess I struggled to get set up after 2 attempts. The simple instruction was perhaps a little too simple and wasn’t entirely clear to me. I worked it out. I decided to save the figuring it out for the next piece offering this extended experience.

My issues?

  1. The extending devices being my iMac, two iPads and my iPhone the control screen landing pages were not responsive so they didn’t fit on my devices. I fumbled to get the buttons. iPads OK, iMac no probs, iPhone no responsive adaptation problematic. Next time I will use a second laptop. Once the piece began the video sizing was fine.
  2. The primary device buffered making the sync affecting the other 3 devised which worked great. I wonder is that may have been my wifi as I wasn’t on a hard wire.
  3. There wasn’t a single audio feed and as I was listening on headphones I couldn’t get audio from 4 devices into one set of headphones.
  4. The first time round I didn’t see the room code generated for me.

 

From my Tweet, I had several recommendations.

A second suggestion from Chronic Insanity Theatre “Something Among Us” on at @ththeatrespace

https://www.tickettailor.com/events/chronicinsanity/483337

‘HEAR. SPEAK. SEE.’ a new immersive, digital drama by an all-female absurdist theatre company from EXPiAL ATROCiOUS @ExpiAtro An #EdFringe digital, on-demand and filmed in first-person POV (point of view) show.

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/hear-speak-see

A dance piece "The Story of the Tower" with chroma-key tech and projection-mapping originally streamed live from Tokyo during the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games which was on-demand at the Edinburgh Fringe shared by @comitu

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/story-of-the-tower

and from Imitating The Dog “I, Melania” on the program of @Summerhallery festival (Summerhall, a vibrant cultural village in the heart of Edinburgh. A place where things happen, all kinds of interesting, wonderful and downright inspiring things.) and I quote “totally brilliant” from @paulavarjack & @ChuckBlueLowry

An extension to the Edinburgh Fringe it seems. I love the EdFringe.

I, Melina being a live experience next showing on Tuesday 24 Aug at 7:30 PM - 8:30 pm taking place in GatherTown. How cool is that!

https://www.summerhall.co.uk/sh-event/imelania/2021-08-24/

So it looks like I’m off to Edinburgh with my consciousness if not my physical body.

I, Melina next Tuesday. Anyone want to join me after in a PCM video chat room let me know. Happy to accommodate the ‘in the bar’ experience!

Chronic Insanity Theatre “Something Among Us” programmed at Thornhill Theatre Space 𝘈 𝘋𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘎𝘭𝘰𝘣𝘢𝘭 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘳𝘦 

My request for digital shows took me on a wonderful trip. Before covid I struggled to locate digital work I knew it was out there but I couldn’t find it. Now it’s like the Edinburgh Fringe every day! Overwhelm Overload excess of choice, a digital kid in a virtual candy store!

The final recommendation of the day is another EdFringe  - PLANET OF THE GRAPES - LIVE FROM NYC is a programmed live event tomorrow.

https://www.planetgrapeshow.com/

6 shows.

There is a world of digital wonder out there. So much digital augmenting talent.


Puncture The Screen - Chronic Insanity - Mulling IT Over 2

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Chronic Insanity is a Nottingham based theatre company.

I met Chronic Insanity’s Artistic Director & Creative Producer Joe Strickland during the Pandemic on a video meet up organised by Jen Toksvig, founder of The Larder, imaginiarium artist behind the Twitter restaurant Toksvigs who delightfully defies easy classification. Jen is a director, facilitator and creative producer I greatly admire. It was a meet up of Fairy Godparents that facilitated the crossing of our paths.

It’s the ‘support in kind’, ‘beyond the call of duty’, extending consciousness, making magic even when off the clock, all these are within the FairyGodparents remit!

Joe, on examining of his online profiles was not only a digital theatre producer (my current career pursuit trajectory) but Nottingham based too. ‘In the flesh’, ‘on the ground’ encounters are weightier in cognition than cloud, digital and online encounters I find. They can be lonely affairs. The physical encounters however I find unpredictable not to mention logistically, attentionally and geographically challenging.

But the truth is Ground or Cloud both require the commitment of time and attention. Anything having resources consumed in the form of human input comes at a cost. A cost encompassing food, life expenses to rent need return, and time given needs reward so nothing Ground or Cloud is free and consequently shouldn’t be free.

If on a rare occasion a show is fully funded with no expectation of profit the funders still require documentation in terms of an audience. Art and audience are intertwined where value for money and funders are concerned.

Puncture The Screen is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

Joe and Chronic Insanity are ‘opening’ Puncture The Screen on July 29th between 12 noon and 8pm then on July 30th between 12 noon and 7pm
11 events with 2 at the end of each day being live.

I spoke to Joe to find out more

PCM is offering PCM Adventures 3 festival passes which will be paid for by PCM. A gift from me. Message me on Facebook.

All the Puncture The Screen info.

Puncture The Screen is a data driven digital art and performance festival run by Chronic Insanity, consisting of digital art and performance, workshops, panel discussions, and educational opportunities for creatives and audiences alike.

The festival will run 29/07/21-30/07/21 and will be available on demand for at least two weeks afterwards.

They want this festival to show the full innovative strength of digital art and performance and to show off its accessibility, its sustainability, and its affordability for both creatives and audiences alike.

Tickets:
Full Festival Pass - £10 (3 FREE passes available to PCM Adventures)
Individual Event Pass - £5
Upgrade an Event Pass to a Festival Pass- £5

Available here (For a PCM Adventurers pass email me at caron@pcmprojects.co.uk)

The festival organisers, Chronic Insanity, are a theatre company from Nottingham that creates and facilitates live performance and experiences in traditional, found, and digital spaces. They are currently in the middle of completing their second 12 shows in 12 months challenge.

Find out more about them here!

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Day 1 - July 29th

12:00 - The Next Best Thing by Emily Holyoake

14:00 - Introduction to Digital Theatre by Kill The Cat

14:00 - Introduction to Animating by Edalia Day

16:00 - Augmented Art by Tom Shennan

18:00 - Working with Isadora by Imitating The Dog (Live Event)

20:00 - Larkhall (Live Event)

Day 2 - July 30th

12:00 - The Ashes: World Tour by Naomi Westerman

14:00 - Introduction to Creative Captioning using Isadora by Tim Kelly

16:00 - Displacement Native by Michael-Jon Mizra

18:00 - Creative Infinity: How Digital Will The Future Be? (Live Event)

19:00 - message not sent by YESYESNONO (Live Event)


Show Me - who I am

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I recently attended a 4 day festival of workshops for creative producers. I am a creative producer.

During the sessions there was, each time the invitation from the host the ever humble Chris Grady opportunity to introduce ourselves to the group in the Zoom chat.

I regularly find myself meeting talented and passionate people each effortlessly introduce themselves. Their name and an appropriately length regaling of recent projects followed by an off the cuff insight to the driving force behind their drive to produce work.

I am not good at this! I did settle upon a version my growing confidence can offer here at the close of April 2021.

Hello I’m Caron, based in Long Eaton in the East Midlands. I’m a theatre maker, and digital events producer. Exploring immersive hybrid experiences and non binary identities. Unashamedly dyslexic.

That’s me right now. I never feel my accomplishments add anything to my prospects or I should say I don’t feel they impress upon anyone. It’s work and I enjoy it but there’s nothing special in what I do and few people know who I worked for or care.

My destination is more important interesting than my origin.

My aspirations are to create a live immersive performance stage for plays, storytelling and musicals that is hi tech with a low carbon footprint with a pinch of crypto.

NFT’s ... minty!!!


Sound Me a Story... and Zoom

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Digital Stagemanagement duties were front and centre today. Show timings, title slides, spotlights, sound checks, original sound, practice sessions, webinar attendance and panelist’s and... a live venue with a remote audience. 

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Most of what I do is make sure things happen as smoothly as possible and with little complication. 

In Zoom webinar it’s most important that I know what each participant sees be they a guest on screen or a member of the audience. Optimising the best view is not always easy. I need to see what the majority sees. In webinar that is straight forward. In Meeting it’s a little harder as attendees can toggle between speaker and gallery. Spotlight is your friend. Follow Hosts View and Hide Non Participants make uniform viewing a little easier.


Performance for All - one point at a time. Lunchtime Livestream S4 | E1

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The first guests of the series joined me today. UtopiaArts’ Frances Rifkin and Graham Lucas talked 

Fringe, Forum, Small-Scale, Independent Theatre was the focus. Finding a focus on which to discuss Equity’s Performance for All Policy has taken focus in itself.

It’s full of context. It’s extensively referenced. It’s a little booklet with mighty ambitions. It’s scope is incomprehensibly transformative.

One section resonated most as I dissected and reflected on my corner of the industry called Show Business. A section relevant to every other section.

Section 7 on page 20 of the Performance for All booklet - http://bit.ly/equity-fp19

Democratising Funding and Decision Making
All 10 sections of the policy are split in two parts. First a collection of data (stats, quotes and statements) and the second a series of policies Equity want to realise to... in the words of the current political climate... ‘Build Back Better’.

Policies ideals are cited “Autonomous, equitable and accountable funding and creative leadership.” The Performance for All policy asks for an expanded, fairly-balanced, socially responsive, democratic cultural provision with out reductions to funding in the capital. Its talks of rebalancing through an increased arts allocation.

It goes on to reinforce the independent sector... “often innovative and community oriented should be further developed and seen for what it is - An established and key part of cultural provision and source of employment.

The entire gamut from community to commercial. Inner London to the Outer Hebrides.
How that might be approached references a 2016 report

“Contributing to the national cultural policy debate”

http://www.gpsculture.co.uk/next-steps.php

Today’s livestream looked in brief at one element of the policy. It covers film, theatre, tv, Variety and games.

It was conceived before Covid in a pre pandemic digital resistance.

What is next?

Check out the livestream episode

Annotated...

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Video Help Desk for your Digital Events

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I have been on HelpDesk duty today.

With multiple-sessioned events like festivals, across multiple platforms for attendees, guests, speakers, performers and crew the thing that is painfully absent with digital and its zeros and ones is the corridors, the greenroom, the watercooler, the bar and the liminal spaces.

The space between the spaces.

QuiQuo do this well and event wrappers have potential to accommodate this but to date these wrappers have been outside my budget and production timescale. Digital Stagemanagement and the production consulting tend to be too late in the precession for me to augment in these options. 

A single help desk is the first step. It becomes an anchor point between physical and digital in-person encounters. It’s a point of real present. This I can do with Whereby. I have 10 rooms some are on loan to groups and some like this help desk for SparkFestival is a special hosting.

This was my toolset today

  • Whereby - a super simple easy access for first time tech shy audiences. I settled on this platform prior to COVID when another app to download or service to sign up to was enough to stifle or demotivate any engagement.
  • Splashtop xDisplay - connects a second device to enable monitoring while focusing on your main screen.
  • iPad as a second screen with xDisplay - an old iPad 2 connects to extend your desktop. I use this on a stand on my desk for ficus timer and for general social media and news notifications. 

Finally I have 2 documents prepared specifically for this help desk. A festival reference with all the info including ticket links and zoom access links to each performance or workshop and a intro guide to Whereby as a help desk including a outline of the visitor experience.

  1. Helpdesk document - Festival Programme (private document not available to share)
  2. Helpdesk document - How To for team staffing - http://bit.ly/pcm-helpdesk-sparkfestival

This service is integral to my Extended The Audience offering when compiling extended audience packages. If you want to know more please get in touch.

I must also thank Alison Rouse who staffed the majority of the sessions enabling me to focus on the main digital auditorium as Zoom controller throughout the opening days of the festival.


Note To Self - 01

New thing learnt today.

Zoom closed captions using Otter can be turned on or off but not while sharing your screen.

Why did I find this out?

Today’s Sketchbook of Vital Ideas event today one of the videos being screened contained baked in subtitles. The artist asked if the auto generated caption could be paused. I checked and Yes.

Time came and I shared the video. All good. It was playing and the chat was quiet so I turned to pausing the captions only to discover in screen-share mode there was no CC access on the toolbar.

I only remembered this when the second video was screened and I was already in screen-share mode!

Note to self. In future if captions need to be paused. Add this as an action before actioning the screen-share.

Otter transcription and closed captions - 1 month free with code OTTER_TRIAL https://otter.ai/referrals/O598JJY5

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Digital Stagemanager’s Zoom checklist

#SparkFestival

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Audience checklist
Everything you want to know to get the most from the SparkFestival experience.

Festival Brochure - Everything to apply the audience checklist to!

Then there is my behind the scenes checklist to make my job smooth primarily for my own sanity but ultimately for a smooth audience experience.

My Digital Stage Management (when using Zoom)Barebones Check List

  • Holding - title slide (proverbial house tabs!)
  • Music - as the audience enter and settles
  • Activate Otter captions/transcription - plug in service on Zoom for on screen auto generating subtitles
  • Continuity announcement - Greetings, CC, get the best, SafeSpaces, looking after chat, Welcome.
  • Co-Host - back-up connected host incase DigiSM interwebs break
  • The half - 30 mins before opening the zoom space / admitting attendees from the waiting room to check all present and correct.
  • Hiding Non Participants - with zoom meetings when audience cameras are off hiding the blank video windows tidys up the host view and recorded media captured.
  • Waiting Room - before all is set it’s nice not having the audience wander in before ready to start. Camera off, waiting in the proverbial wings!
  • Clearance - Audience in and ready to roll. The message messaged to indicate the music will fade and curtain (holding slide) with raise.
  • Announcement & pre-show roll - The branding and bumper bits for consistency and polish.Emergency monitoring - Just in case bad things happen with the hosting connection a standby procedure should be prepared. A technical difficulty virtual background for the co-host or a slide.
  • Chat Monitoring - if bad stuff posted in chat and a keen eye must be directed on the chat. Engagement can be established here too. Call and response, Questions for the guests?
  • Show/Event ends - a plan for the end of the show
  • Post-show Play-out - Goodbye and thank you while the on screen talent waits in the wings for the audience to leave.
  • Closedown - when the audience leaves the curtain falls. An audience can stay and chat but eventually you have to end the party!

Part of the producing part of my job is creating on brand screen assets. For Spark that’s static title slides and animated pre and post show bumper videos. I produced the audio track with 2 children Max and Addi and thier Mum. They were amazing.

Pre-show reel

Post-show reel