War Correspondents 2014

During April of this year, I worked with Helen Chadwick and Steven Hoggett on a project Helen has composed called ‘War Correspondents’. A sung theatre piece about the lives and experiences of War Correspondents over recent years. The lyrics of the sung music were taken from interviews with War Correspondents talking about situations of conflict they had covered and their thoughts on ‘War Journalism’.

From a sound perspective there is a lot of interesting material to play with from the original interviews as well as finding the best way to integrate the voices of the interviews into the music and between songs. We also worked with Sound effects with specific pitches hidden as an extra layer so the singers could catch a pitch to work with for the next song they are heading into.

Movement is such a big part of the show alongside the music that I decided to bring a Leap Motion device into rehearsals to play with. Using the LEAP with a piece of software called GECO, it allows the user to manipulate effects and trigger cues using the movement of your hands, In our case pushing downwards towards the device triggers a filter effect which is dialed up and down depending on the height of the singers hand, when it is lower it allows a recorded musical Drone through, but when its higher we hear a helicopter and no drone, the singer has direct control over this mix during the scene and uses it as an instrument to accompany his song.

Leap Motion/GECO GUI
Leap Motion/GECO GUI

The show initially toured around the UK in spring this year, but will also now be playing in London in October with a few dates around the UK after that.

War Correspondents @ Birmingham Rep 2014
War Correspondents @ Birmingham Rep 2014

2014 Jan – July

So I realised its already July and most of the year has gone by without any updates here. So will be posting a bit more frequently now. To start off just a quick backlog of the year so far, starting in January!

I began by Shadowing the lovely Carolyn Downing during a few of her tech processes, which was a great insight into her working process and general views on Sound Design, a lot to learn from an intelligent designer doing some very interesting Sound work.

I then went on to design a, slightly alternative, theatre piece located inside St Leonards Church in Shoreditch called SUN produced by National Art Service, It was a really friendly company to be part of. Talking technically one of the most enjoyable experiences was being able to locate sounds around this huge expanse of space whilst also (if needed) dislocating the sounds from specific places and abstracting the sounds of the exterior central London evening. Shoreditch is a very active part of the City and it doesn’t let up for anything, Its not something I’ll go into lightly again but it opened up a different world of using the spacial relationship with an audience.

SUN 2014
SUN 2014

Then worked as Associate on the Almeida verison of 1984 for the very talented Mr Tom Gibbons after having worked with him on Lionboy last year. This then went onto transfer into the Playhouse in London.

 

Following this designed and operated a double bill of new work funded by Aldeburgh Music, Royal Opera House and Opera North called The Commision/Café Kafka, through which I worked with Elspeth Brooks to integrate an element of Sound Design and live sound into her composition.

 

The Commission 2014
The Commission 2014

Then went on to Sound Design a project called War Correspondents Directed by Helen Chadwick and Stephen Hoggett which then went on to tour the UK. It will be back for some London dates in October followed by some more touring and I’ll talk more about in a separate post.

Brothers Stag doo…

Brothers Wedding!

I then worked with Mr Gareth Fry once more on a design for 59 Production’s projection map of the Sydney Opera House.

For June I’ve been in Aix en Provence with The Magic Flute once again as Gareth Fry’s Associate, helping to fit the design into their fairly unique venue and transferring all the changes we had made back into a German version of the show after re-making it in English at the Colloseum for the ENO last year.

The Magic Flute Aix en Provence 2014
The Magic Flute Aix en Provence 2014

July so far, I’ve been in Salzburg (Hallein to be exact) Sound Engineering and Operating a new production for the Salzburg Festival. A Katie Mitchell/ Leo Warner piece Sound designed by Gareth Fry and Melanie Wilson called The Forbidden Zone.

 

 

The Noise – Digital Playscript Phase 1

The Noise (Unlimited Theatre), a show I co-sound designed last year has been turned into a digital playscript. We took a few days to go through the Sound Design for the show and added cues into the text – which hopefully represent what would have been heard in the theatre to a certain degree – alongside a whole array of awesome features that make the script a much better representation of the show than a paper version. Making a more engaging and easy to follow script to take away from the show!

Pop some headphones in and check it out here! http://uneditions.com/

The Noise Digital Playscript
The Noise Digital Playscript

Autumn/Winter 2013

Since the last post about the Magic Flute in London, it has opened and closed its doors to the public. It seems about time for an Autumn/Winter update having neglected blogging for a while.

First was a brief trip back to Newcastle and the Theatre Royal for a re-mount of the RSC’s, David Farr, version of Hamlet, Working with the amazing Claire and Jon from Stratford. Moving the sound for the show from a Thrust design to an end on design was a good challenge, but great to have a good set of proscenium speaker positions to replicate some of the design and luckily the majority of onstage speakers were able to stay in similar positions, so we could still bring sounds down to be part of the onstage action, but bring some of the music to the front to push some energy into the audience.

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Newcastle Theatre Royal Oct 2013  (RSC, HAMLET)

This was followed by The Magic Flute at the ENO which was great to bring a show back with a totally different crew and venue to last year and also interesting to see what a UK audience made of it. The space was quite different, but one of the more successful features of the design ended up being the blending of the re-enforced dialogue with the acoustic sung pieces.

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London Coliseum Nov 2013 (ENO, THE MAGIC FLUTE)

The Noise also returned for a brief visit to Leeds’ West Yorkshire playhouse and to the Warwick Arts Centre. Had a great in house rig in Warwick’s studio space and a much better position for a set of Vocal Speakers, used (as the name suggests) for radio mics on the cast, brilliant to hear the show in a more intimate space and layout, it really helped us to mix the sound/music content with the dialogue.

(Yes I’m now addicted to Panoramic iPhone shots, even in the studios!)

Noise Warwick arts
Warwick Arts Centre Nov 2013 (UNLIMITED THEATRE, THE NOISE)

Foley booth – ENO Magic Flute

The Magic Flute is now rehearsing ready for the autumn showing at the English National Opera’s Colliseum in London.

This (Mcburney’s) version of the opera first played in Amsterdam last year and is currently transferring to the uk whilst also being translated into English.

This time around we have a slightly smaller foley booth with the extremely talented Ruth Sullivan as our lead Foley Artist, who is also stepping into her acting shoes too. 

This is our new foley booth (below) which is still being finnesed, eventually to be equipped with 4 shelves, a small table and various hooks for all sorts of foley items, along with its own light. A mic for the table and a second for footsteps. It’s exciting to hear the foley begining to be put into place again, and it will be great to get into the collesium and get the sound design sitting inside the piece.

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The Noise @ Northern Stage

noise_blockThis week I’ve been teching Unlimited Theatre‘s The Noise in Newcastle’s Northern Stage (Stage 2). The story is a “sci-conspiracy thriller”, and on the island of Whitley the most notable feature is the constant ‘Noise’ being emitted by the island. Working as Co-Sound Designer with Gareth Fry, we’ve been playing with different types of Noise and how much of it we can push the scenes by using different styles of ‘Noise’. There is real anger in the characters of Whitley caused by these relentless and ever changing  sounds they can’t get away from and it’s been really interesting in finding how to achieve this whilst still allowing the clarity of the story to come from the actors. There is also composition by David Edwards (AKA Minotaur Shock) which has been a pleasure to work into the show and if you get a chance check him out!

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The Noise opened here in Newcastle on Friday 4th Oct and runs until 12th October. It then tours to Warwick Arts Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in November.

I thought I’d share a few interesting bits of research I came across, whilst looking into science related sound inventions, firstly the ishin-den-shin  http://www.ivanpoupyrev.com/projects/ishindenshin.php

Secondly the Hypersonic sound speaker invented by Woody Norris . hard to show the workings of online,  but pretty cool nonetheless! http://www.ted.com/talks/woody_norris_invents_amazing_things.html

Farragut North

Farragut North: Southwark Playhouse
Farragut North: Southwark Playhouse

This week Farragut North at the Southwark Playhouse starts it’s 3 week run. I’ve been working alongside a very talented Composer, JudeObermuller and we’ve been putting his score into the Southwark’s, new, Large Space. Although in a fairly difficult ‘thrust’ setup we had some fun playing with layers of his music and locating it in different spots around the room, hoping to add another dimension to it.

Farragut North will be playing at the Southwark Playhouse’s Large Space until 5th October