Current Work

Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 21.43.31Locus Solus – Theatre space as part of Mutiny’s latest project

I have just finished a 12 month period as interim Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. During my time there I directed 3 shows – Pride and Prejudice, Peter Pan and Shirley Valentine. I also programmed all of 2020 and then in March and April I unprogrammed all of it. I was due to direct a new writing project ‘Big Skies’ and also a large scale production of Animal Farm. Both of these projects are now not happening due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

I have always been freelance, even during my time As Artistic Director,  and during the lockdown period I have been delivering online training to artists, arts organisations and theatre makers across UK and Europe. Including mentoring for the European Theatre Convention, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Aberdeen Young actors Company and also I worked with students and artists across Norway for a Zoom Theatre Production of War of the Worlds. Previous work and projects can be found here 

I am a founding Artist of Mutiny Projects with artists Simon Poulter and Sophie Mellor. During lockdown we have made #Covid19Threads and we are currently developing #LocusSolus a digital performance platform on Roblox.

He is also providing online training for artists and arts organisations about developing digital work for this current climate.

Covid 19 Threads.

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Covid-19 threads is a series of short films derived from twitter threads that have appeared during the Covid-19 pandemic. These shorts are designed to sit back in the same social media space that the authors originally located them in.

The first film is by Dr Arnav Agarwal and is voiced up by British actor Oliver Alvin Wilson. Dr Agarwal movingly describes his experience of looking after a man suffering from Covid-19 and the act of bringing his family in to say final goodbyes over an iPad.

The second film is based on the experience of Drew Penkala and is voiced up by British actor Raphael Sowole. Poignantly, in the film, the main character faces up to the fact that following his Grandpa’s death he will not be able to attend the funeral and will be forced to watch via a live stream link.

 

The third Covid-19 Threads film is written by Dominic Minghella, emotionally poised between his own survival from the virus and the death of someone close to his neighbour. Voiced by Alan Mehdizadeh

 

 

In episode 4, nurse Amelia Hennegan describes her sad experience of holding the hand of a dying man at the height of the pandemic (April 2020). Her frustration bursts out from the tweet as she asks people to ‘stay the fuck home’, as the lockdown starts to fray. Voiced by Claire Lacey.

 

 

Many people have been unable to visit or see their loved ones during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the fifth film in the Covid-19 Threads series, a man’s mum is in her last moments of life at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. A health care assistant, just known to him as Julie, holds her hand as she passes over. A sad and true story from the UK 2020 lockdown. This episode of Covid-19 Threads is voiced by Natalie Gavin. Words by Glenn Mitchell.

 

 

In the sixth film of this series, one of the saddest stories of the pandemic is told via a tweet by Francina Hyatt. Both of her parents died during the pandemic and she expresses the pain of that experience, not being able to hug or console her family members. The story is voiced up by Liverpool based actor Keddy Sutton. Our thanks to Francina for her permission to use her words. The film charts the period from 1945 to 2020, the course of the lives of her parents.

 

 

We are deeply grateful to the original twitter authors who have given us permission to use their material and to the actors who have come forward to voice them up. Covid-19 Threads has been remotely produced by Mutiny during lockdown. We would also like to thank Sandy Nuttgens for post-production sound. The entire project has been made on goodwill and the conviction that these stories need to be recorded and shared. All work on Covid-19 Threads has been voluntary.

Locus Solus

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Working with the Mutiny team – Simon Poulter and Sophie Mellor – We have been making ‘Locus Solus’ This is a new adaptation of Raymond Roussel’s 1919 novel of the same name. We have been working on research and development at the Pervasive Media Studio (Watershed) in Bristol on a combined digital theatre production. Our collaborators include Nicolo Carpignoli, Roy Williams, Kinicho, Lara Ratnaraja and Pervasive Media Studio

The project was due to be developed in 2020 for R&D testing across the UK, but has been remotely managed with test bed audiences during May & June 2020. We have built ‘Locus Solus’ (Solitary Place) in the online gaming platform Roblox, so that visitors can explore the fantastical world and its associated stories.

On Friday 5 June 2020 we ran a live test event of Locus Solus with actors Suzann McLean and Oliver Alvin Wilson, and comedian Simon Munnery. They voiced their avatars ‘Mdm_Narrator’; ‘Olivay’; and ‘The Rotting Head of Danton’ interacting with a live audience, with original music by Sandy Nuttgens.

We ran another live test event on Friday 19 June 2020, now with new writing from playwright Roy Williams.

We would like to thank Pervasive Media Studio and Arts Council England for their support and an individual thank you to Luke Emery for hosting out residency so beautifully.

Also I have started a new project working from my garden shed – where I have a chat with people about their work and what shifts they see happening. As you know I ran Shift Happens for 5 years and also ran TEDxYork. I have been to the TED conference several times in the USA and this project felt appropriate to tackle in this current climate.
The first guest was Bill Thompson – writer, computer scientist and colleague collaborator. Who gave us the first SHEDx talk.
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