Every day for the next 3 weeks Digital Theatre Plus will be interviewing over 70 actors, directors, technicians and practitioners at The Lyric Hammersmith as we rapidly expand our digital education platform.
Initiated and developed by Digital Theatre+’s Creative Producer, Fiona Lindsay some of those who have agreed to be interviewed include: Declan Donnelan, Lolita Chakrabati, Orlando Gough, Imogen Knight, Richard Bean, Roxana Silbert, Mike Poulten and Sean Holmes.
“We are delighted to be conducting an industry-wide capture of practice and talent on this scale” said Lindsay. “Access to the arts has never been more important and we are extremely grateful that they have given up their time to share their invaluable perspectives to our 3 million subscribers around the world.”
As well as sharing their experience and expertise in the performing arts Digital Theatre will be asking everyone being interviewed to explain in their own words why they think arts education is important. Digital Theatre+ will be sharing answers to these questions along with photos on our @DT_Plus twitter account and across social media daily at 13.00 and at 18.00 GMT, culminating in a final composite image of all participants and a short 3-minute trailer of the best of our captures in early September.
To follow the campaign visit this page to see daily updates or follow us on twitter @DT_Plus or use the #artaccess and #artseducation
Tuesday 12th July: Amit Lahav, Artistic Director of Gecko Theatre - Breathing and how it informs performance and offers access to the deepest emotions was at the heart of Amit's conversation about the work of his company Gecko. The physical storytelling of his ensemble uses movement and sonic techniques to stir up stories that have their roots in very ancient traditions. They spend years honing each show they make and thereafter continue to examine them to refresh and refocus the purpose of them.
Wednesday 13th July: Lolita Chakrabarti wrote the play Red Velvet, she was encouraged to write the play by her friend and collaborator - the director Indhu Rubasingham. The play is actually only a small slice of the tale and Lolita conjured up the life and loves of a man who took on the British establishment as well as sell out the Bolshoi playing Shakespeare.
Wednesday 13th July: Video Designer, Rod Maclachlan - talks light, sound & substance: Rod is bringing this hybrid form to life. Originally a sculptor with a passion for architecture he began by creating installations made of light, sound and substance to provoke thoughts about space.This week we release our interview with the Technical Manager for The Arts Theatre; David Warwick. He discusses the personal qualities required to welcome incoming productions to a receiving theatre and the benefits of learning on the job.
Thursday 14th July: Alan Brodie and Geoffrey Johnson on Noel Coward and his life and art. Geoffrey was part of Coward's professional entourage for the last 10 years of his life and gave detailed insight into the personality that created classics such as Private Lives, Hay Fever, Bittersweet and The Vortex. Coward made his own professional appearance aged 11. Geoffrey talked about Noel's fascination for other people's stories and, his, these often ended up in his plays. He also recalled the day Coward died in his sleep at Firefly his Jamaican home - his last words to Geoffrey and 2 others being Goodnight Darlings.
Monday 18th July: Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company. Talawa remains the most authoritative creative platform for Black British artists to have their voice. All of their work focuses on the perspective of the other person's point of view. They also explore the social and political concerns that are pertinent to emerging Black British talent.
Monday 18th July: Kelly Hunter and Michael Dobson talked about the revolutionary work that Kelly and her company are doing in the area of theatre for people within the autistic spectrum. Kelly has devised a way of working that short circuits all the complication that a play text can present. Her driving ambition is access and enabling the disenfranchised voice to be heard.
Tuesday 19th July: Ayse Tashkiran, Movement Director who as well as having an impressive freelance career also heads up the MA in Movement Direction at Central School of Speech and Drama. Ayse is an expert in actor movement and the approach she takes is rooted in supporting the performer in using a physical language as well as maintaining energy in performance. Ayse uses Digital Teatre+ in her teaching and is a great supporter of the resource.
Tuesday 19th July: On Tuesday, we were joined by much sought after lighting programmer Victoria Brennan. Vikki cut her teeth at the RSC and as a student at Stratford College volunteered to work on an outdoor RSC theatre festival programmed by yours truly. Roll on 15 years she's working with the best lighting designers in the UK and using the latest digital technology helps then to realise their work on stage. Having been an apprentice herself Vikki was very keen to share how best to seek out opportunities in technical theatre and she articulated this wonderfully well.
Wednesday 20th July: Technology was the focus of the conversation with Sound Designer, Paul Arditti. Paul has created the sound scape for some of the biggest stage hits in recent history - Billy Elliot, One Man Two Guvnors, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Audience, to name a few. He's the best in his field and works with the best. He was brilliant and talking about the process and contribution of sound design and working with directors.
Wednesday 20th July: Ben Crystal, Writer and Director: Ben is a world specialist on original practice methods in the performance of Shakespeare and what can be learnt from the use of original pronunciation. Ben depicts historical context like no other and within moments you feel like you're standing in the pit roaring with the crowd. Teachers crave this sort of information and this interview will serve as an excellent companion piece to all of our Shakespeare productions as well as a stand alone. Ben also brought his dog into the studio - a DTP first.
Thursday 21st July: Tim Etchells from Forced Entertainment, interviewed by Matt Truman. Forced Entertainment is anti theatrical and supremely theatrical all at the same time. They flout convention with a passion and through improvisation, debate and intervention create experiences that immerse the spectator in a series of provocation about the big stuff.
Thursday 21st July: Eloise Thyne, Production Assistant at Lyric Hammersmith - offers insight into the transition between school, university, volunteering , low paid but high experience work and how to move yourself forward.
Friday 22nd July: Alison Hodge, Artistic Director of The Quick and The Dead - Alison has developed a core practise that is based on a set of key principles. Like a few others she spoke about the need for connectivity with the self- energy, breath, space, the spine and time all being anchors for her work.
Friday 22nd July: Michael Fentiman, Theatre Director - gave huge insight into Victorian London, revenge tragedies, the psyche of serial killers and those that commit murders in partnership with others. He brought the characters of Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett alive using wonderfully evocative language . It was a gruesome start to the day but poignant too.
Monday 25th July: Benet Brandreth, Novelist - Demonstrated how to use language to maximum effect. He went through the 5 key principles of invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery and set up a faux argument to illustrate how it all works. He then related all of this to playwriting, acting and audiences and used the prism of key Shakespeare text and characters to illuminate this exactly.
Tuesday 26th July: Bijan Shibani, Director - talking about Lorca's The House of Bernada Alba. It was the last play that Lorca wrote before being shot for being a socialist under Franco's dark regime in Spain. Lorca was a prodigious talent - writing poetry, plays, acting and directing as well as being a virtuoso piano player. The House of Bernada Alba is a brilliant play for 8 women. Bernada has just buried her husband and proceeds to lock down her house into 8 years of mourning - much to the dismay of her 5 daughters. Tensions mount due to this captivity plus the brooding presence of Pepe Romano. Pepe is not seen or heard but it's his intrusion into the emotional lives of the family that ignites the drama of the play. Written on the cusp of the Spanish Civil War this piece is about what happens when control and authority is imposed on people against their will.
Tuesday 26th July: Orlando Gough, Composer - Orlando is a total one off. A mathematician, cook and self taught composer that has created inspiring innovation in music and voice. With his singing group The Shout he created the acclaimed piece Tall Stories. Orlando composes in such a way as to release an individual's whole voice. He spoke enthusiastically about what happens to a persons performance when they are completely engaged to the power that can come when a voice is enabled.
Wednesday 27th July: George Dillon, Director - George is a skilled physical performer who has spent a great deal of his career working with Steven Berkoff. He talks about what sets Berkoff's work apart and how best to begin to work with it. He demonstrated the famed slow motion walk and the challenge presented by taking in the role of the beetle in Metamorphosis. Berkoff was the vanguard of physical theatre.
Wednesday 27th July: Geraint Pughe, Lighting Designer - talked about training and three basic principles of lighting - understanding the space, creating mood and knowing how to use special affects. Geraint has created designs for over 100 shows in his 30+ year career. He spoke about rain and snow and fire and the reality of working as a technician in theatre. Now head of lighting and sound at Mountview, he is responsible for the next generation of creatives and production teams.
Thursday 28th July: Richard Bean - He's been writing plays for 20 years and has had remarkable success, his first plays were about putting a working class voice on stage and as his confidence grew he began to realise that he wanted to look outward to new engagement. 'One Man..' was a smash hit but it came as a result of a lot of sweat and tears. Richard expertly described his drafting process and workshopping the text with actors. He also drilled into the Goldoni original, comedia del arte and the re setting of the adaptation to 1963.
Thursday 28th July: Michael Attenborough - on My Mother Said I Never Should, Written by Charlotte Keatley in 1985 is an incredibly popular set text. It's a cross generational piece about the lives of four women from the same family and the choices they have and the choices they make. It's hugely political without ramming it in an aggressive fashion that deals with opportunity, hope and truth. Michael spoke at length about each character, the structure of the piece and the tone of voice of the play. He paused on time and location and staging and without a doubt shared information that will enable teacher to teach the text well.
At the end of each week, Digital Theatre Plus will be posting a Storify board summarising the events. Stay tuned.