Students at the University of Chester are discovering that not only must the show go on, but sometimes an opportunity can arise from a challenge.
Students on the Drama and Theatre, Acting and Performing Arts degree courses had been planning to present a full stage production of Love and Information, a play by Caryl Churchill, within the performance spaces of the University of Chester’s Department of Music, Media and Performance. However, with COVID-19 and lockdown conditions, they quickly realised that that would not be possible – and students and staff had to come up with an alternative solution.
They are now working intensely to present the play as an audio drama, which will be performed live on Facebook on Friday, June 5, at 5pm.
Student Claudia Davies, who is studying Drama and Theatre and is part of the production’s publicity team, explains more: “Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information is a kaleidoscopic play of short scenes addressing contemporary issues about knowledge, technology and communication, and our capacity for love. Although the production didn’t plan out in the way it was supposed to, this has been a fantastic opportunity to take on a new challenge and to work in a different way than we would normally do. As part of the publicity team, we have also been working together on exploring which social media platforms to create content on to maximise publicity for our piece. We have decided on Facebook as our main port of call – and it will also be accessed via Instagram too.”
Kristin Jaap, who is also a Drama and Theatre undergraduate, explained how the rehearsal process is working: “Every day, we virtually meet on Microsoft Teams to rehearse and prepare for the final recordings. We are working in seven smaller groups, to allow time for everyone to get the support they need from our Lecturer and Director, Jamie Harper. As well as the group meetings, we work independently with our acting partners, rehearsing lines and planning how to add different sounds to the recordings. From an acting perspective, it has certainly added new tools to our skill sets, working on how to perform, only by using our voices, has been a challenging and interesting learning process.”
Acting student Hannah Grainger, who is on the production team, added: “We are all contributing to this project in many ways. One of our big factors is communication, as we all knew that we wanted everyone involved in this performance to feel comfortable with expressing any concerns or comments with us and, if so, what we can do to help. Finally, we are also thinking about any technical concerns we have that can prevent people from getting the best sound quality. We want everyone to feel that they are getting the most out of this project.”
Student Kirsty Upton is part of the visual design team. She said: “We have been focusing on sourcing and creating images that can be presented alongside the final audio drama performance. These visuals will explore the feelings, relationships, colours, shapes and setting of each scene and offer a deeper analysis of the performance. This will be presented through images, short video clips and animation. As well as this, we are assisting with the devising/ rehearsing process, as we are offering visual stimulus for actors to draw inspiration from for their scenes.”
One of the sound team members is Dinah-Lis Intress, who is also studying Acting. She said: “The sound design and editing teams have been working on collecting appropriate sounds. This has included recording clips ourselves, along with pre-recorded royalty free audio clips. Additionally, we have been creating and designing sound for scene transitions. We have drawn inspiration from other members of the cast to create an exciting range of sounds.”
Lecturer Jamie Harper added: “I'm really excited to be working on Love and Information with the students. In the current circumstances, we're asking some big questions about how we want to organise our lives together and this play asks big questions about how we share knowledge and love each other, so it feels like a good piece for the times we're in. It is also great to work in the audio format. We might lose the sense of face-to-face human connection, but audio drama gives us scope to imagine things that we could never put on stage, so I think that this way of working really stimulates our creativity."
Love and Information is being performed live on Facebook and Instagram on Friday, June 5 at 5pm. Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/s/university-of-chester-presents/3258947354115820/ and
https://www.instagram.com/loveandinformationuoc/ for more information.
The actual performance will appear here: https://m.facebook.com/University-of-Chester-presents-Love-and-Information-110542037334730/