Drama students delve into darkness to create bold headphone performance

  • Date

    Fri 1 Jun 18

Drama students darkness

Second year drama students took part in a pioneering new mode of assessment that tested the boundaries of their acting skills by submerging the audience completely into darkness.

Drama students delve into darkness to create bold headphone performance

30 students worked with binaural microphone equipment (creating a ‘3D’ audio effect), ‘silent disco’ wireless headphones, live folie and learnt multi-sensory immersive techniques to create six interlinking plays that were performed for 20 audience members wearing blindfolds.

What Happens When the Fire Goes Out… was performed live at the Lakeside Theatre on Friday 25 May. The series of plays plunged the audience into a range of different scenarios, from the story of a blind woman leaving her house for the very first time to a piece that immerses the listener into a dystopic future where AI has taken on a new form.

The week-long intensive training for the performance was led by theatre director and drama lecturer Dr Liam Jarvis and guest practitioner and sound designer, Tom Wilson.

Dr Jarvis said: “The results from our students were characteristically bold, innovative and creatively risk-taking, exploring digital binaural and ambisonic technologies in performance in an R&D that is the first of its kind in Higher Education in the UK.”

Dr Jarvis recently contributed a chapter on his work with darkness and multi-sensory performance to a new co-edited book called Theatre in the Dark: Shadow, Gloom and Blackout in Contemporary Theatre (2017).

The new intensive weeks of assessed practical theatre-making aim to give Drama students the chance to learn new skills and to work with a range of theatre professionals from all areas of the industry. 

Next week the first year drama students will be working with director Gari Jones (previously a staff director at the National Theatre and long-term collaborator of Nobel prize winning playwright Harold Pinter during his lifetime) on a range of plays which including Waiting for Godot, Hamlet and the rarely performed, early feminist drama Alan’s Wife with scenes performed in the Lakeside Studio on Friday 8 June.