R&D trailer filmed at the work in progress performance at Harlow Playhouse, following house-seeded workshops at The Seagull, Lowestoft, and Harlow Playhouse.
Throughout 2017 Ella Grace and Katie Lyons embarked on a comprehensive R&D for Blackout, a headphones based, site-specific musical about energy and nuclear power. Commissioned by house, Tipping Point and Harlow Playhouse, the production received funding from Arts Council England to conduct their research project.
The R&D saw them embark on an extensive interview process with academic experts and people working in the field of energy, renewables and nuclear power. With the support of house, Ella and Katie spent a week working at the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft where they had meetings & ran workshops with community groups and local individuals including The Shanty Choir, Mens Sheds, Next Stagers theatre group and the Seagull Youth Theatre – engaging over 80 people in total. The stories they gathered through these workshops directly shaped the characters and questions they ended up exploring in the script.
After Lowestoft the team spent time working with a sound technician/designer at Bournemouth University to explore the technological possibilities of presenting a live musical through headphones, recording binaurally and enabling the audience to move around multiple spaces.
The final stage of the R&D took place at Harlow Playhouse following workshops and interviews with the local community there. In Harlow the team transformed the main stage into three spaces that the audience were directed to move around. The company presented two work in progress performances that were both following by Q&A’s with Katie and Ella to gather thoughts and feedback. They are now in the process of outlining the next stage of development, exploring the script possibilities and how we can best utilise technology to enable as many people to engage with the production as possible.