So last week I had my first session as part of the ‘community lab’ with the company Unlimited Theatre, publishing/tech types Storythings and research types at the University of Dundee on Make Some More Noise.
They are working on ‘a brand new, take home experience for mobile devices. A type of digital bottle that recreates the unique sound, lighting and atmosphere produced through live theatre performance, but handcrafted using technology.’
Part hive mind, part guinea pigs, we’ll be testing, suggesting and feeding back. Cool huh?
I got involved because aside for my interest in things digital and love of stories, I heart Unlimited’s work. Theatre that feels like being hugged by an old friend, only when you walk away you realise there’s a note about an insurrectionary meeting down at the docks in your pocket.
There’s a generosity of spirit evident throughout this process. For a start it’s admitted that this is something quite new and, that to some extent, we are all making this up as we go along.
There’s a generosity too in opening up the development process so honestly. Reading a script at this stage feels like a gift. Even as someone who works in a theatre which specialises in the development of new work, this level of access is fairly rare. And there’s a reason for this; as work develops things get messy. Ideas are developed, then scrapped wholesale. Emotions run high. People fall out. Things that should work, just don’t. And on the flip side a lot of audiences want to be presented with something neat and polished and…finished. But me, I’m relishing being able to get a closer look.
I should mention too the generosity of those participating in the labs, a range of people from different walks of life giving their time just to see if they can make something cool happen.
It all feels…kinda…nice.
Despite being digital friendly (whatever the hell that means, I just made that up) I’m a stickler for print. I never read lengthy texts on screen, maybe because I associate screens with work. Or maybe I’m just old school like that.
I’ve started thinking about what would need to happen for me to make the leap.
I’m not sure yet. And also I’m not sure what happens next.
But I think back to what one of my old science teachers once told me.
He said, ‘Rachel, it’s not really an experiment if you know what the result will be before you start’.