Working with technology within creative theatre practice - what's happening and how can we support each other? Where next for this work? Mary Helen Young, 9 January 2016 Attenders: Dan Ball - Theatre Delicatessen, Rachel Briscoe - FanSHEN, Leon Trimble - Chromatouch/AV Performer, Tom McDonagh - Theatre Maker, Ashley Elbourne - Royal & Derngate Theatre, Ed O'driscoll @edodriscoll, Antonio Ferrara, Robert Wells @weaselspoon, Jessica Brewter - Theatre Delicatessen, @maddydeliqette, Shawu Soh @shawusoh, Katie Day - The Other Way Works @otherwayworks, Mary Helen Young - The Other Way Works @mhinspace Setting the stage: The Other Way Works uses technology to help with both scaling and making experience seem magical. Often conversations around technology in theatre revolve around marketing and dissemination rather than creative uses. What support exists for developing technology within theatre? - Youtube tutorials - residencies at Pervasive Media Studio (bristol) - dancetech.net - Camden Peoples Theatre - “arty” video game night - Fish Island Labs (Barbican partnership) - Writing platform at Bath Uni - The Space funding What are the obstacles - Not much coordinated or national support - tech is expensive and time intensive - tech needs to be 99% reliable and tested to that standard - theatre practitioners try working with technology, have a bad experience and stop - misconception that digital will revolutionise your business model. Tech does not make things easier, it gets harder and the ideal is usually not produced\ - wide gap between pay rates for technologists and pay rates for theatre makers/practitioners (ie day rate is £500-850 for tech, vs. ITC weekly rate of £450) - artist imaginations are often far ahead of technical capacity - The Space funding treats tech as dissemination only - Theatre tech can't keep up with the quality of everyday technology & apps - feels clunky - tech works on much slower/longer timescales to develop What are the opportunities? - there is a market/space between theatre & gaming where live performance & tech/online can meet - hasn't been tapped - possible to work with universities and students in a lab environment to get things built (ie Goldsmiths) What is the need? - need a playground to try out and experiment with technology - skills shortage for theatre professionals working with technology - important to bring in technologist for R&D at same time as the rest of the team This is a young sector with lots of experimental projects and emerging artforms. How do we get better at doing this together? What Next? What support/resources/advice can support this work? - Directory of existing projects (such as NESTA Digital R&D) - A playground/sandbox for experimentation - Make code open source, especially when funded publicly - involve technologist from beginning, as collaborator (may bring rate down) - develop & circulate a pool or list of technologist interested in creative work - hold networking events with technologists - identify brokers and facilitators that can go between artists and technologists - build technology collaborations over time so you speak the same language - training for creative producers in working with technology - skill sharing/swap within a network - set up a teaching rota - space & time for an entire company to devise with a technologist Tags: coding, digital, Training, Technology, Digital, training, technology, sandbox Comments: 1 Robert Wells, 12 January 2016 Something I meant to say, but that didn't fit into the conversation. I'm a great believer in what Gunpei Yokoi, designer of the original Game Boy, called Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology. A great example of this is 1927 who use a single pre-rendered video through a single projector to provide all their backdrops and all their lighting, as well as some tricky visual effects. The creation of that video can be high tech, but then, through plenty of rehearsal and some cunning techniques for synchronising, the show could be run from a DVD.