As we near the end of the workshop process for the Coventry situation, we’re huddled in little clusters around the Shop Front Theatre space – writing stories, making digital media, working with UpStage’s avatar voices, running audio and ethernet cables. Over the past week we’ve had a lot of fascinating discussions about the situation as well as about the process, we’ve interviewed locals and walked around the nearby area, and – as usual! – have ammassed more material than we can fit into the performance; and so the distillation and decision process must happen!
In the midst of the tumultous activity and discussions, participant Michelle Engelfield has been quietly drawing away in UpStage, learning how to use a drawing tablet and familiarising herself with the UpStage environment and drawing tools. Live drawing is a great element within UpStage, allowing visual improvisation to complement other elements or stand on its own. Michelle’s drawings – some similar to the one pictured here – will feature in the performance tomorrow evening.
Another participant is journalism student Savannah Sengooba; we’re calling her role in the performance, “audience activator” – she will invite the proximal audience in the Shop Front Theatre to co-author elements of the performance. Another audience engagement role is that of “chatter”, to facilitate engagement with the online audience; this will be fulfilled by Lauren Heywood, who is part of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab. This role will help to ensure that contributions from online audience participants are well-integrated into the performance and discussion.
There are many other participants in this process – including staff members, local residents, and students from departments including Photography, Fine Arts, Journalism and Creative Writing. Having “embedded researchers” has brought a reflective element to the process; and at the end of next week we’ll present it at the In Dialogue conference in Nottingham.
Savannah has blogged about the project here, and we have a a great write-up in Coventry Today. Now, we have the final preparations to make, to draw together all the strands of our performance and be ready for tomorrow evening!