The Creative Hub, The Storey Meeting House Lane Lancaster, LA1 1TH

New Adventures in Performance – a new way of working

30th July 2020 by Morven Macbeth

By Laurence Young

‘When I joined imitating the dog as Learning and Access Officer, I was fascinated by our digital magazine; what it already was, and what it could be. Starting out as a fanzine, the magazine was already acting as a kind of archive of work that has already been made, bringing to light historical and contemporary performances to be placed in conversation with one another. When I was asked to take over the management of the magazine, it was this element of conversation that interested me most. What can be learned about performance practice by placing different types of works in conversation with each other? Is there something particularly interesting in relating historical work to contemporary work? And what are the practices happening right now in the exploration of the digital in theatre that might speak to all this?

After chatting to a number of people about the above (special thanks to Alice Saville of Exeunt who was really brilliant in helping to formulate this plan), we settled on an idea that each issue would be guest curated by an artist whose work in some way has a digital element. With each issue we want to open up a myriad of conversations; between the artists practice and their own work, between our work and that of the artist, and between the guest artist, ourselves, and the wider artistic community. For the guest artist, how they do this is entirely up to them, but we’ll be working with each artist on a quarterly basis to help facilitate the kind of conversations they’d like to have. We are also encouraging the artist to experiment formally in how the magazine might appear. So whilst previous issues have focused on video content, this issue, which focuses on making work at the physical/digital boundary, has a much more interactive element, as our first guest artist was interested in pushing how this magazine format might stretch and respond the way she makes work.

This first issue in the new way of doing things is guest curated by Melanie Frances. Melanie is a theatre maker and a game designer. She creates artistic works that are playable; both live and digital interactive experiences that invite audience members to actively engage, construct their own route through an experience, and often, change what they see.

Melanie has extensive experience as an interactive and immersive storyteller, primarily with interactive, digital theatre company Produced Moon. Melanie has co-created all of Produced Moon’s projects, including two sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs. Produced Moon are Associate Artists at Platform Glasgow.

This first issue is definitely an experiment, a pilot to see what works, what doesn’t, and to learn how to be better for the next one. A massive thank you to Melanie for coming on this journey with us and bringing all of her creativity, warmth and generosity to this process. We’re really interested to know what people think of the issue, so get in touch if you have any thoughts, would like to chat, or have an interesting artistic practice that uses digital technology in innovative ways and would love to guest curate a future issue. We’re very much looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts, and sharing this new venture, it’s all super exciting!’

Laurence Young

July 2020

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