Digital installation used as backdrop in Bristol Old Vic

Issue date: 30 April 2010

UWE A group of audio and music technology students from the University of the West of England have been working with the Bristol Old Vic and the Pervasive Media Studio to produce a short audio visual installation and performance as part of 'The Writings on the Wall' to enrich a season of short new plays entitled 'Short Fuses'.

As part of their degree work the students are required to take part in a project where they work to a brief set by a real client. Clients from voluntary sector, SME's and arts organisations bid for the student groups to come in and 'solve' problems or to create digital solutions when they either do not have the expertise or the funding to do so.

Josh Ward worked with a group of five other students to create an audio visual installation at the Bristol Old Vic. He explains, “The Arts Council is keen to include more digital media projects in arts venues. Working with Sharon Clark from the Bristol Old Vic we collaborated on a digital projection and soundscape that enhanced the production she was directing.

The play, Ladies Mile, focused on a builder and a young teenager sitting on a Bristol park bench discussing their very different lives. The installation included video footage of sleeping bags, cardboard boxes, children's playgrounds and underage smokers. The images had a subliminal impact and although not entirely related to the exact dialogue brought a fresh dimension to the action on stage.

“The project was really useful as we did stray away from the initial brief once we realised what was possible within the time frame and realistic in terms of production techniques.

“We worked closely with the Victoria Tillotson from Pervasive Media Studio who provided a great insight into technical possibilities.

The student team comprised Sean Minchell, Luek Piercy, Rob Cambrooke and Will Man.

Sharon Clark from Bristol Old Vic said, “This was an extremely interesting journey as we had not combined a technical team with performers in this way before. The brief changed as ideas developed but we ended up using the space in a new and challenging way. The work that the students produced enhanced the production with the film running pre- performance and morphing the space into the set which the actors then played against.

“All in I would say that the experiment worked extremely well with the team from UWE being knowledgeable, creative and fluid in their approach.”

Dr Marcus Lynch, Deputy Head of Information Science and Digital Media Department said, “The project work is critical for the students as they get the opportunity to put their expertise to the test and learn how to operate in a business setting. We have over the years built up quite a reputation as more organisations seek to tap in to students' expertise.
“The students benefit hugely both through working to brief and becoming client centered and because projects present a chance to make useful industry contacts. Many students go on to work in the areas they select for their project.”

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