The Russian Winter: An extraordinary performance at Colston Hall involving UWE staff and students

Issue date: 17 January 2014

See video of Judith Aston describing The Russian Winter here.

A group of students from UWE Bristol have been working with the team of dedicated musicians, filmmakers and interaction designers for a performance of The Russian Winter at the Lantern Theatre at the Colston Hall from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 January.

The Russian winter was conceived by songwriter John E Vistic and composer Adam Coombs and brought to life in collaboration with Judith Aston from the Digital Cultures Research Centre at UWE Bristol, and her crack team of filmmakers - The Russian Winter features a host of Bristol's up and coming new talent.

Judith Aston from UWE Bristol said, “This project has been an amazing opportunity to present student and graduates with a live project where each can play an important role and get real experience. We have involved students from the Filmmaking and Creative Media Course and from the MA in Media and Culture at UWE Bristol.

“As the project has been running now for three years some of the students have now graduated but there is a core group who have stuck with the project since graduating including the Director Jim Roper.”

Jim Roper said, “This has been a fantastic project to work on. I participated from the outset and since graduation have combined making a living as a freelance editor and vfx artist with this. The Russian Winter may also provide me with a Launchpad for my directing ambitions and I'm hoping that we get some great critiques after the performance next week that can be put into redeveloping the show. I've had the chance to work alongside some incredibly talented people and learnt so much about the importance of working collaboratively as being key to putting on a performance with such a diverse range of performers and artists. The UWE team has worked on the film backdrop and theatrical elements that will accompany the performance of the 11 track album - although there are many elements that haven't yet made the cut. We are really hoping this concept performance is well received and that we can develop it further to show at new venues and arts festivals around the UK.”

Judith Aston continues “The students have been working with me as producer on a whole range of roles towards creating the film backdrop to the performance and integrating this into the wider context of the live show. Roles have included scriptwriting, camera work, editing, working with actors, art direction, developing the website, organising fundraising events and general production assistance. The students have had direct input and the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals including Joel Skinner, visual effects editor for Dr Who, and Jenny Butterworth, producer for the Channel 4 Time Team programme. This professional contact is something that we try to integrate as much as we can so that the students are given real world opportunities and a true insight into and practice in the wide range of roles that contribute to a final 'product".

The Russian Winter is the culmination of three years of hard work and it brings together a forty piece orchestra, choir and band; choreographed film and VJ sequences and elements of live theatrical performance to tell a darkly enigmatic love story inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov's classic novel The Master and Margarita.

The story follows the Master, a writer in a desperate fight with his own demons, as he pursues his lost love through a contemporary Bristol cityscape alive with psychedelic Russian influences. When the devil comes to town, wreaking havoc on the Master's world, only love can save him from destruction.

Tickets are selling fast and are available from the venue by phoning 0844 887 1500 or online via the following link:

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