14 Sep 2020 Time For Change, And My Internship At The Bare Project
by Jessica Mistry
This was my first time being immersed in the world of theatre. It always seemed exciting and different, but I never had much understanding of what was involved creatively or how open it could be. Throughout this experience I have been exposed to the opportunity that comes with theatre, an understanding that there isn’t just one conventional form but many different ways in which theatre itself can be used to be expressive, informative and thought provoking.
Interactive theatre was something that caught my eye- working with people to produce a project that is a combination of multiple perspectives was a concept that really excited me. The way that interpretation could influence a piece, or how people interacted with the project was something I could not wait to explore. During my internship I got the opportunity to work with audio files from Story Swap Cafes and The People’s Palace of Possibility. It was so interesting getting to hear people’s stories and for a moment you are transported, experiencing that moment with that person. Whether that person was 7 or 77, the stories told were intriguing and so diverse! As I listened to people’s histories, past experiences and feelings, themes presented themselves, and being able to incorporate these stories into a community theatre project was amazing. There was also a vulnerability that came with some of the recordings: happiness, sadness, excitement, shock, all these emotions were present and readable.
I enjoyed talking with creatives at The Bare Project about their individual roles, how they work within the company as well as their work outside The Bare Project. I learnt a lot about work within theatre and what each role involves. Many members of the company are freelance, and we had a conversation about whether that would be something I would want to do. Also, I was introduced to more things that were happening in my local area of Yorkshire in relation to theatre/community based theatre and how I could get involved in some of the projects going on, which I found really helpful and can’t wait to explore. Part of my internship involved joining team meetings, which gave me real insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ of how departments work together to produce these amazing projects. It was really nice to be able to have individual conversations with each creative and then in the team meetings, see how their roles/ideas came together to evolve the project. There are constant reviews and tweaks that occur to make sure that the participation of the project is as accessible, immersive, and as smooth running as possible.
As I haven’t attended much theatre, the team at The Bare Project introduced me to some shows, allowing me to really explore the possibilities of theatre in all its forms. These included The Encounter by Complicite, The Time of your Life by Gecko, and Going Viral by Daniel Bye. I hadn’t seen pieces of theatre like these before and they really made me think differently about the interactive aspects, delivery and topics of theatre shows. The Encounter in particular influenced my thinking: the whole show was delivered using headphones and involved binaural sound. The use of sound was really interesting as there was a soundscape throughout that really immersed you into the various stories being told. The sounds were also beautifully woven together throughout different narratives/stories being told which worked amazingly as one continuous piece.
I produced my own creative project during my internship too, and the use of sound within The Encounter influenced how I approached my work. I was inspired by a quote from The People’s Palace of Possibility archive: “the fabric of tomorrow’s culture is in the imagination of today” which expresses how culture is taught and manipulated through time, and I wanted to explore that further. I gathered extracts of sounds that were taken from protests around the world over the last 10 years and produced a soundscape that incorporated them all. I found this quite daunting at first as I had only ever worked with sound accompanied with picture, however I was eager to learn how I could experiment without a limitation. I wanted to express the idea that humans have the power to change history and the norms of society. People have protested for years and it’s a communal activity that reinforces the ideology of ‘power of the people’. People have a voice when they protest, no matter what the issue. It is an opportunity to be educated, immersed, or support a movement that may break a ‘culture’ that may not have been challenged before or systems that need to change. In listening to recordings of protests I realised they all had a sense of rhythm. I wanted to build upon that, so I incorporated different sources of rhythm into the piece hoping it would tie in a message of community. The protests are linked in the sense of injustice but also in how united people are in wanting to deliver that message and encourage change for the better. I felt that it would be a great project to display some of the things I learnt at The Bare Project. It incorporated technical skills I learnt as well as the community based beliefs that The Bare Project are so passionate about, especially the idea that ‘change is possible’ which is one of the themes of The People’s Palace of Possibility. I hope it makes people think about how people have the power to make change and how powerful that is. You can listen to the piece, Time For Change, here:
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Bare Project and learnt so much from the amazing people there. I have come away with a new outlook on the world of both contemporary and community theatre. It has opened my eyes to a new way of working in the theatre industry, the possibilities, and the work it can do for its community.
'Time For Change' Credits
Time For Change was created by emerging sound designer Jessica Mistry, on her Summer 2020 Sheffield Hallam University internship with The Bare Project. Below is a list of the protests featured in the piece:
- Black Lives Matter protest- Toronto 06/05/2020
- Los Gitos De Mexico (The cries of Mexico)- more than 20 million people gathered to make noise
- Protest against anti-immigration law- Abolish ICE- Portland- Election night 2018
- Violin Vigil for Elijah McClain- 28/06/2020
- Government protests- Icelandic financial crisis- Autumn 2010
- Black Lives Matter Protest- Lisbon- June 2020
- Rally/Protest against educational cuts and heavy-handling policing- Valencia, Spain- February 2012
- Protest during major economical crisis in Portugal- 2011
- Protests on streets of Kerala- Women of Kerala made 620km human chain for gender equality, access to Sabarimala Temple- January 2019
- Climate Strike- Guildford- 2019
Time for Change uses sounds from ProSoundEffects.com and Freesounds.org including:
- Los Gritos de Mexico (soundscape of Mexico City) by felix.blume | License: Attribution/ re-ordered clip and mixed with other sounds
- Thailand fireworks and firecrackers close and far from bridge Loi Krathong lantern festival Chiang Mai +people2.flac by kyles | License: Creative Commons 0