I'm about to update you on a project that is yet to happen; on a project that may never happen...
Over the years I've always avoided doing this, because in some ways it feels like I'm counting my chickens before they've hatched, but given the amount of care, time, effort, and resources that have gone into this, I simply have to - to acknowledge both the sheer amount of work and the wonderful people that have played a role in its journey so far:
For just over a year now, I’ve been working on the pre-development of a brand new production called ‘The Playce’ - a large-scale interactive music installation that is set to capitalise on the success of my previous R&D production Playces - a series of interactive cardboard structures that promote curiosity, exploration, and play.
The Playce will serve as the flagship work in the Playces series. Through this installation it is my ambition to establish a new platform that enables members of the public to fully engage with the transformative power of adaptive audio, or “non-linear dynamic soundtracks” - an art form almost exclusively experienced through video games and interactive screen-based media. The purpose of this production is to broaden the reach of this type of music to the widest possible audience and develop a culturally significant contribution towards the diversification of this medium.
Ultimately - I want to take adaptive music soundtracks beyond the pixel and outside of the screen.
Since Playces was recognised at The MIDI Innovation Awards in 2021, I suddenly found myself on an international stage, and in an environment where I was surrounded by people who were encouraging me to scale this work up, both in physical size/footprint, and in timeframe. To my astonishment and utter delight, this was coming from people that I deeply admired and looked up to in the world of interactive sound and experience design - the incredible designer Yuri Suzuki (of Teenage Engineering and Will.i.am collaborations) to name but one!
So, in the wake of this - left fizzing and re-evaluating my professional worth - I found myself taking a massive leap in order to find a way to bring such a large-scale production to life.
Enter Theatr Clwyd. I found myself heading to this wonderful cultural venue in North Wales back in 2022 to become part of their mentoring scheme - Open Book - a fantastic initiative that opens up the inner-workings of theatre organisations for creative practitioners from all backgrounds to engage with and learn more about. Despite being unsuccessful in securing a place on that scheme, I found myself leaving with a lasting professional relationship that connected me with theIr inner-workings as a venue nonetheless.
During my very first visit there, I found myself learning more about their £35m capital venue redevelopment project. As I discovered more and more about their plans for the new venue, I found myself face to face with an organisation that deeply resonated with me. They clearly care about developing the resilience of the arts and creative industries, and they clearly care about fostering sustainable and environmentally sensitive approaches to both the running of a cultural space and the development of the creative work they present. In response to this - almost as if I’d been put into autopilot - I found myself approaching them about becoming my key project partner and long-term host venue for The Playce. At the threshold of starting this process, Imposter Syndrome started to rear its head once again. (Hello old friend, it’s been a few years…) “Am I capable of this?” “Would any venue want this work?” “Surely I can’t seek out a high bracket of funding for works that are made entirely from recycled cardboard?” “What if other practitioners wouldn’t want to work on this production with me?" ...regardless, I shared with them my vision for The Playce, and they said yes. Immediately. Since the very beginning, the team at Theatr Clwyd have shown me that they deeply believe in my work - that they see its value and that they believe their extensive audience would love and cherish an installation like The Playce. So, with unwavering support from Executive Director, Liam Evans-Ford, and the wider senior leadership team, I was able to get a full-blown pre-production process in motion. This led to several trips up to North Wales for team meetings to identify sources of funding, develop my proposal, visit the construction site for the new venue, build out the 2 year production timeline, align the project with TC’s wider creative communities, and the list well and truly goes on - with all of this effort spanning 2023 in its entirety.
Thanks to Theatr Clwyd’s commitment to my project a good proportion of the funding for The Playce has already been secured, and I have just recently submitted a funding proposal to reach the final target. As is the case with any funding bid, there is simply no guarantee, but the backing I have received to date has been the most incredible boost to my practice. Never before have I experienced this level commitment, support, or financial contribution from a cultural organisation as I have with Theatr Clwyd. It has quite simply blown my mind. So - with the decision for the fate of this production now cast out into the wider world of decision-makers - who knows how this will play out! …but one thing I do know is that I’m finally at a point in my professional journey where I’m dead set ready to develop an installation of this nature and scale - one with national reach, and international significance.
So here’s hoping that I’ll have more exciting updates about this project as it unfolds - because one way or another - I will do my absolute best to find a way to unfold it :)
…and when it does unfold, this will undoubtedly be thanks to people and organisations who are willing to take a risk on me, and my creative vision and passion for this project.
To those of you who have already done just that, I cannot thank you enough. Consider this update my love letter to you all - the dream makers. ❤️