From a Hotel Somewhere in Bradford…



It’s a strange world we find ourselves in today.

As I write this I’m holed up in Cedar Court Hotel in Bradford with a band of brilliant, disparate (and, yes, diverse) artists making a live digital performance of BD Stories for transmission on Wednesday.

If this was the start of an HBO/BBC/C4 series we would be cut off here, spending the next weeks killing/copping off with each other while transmitting any bits of plays we can remember live to a virus doomed world. (If anyone from HBO/BBC/C4 are reading consider this the pitch…)

When we and CARBON: Imagineering started on the project of making digital live performance via mobile phones easy and low cost, we had no idea how urgent that might feel right now. This might not be the answer to theatres closing during the crisis, but if it can be part of the answer we want to make it work & share it as soon as we can. (Thanks XR Stories for getting us this far).

It feels…spooky that we first started working on this idea back when I directed Tajinder Singh Hayer’s North Country. A post-apocalyptic play set in Bradford about 3 teenager survivors of a flu pandemic. It seems wrong to share again the livecast version of that we made, not right now when people are scared and suffering. Maybe there’ll be a time when we want to imagine those scenarios again, think about how we do survive in the worst times. I did want to share the trailer we made, mainly to hear again Taj’s beautiful words performed by the brilliant Natalie Davies.

‘I tell them that’s what’s going to keep us alive. Connection. When things got bad, it wasn’t just because people got ill, it’s because they stopped looking out for each other.’

We will look out for each other, as theatre folk, friends, family, neighbours. As a company we’re going to be looking for ways we can support fellow artists and our communities. If there’s anything you want to know about our digital prototype, or anyway I can help drop me a line alex@freedomstudios.co.uk

Take care. Stay safe. Much love.

Alex x

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