Sunday | 2pm - 3pm (BST)
Small Group Conversation | Age 16+
Artist Surgery - On Digital
With Jason Crouch, Paula Varjack and Rachel Briscoe
The Artist Surgeries are designed to offer a space for in-depth, open exchange with someone who has a specialism, lived experience, or interest in a particular topic, field or subject area. You are invited to bring along questions or ideas you want to explore in the session that relate to your own creative practice. Don’t be shy!
Join Jason Crouch for a one hour surgery to chat about the collision between technology and performance, to share experiences of creating work in digital spaces, and to speculate on where we might go next. Jason has invited Paula Varjack and Rachel Briscoe to join him, two artists who have been occupying digital space in their work since before it was all Covid fashionable.
Over the past year or so, more artists than ever before have experimented with digital and online work, forced out of theatres and performance spaces and into the bits and bytes of the network. Yet more than half of our day-to-day interactions with each other are now digital or online, and our exploration of the virtual and hybrid spaces shouldn’t stop at the last vaccination.
We’re not interested in making digital theatre as a standby before getting back to normal, rather as an exploration of who we are in online spaces, what we can make there, and how we connect with each other once we’re there.
Oh, we’ll probably also talk about OBS, streaming and Zoom.
Jason is an artist, researcher and technology specialist with a particular interest in live performance. His roles have included producer and production manager for online and offline live events including large scale, site-specific performance, immersive experiences and intimate theatrical encounters. He has been engaged as a dramaturg, writer, sound and video designer, technology specialist, and occasionally as a performer.
Completing his practice-based PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017. His research and practice continues to investigate the intersection of performance and technology, with a particular interest in inclusion and access afforded by new technologies.
During the Covid 19 crisis he has chatted, collaborated or consulted with artists working in a wide range of disciplines, mainly helping them take work online or to make new work in an online or digital context. These artists and companies include Gudrun Soley Sigurdardottir, Conor A (indoorstoomuch), Greg Wohead, Will Dickie, Caroline Horton, Hidden Track, Forced Entertainment, James Monagahan, Nigel and Louise (Shunt), Selina Thompson, Ridiculusmus, Quarantine and Slung Low. He worked as a technology specialist for Gateshead International Festival of Theatre supporting their pivot to an online only festival in May 2020, with Black Gold Arts helping to create their first digital festival, and he continues to work with the arts centre Home in Manchester on their series of digital commissions: HomeMakers.
Paula Varjack is an artist working in performance, video and participation. She makes work as a way of making sense of and communicating with the world. In every show she makes, she aims to find the balance between making audiences question themselves, and feeling like they have had a fun night out. She uses storytelling to take audiences on a journey, shining light on what some might find uncomfortable, or may not have contemplated before. She is a London Pleasance associate artist and a Barbican Open Lab artist. She has been commissioned to make work by The Barbican, Battersea Arts Centre, Camden People’s Theatre, Fuel, The Marlborough, Attenborough Centre for the Arts, Upstart Theatre, Beam, and First Draft Cabaret.
She is the creator of the Anti-Slam a satirical take on Poetry Slams where the lowest score wins. In addition to creating, she facilitates writing and performance workshops with a wide range of age groups, and mentors emerging artists on developing their creative practice. Born in Washington D.C. to a Ghanaian mother and a British father, out of many places she has lived she considers east London to be "home".
Rachel Briscoe is one of Fast Familiar’s lead artists. Fast Familiar is an interdisciplinary collaboration combining expertise in narrative design, creative technology and facilitation. We make artworks which are participatory, playful and political, and which often utilise ‘digital technology’ to create new forms of human connection. For us, art is a space to explore questions which are too complex for daily life. We think art can be experimental and ambitious without being elitist.
Rachel trained as a playwright (Royal Court and Soho theatres) and theatre director (National Theatre Directors Course). For 5 years to 2015, she worked at Ovalhouse as Director of Theatre (jobshare) where the Guardian credited her with ‘restoring order to Ovalhouse with bold, experimental programming.’ These days, she mainly works as a writer, dramaturg and producer of audience-centric work.