Talking Moves Series 1 Episode 6: Creating for a Digital Stage

Talking Moves | 18 December 2020

In this episode we talk to Rhiannon Faith and Ben Duke about their experiences of Creating for a Digital Stage, and we ask them, with the benefit of some experience and hindsight, how they are now approaching the use of technology and the digital experience as they conceive their next work.

We discuss the uncanny similarity between the themes at the core of Rhiannon’s ready-to-tour show Drowntown and the filmed prologue Drowntown Lockdown she ended up making – and she lets us into a trade secret about how to get the best shots using apparatus borrowed from her 4 month old’s nursery! Ben confessed to wondering ‘what am I and what is this thing I do without an audience?’ and admitted feeling reluctant to start making digital dance until the need to orchestrate pressure and deadlines to break the inertia of lockdown propelled him back into creation mode.

Together they discuss whether the digital outputs they created could replace the live experience, whether they were able to reach the kinds of audiences they aim to touch with their live work, the shift as we curate considered audience experiences rather than chase audience numbers and how we all, now, simply feel like beginners.

Who's Who

Black and white photo of Ben Duke's head and shoulders

Ben Duke

Ben is a choreographer, performer and the Artistic Director of Lost Dog. He trained at Guildford School of Acting, the London Contemporary Dance School and has a first class degree in English Literature from Newcastle University. His work is an attempt to reconcile those three subjects.

For Lost Dog Ben has created 10 shows including the critically acclaimed Juliet and Romeo in 2018 and Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) in 2015. Both shows have toured extensively in the UK and in Europe. In 2011 Lost Dog won the Place Prize for Dance sponsored by Bloomberg with their duet It Needs Horses.

As a freelance choreographer Ben created the Olivier award nominated Goat for Rambert Dance company as well as works for Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine), Phoenix Dance Theatre (Pave up Paradise), and the contemporary circus company Barely Methodical Troupe (Kin).

As a performer he has worked with Punchdrunk (Faust), the Gate Theatre (I am Falling), The National Theatre of Scotland (Dolls), and toured as a guest artist with the Hofesh Shechter company (Political Mother).

Ben is a Work Place artist.
Photo of Rhiannon Faith's head and torso. Pink frilly top and pink background

Rhiannon Faith

Rhiannon Faith is a socially conscious artist whose work is an agent for discourse and change; she makes form-defying autobiographical shows that have guts, and that take guts. She is interested in how art changes lives.

Rhiannon Faith’s creative process draws autobiographical stories from the communities and artists she works with. The result is work which uses dance and theatre (in their widest meanings) to take the audience on a narrative led journey, which is both challenging and accessible.

Her work often involves a wide range of collaborating partners including a psychologist, a neuroscientist, a domestic abuse charity, and most recently a philosopher on virtue ethics and moral psychology.

After a sold-out week run at the Barbican, Rhiannon Faith’s Award Winning show, Smack That (a conversation), has been touring the UK to critical acclaim. Smack That (a conversation) has also been published by Oberon Books as an instructional dance play.

Rhiannon Faith is responsible for making Harlow Playhouse the first J9 Venue in the UK, (a sign-posted safe space for victims of Domestic Abuse). 11 Other UK art venues including the Barbican, Cambridge Junction and The Lowry have signed up to the campaign.

Rhiannon Faith has become the first Associate Artist at Harlow Playhouse. She continues to embed high-quality art into Harlow communities. She created ‘I Talk To The Clouds and They Cry With Me’ commissioned by HP for Mental Health Awareness Week, alongside a Cloud Hub that ran community activity to tackle mental health issues in Harlow.

Based in Essex, and supported by Arts Council England, previous work includes ‘I Don’t Care Bear’ commissioned by Spilt Milk Dance and the Rural Touring Initiative, which toured to 13 rural venues in the UK; ‘The Date’ which had its London premier at BAC in 2015; and ‘Scary Shit’ which received 5 star reviews in a run at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe.

Rhiannon Faith has choreographed for Channel 4 Documentaries with Bryony Kimmings (Sex clinics residency) and VEVO live music events, and is the Movement Director for Springhead Film Company (winner of ‘Coup de Coeur’ at Cannes) 2015 film Soror. Commissions also include Secret Cinema’s ‘The Red Shoes’, ‘Grease’, and ‘Diva’.

She holds a MA in Contemporary Dance Theatre Practice, a PGCE, and received the Smith-Artaud Award for excellence in Dance Theatre.

More in the Talking Moves series

Parenting in the Arts. Talking Moves title

Talking Moves Series 5 Episode 5: Parenting in the Arts

Making Positive Change. Talking Moves title

Talking Moves Series 5 Episode 6: Making Positive Change

Making Accessible Work. Talking Moves episode title

Talking Moves Series 5 Episode 4: Making Accessible Work

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