"It’s hard to see how this production could be improved on. Festive family theatre rarely gets better than this." Nigel Smith for The Stage
I was thrilled to be asked back again to work with my friends at the BBC Philharmonic, this time on a different project, a poetry reading with music to be recited live and broadcast on BBC Radio. The concert took place to mark The Salford Institute for Dementia's second year and was held at Peel hall in the Universities grounds.
The concert itself explores the relationship between poetry and music and how it can impact those with Dementia and their families. The poetry, written by Actor and director Di Sherlock explores her journey as a carer for her mother, almost as a diary of events and feelings as things progressed. These emotional works, now published in a book, prompted the BBC's Martin Maris to suggest adding music to accompany the words, commissioning Lucas Garner, an American music student studying in Manchester to compose a score for the piece.
The performance consisted of three actors including Di reading with a talented cellist from the philharmonic Elinor Gow.
Both the structure and the sensitive emotional nature of the piece dictated that any audio enhancement be subtle and unobtrusive. Its was imperative that these words be heard over the beautiful tones of the cello however never sounding amplified or out of place.
I chose both my microphones and speaker system carefully in order to maximise this affect and also to provide the best quality audio for the BBC's broadcast engineers.
This is a new style of project for me but one that I really enjoyed. The readings were received very well and seemed to strike a chord for those caring for and living with Dementia. The project now aims to work with these groups, aiding them to write their own feelings and experiences down in poetry. Perhaps the next chapter in the tale will be their performances.