The Show Must Go On!

By Joel Hale

Students at the University of Chester are bringing a play to life despite the pandemic.

Tomorrow night, an innovative audio drama called Love and Information will go live on Facebook.

Student Claudia Davies, who is studying Drama and Theatre and is part of the production’s publicity team, said: “Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information is a kaleidoscopic play of short scenes addressing contemporary issues about knowledge, technology and communication, and our capacity for love.

“Although the production didn’t plan out in the way it was supposed to, this has been a fantastic opportunity to take on a new challenge and to work in a different way than we would normally do.

“We decided on Facebook as our main port of call – and it will also be accessed via Instagram too.”

Drama and Theatre, Acting and Performing Arts degree students originally planned a full stage production of Love and Information.

It would have taken place within the performance spaces of the University of Chester’s Department of Music, Media and Performance.

However, COVID-19 and lockdown conditions made this impossible, forcing staff and students to come up with an alternative solution.

They are now working intensely to present the play as an audio drama, which will be performed live on Facebook on Friday, June 5, at 5pm.

Kristin Jaap, a Drama and Theatre undergraduate, said: “Every day, we virtually meet on Microsoft Teams to rehearse and prepare for the final recordings. We are working in seven smaller groups, to allow time for everyone to get the support they need from our lecturer and director, Jamie Harper.

“As well as the group meetings, we work independently with our acting partners, rehearsing lines and planning how to add different sounds to the recordings.

“From an acting perspective, it has certainly added new tools to our skill sets, working on how to perform, only by using our voices, has been a challenging and interesting learning process.”

Acting student Hannah Grainger, who is on the production team said that students are all contributing to the performance in different ways.

She said: “One of our big factors is communication, as we all knew that we wanted everyone involved in this performance to feel comfortable with expressing any concerns or comments with us and, if so, what can we do to help.

“Finally, we are also thinking about any technical concerns we have that can prevent people from getting the best sound quality. We want everyone to feel that they are getting the most out of this project.”

Lecturer Jamie Harper said he was excited to be working on Love and Information with the students.

He said: “In the current circumstances, we’re asking some big questions about how we want to organise our lives together and this play asks big questions about how we share knowledge and love each other, so it feels like a good piece for the times we’re in.

“It is also great to work in the audio format. We might lose the sense of face-to-face human connection, but audio drama gives us scope to imagine things that we could never put on stage, so I think that this way of working really stimulates our creativity.”

Love and Information is being performed live on Facebook and Instagram on Friday, June 5 at 5pm.

Visit: the Facebook event page or the Instagram page for more information.

The actual performance will take place here.

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