Theatrescience is a rolling laboratory of new plays, workshops, performances, festivals, studies and exchanges. It works with scientists and artists in schools, communities and academic and cultural organisations. Theatrescience aims to break down the barriers between two allegedly divided disciplines, to the enduring benefit of both. The initial idea of a collaboration with Warwick University came from a conversation about how Theatrescience might reach international audiences, and bring its work to a wider audience.
For several years now, the CAPITAL Centre (now merged into the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning, IATL) at Warwick University has been establishing an online archive of contemporary performance, with an emphasis on interactive teaching and learning. These archives have proved an invaluable resource for students, practitioners, and academics in studying performance, and particularly the transition from 'page to the stage'.
As one of the remits of Theatrescience's projects is New Writing and the relationships between the writer and the other creatives, as well as with the scientific advisor, it presented an ideal opportunity to link up with the work happening at Warwick. With the support of a bursary from the Mills Fund, Theatrescience engaged Will Thomas, who is undertaking his MA by Research in the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at Warwick. Will is researching the internet as a site of performance and interaction, and we hope that this archive will contribute to building a larger, interactive network of those interested in theatre and science.
The Mills Fund, a bursary scheme aimed at supporting work focused on art and science, was set up by the brother of Warwick graduate Jenny Mills, a writer and former member of the Fail Better student ensemble. This bursary has allowed Will to travel to London and be in rehearsals for Thetrescience's latest production, State of Nature by Simon Turley, to capture video, audio, and visual archive material, including interviews and design material. He will also be based for a week at the Eden Project, in Cornwall, where the production is taking place in the Rainforest Biome and will cover the live performances 17 to 25 November, as well as the book launch event on 20 November.
All of this material will be made available on an interactive website, through Warwick University, with links on Theatrescience's Facebook page and its official website (http://www.theatrescience.org.uk).
We hope that it will be a useful tool for those thinking about art and science, collaboration, design, writing, and also some of the more basic elements of "how to" concerning finding the characters back-story, directing pointers, and actors getting off the book. There will also be an opportunity to look at production shots, costume parades, and the coveted "bible" - the Deputy Stage Manager’s book of the show, and exactly how it all works, cues and all!
The complete archive will be ready in the early weeks of December.