Performances of A Moment of Madness at Watermans Digital Weekender 2016

October 7, 2016 by

We’ll be performing our prototype version of A Moment of Madness at Watermans Arts Centre’s Digital Weekender over the weekend of 12-13th November 2016.

All the information, including booking can be found on Watermans’ website.

This game is played in pairs so tickets are sold as pairs. Four players play at one time, so two pairs together. Sessions last 1 hour. The experience includes some strong language and is only suitable for adults 18+. A pair of tickets costs £10.

Performance times are:
Saturday 12th Nov 2016: 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm, 7pm
Sunday 13th Nov 2016: 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm

Funding awarded for A Moment of Madness prototype development

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We’re really pleased to announce that Arts Council England have awarded us a grant to support the development of a prototype of our new project: A Moment of Madness (previously being developed under the name ‘Agent in a Box‘).

Currently at concept stage, A Moment of Madness will be a new kind of spy-themed narrative game. Players provide live support as an agent in the field on a stake-out mission. The paper fragments enclosed in the packages together with a cheap mobile phone that accesses an automated interactive sms, voice call and message system deliver the hour-and-a-half-long narrative experience.

Artistic Director Katie Day will be collaborating with John Sear, an experienced game designer and software developer to create this new kind of narrative game.

We’re excited to be developing the project at BOM Lab, as an R&D Residency there over the summer.

The Other Way Works is recruiting new Trustees to join our Board

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The Other Way Works is currently recruiting Trustees to join its Board of Directors. This is a great opportunity for your skills and experience to make a real difference to the development of an energetic and distinctive charitable arts organisation. We’re looking for people with a passion for theatre, the arts, and innovation, who will help steer, support and advocate for the company.

Click here to download a PDF with all the info

What our audiences thought of Black Tonic

September 13, 2016 by

We had some really lovely responses from our 2015 audiences. Thanks to all who attended.

Young male performer sought for new interactive performance in Birmingham

September 6, 2016 by

Young male performer sought for new interactive performance in Birmingham

The Other Way Works – a new theatre game – ‘Agent in a Box’

We are looking for a performer to play ‘Hussein Kissar’ in a new theatre game we are developing, who fits the character brief below.

The part would suit a student performer, or someone with a playing age of 19-21. Ideally Birmingham/West Midlands based. Must be aged 18+.

The part

– Short Voice recordings of voicemail messages
– Live performance (observed by audience sitting in parked cars)

– – Walking around a multi-storey car park, agitated, on the phone
– – Potential meeting with ‘Michael Makerson’ in the car park, argument/hug/kiss etc
– – Potential delivery of envelope to audience members in parked car and short dialogue with them from back seat of car.

The character

“Hussein Kissar”
Age: 19
Nationality: Saudi Arabian

Hussein Kissar is a Saudi-born young man. The son of a wealthy Saudi businessman, he has been privately educated at top UK boarding school.
He is now a University student in London. He is independently wealthy and free to enjoy his life.
He has a keen interest in environmental issues and the green agenda.
He is a homosexual and is ‘out’ to his peers in the UK, but not to his family, or to friends in Saudi Arabia. He is therefore discreet about his sexuality in public contexts where this might attract unwanted coverage.
He has been having a secret affair with the politician and Environment Secretary ‘Michael Makerson’ for over a year. Makerson met him when giving a speech at his school, where Makerson’s own children also attend. Aged 17, he was invited by Makerson to shadow him as part of the school’s work experience programme.

When

– We’d like to make voice recordings in mid September, in Birmingham (or remotely)
– Performances as part of a public ‘playtesting’ event in central Birmingham on Monday 26th September 10am – 6pm

Potential performances in London on 12 & 13th November (under separate agreement)

Fee

£100

To cover 1 day of rehearsals and performances on 26 September 2016 and recording of short vocal recordings before that, inclusive of travel.

Contact

Katie Day, Artistic Director, The Other Way Works
www.theotherwayworks.co.uk
info@theotherwayworks.co.uk

Please send an email to info@theotherwayworks.co.uk telling us about your performing experience and why you would like to be involved by WEDNESDAY 14th SEPTEMBER 2016.
Please make the Email Subject: Hussein Kissar Role.
Please attach a CV and links to any photos/showreels/profiles online.

Thanks.

Agent in a Box selected for Caravan Showcase

May 10, 2016 by

We are very pleased to have been selected by the Caravan Curatorial Team to be part of the 2016 Caravan Showcase.

The showcase presents a programme of the best new English performance to a selection of international promoters, festival organisers and presenters as part of the Brighton Festival.

We will be presenting a pitch about our new project Agent in a Box, on Monday 16th May 2016 at 10am in Brighton.

April in Amsterdam (at IETM!)

May 5, 2016 by

We were lucky enough to be invited to speak about how we work with technology in our theatre practice at the IETM Meeting in Amsterdam in April.

As long-time members of the IETM (an international network of performing arts organisations), we’ve attended many of their Plenary meetings in cities around Europe, but its always especially good to be contributing, as it helps with meeting people who share your interests from the 600+ attendees.

Funding awarded for Agent in a Box Prototype!

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We’re really pleased to announce that Arts Council England have awarded us a grant to support the development of a prototype of our new project: Agent in a Box.

Currently at concept stage, Agent in a Box will be a new kind of spy-themed narrative game. Players provide back room support to an agent live in the field, on the brink of closing a tricky case. The paper fragments enclosed in the box together with a cheap mobile phone that accesses an automated interactive sms, voice call and message system deliver the hour-long narrative experience.

Artistic Director Katie Day will be collaborating with John Sear, an experienced game designer and software developer to create this new kind of narrative game.
We’re excited to be developing the project at BOM Lab, as an R&D Residency there over the summer.

The first port of call for us will be the Caravan Showcase in Brighton later this month, where we’ll be pitching Agent in a Box to a selection of top international promoters, alongside ‘England’s most exciting artists’.

Is the use of digital technology by the theatre and cultural sector really declining? A (ranty) response to the 2015 Digital Culture 2015 Report

December 18, 2015 by

Nesta, AHRC & Arts Council England have just released the findings from this year’s survey into Digital Culture.

Download it here:
http://artsdigitalrnd.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Digital-Culture-2015-Final.pdf

The Stage (https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2015/digital-technology-in-decline-in-theatre-sector-claims-report/) have jumped straight in the claim that digital technology is in decline in the theatre sector. But what does this actually mean?

I’ve completed the previous two years of surveys on behalf of The Other Way Works, but this year the request languished in my inbox unopened. So much of the content is focused on ‘digital’ systems and marketing, with narrow and oddly specific questions on particular areas. I didn’t feel that the data I would be contributing would be reflecting our work and relationship with technology in the way I think is important or interesting.

The summary suggests that “digital technology has become seemingly less important to certain aspects of arts and cultural organisations’ work”. They may well have a point, but I wonder how much this is just a case of much of today’s administration and marketing work just being ‘digital’ by default and not considered to be in a special category anymore worthy of particular note?

Surely its no longer news to talk about the fact that your arts organisation has a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Website, sends eflyers, e-newsletters, emails, uses Skype or Hangouts, cloud-based databases, uploads content to video & audio streaming sites. Isn’t that just the way that individuals and organisations operate these days? This isn’t ‘digital’ anymore, its just work. And its definitely not ‘digital innovation’. When there’s a free, consumer service, that as individuals we use on a daily basis for communication and leisure, just using it to help you run your arts organisation isn’t really worthy of note.

The Stage’s claim that Digital Technology is in decline in the theatre sector specifically highlights the stat that ‘only’ 8% of theatres live-stream their performances. So what? That’s just one (albeit one overly focused on by the funders, see The Space & Nesta R&D fund) use of digital technology. And a pretty dull one at that. I think its disappointing or maybe even embarrassing to judge a live artform’s engagement with digital technology with so much focus on this metric.

The report quotes representatives from some of the funders pointing fingers at the sector for ‘stepping back’ from investing in digital technologies. This seems a bit rich to me. The focus of investment in specific areas by organisations is surely heavily influenced by the funders own priorities and the funding streams they create. And it is these that are perhaps exacerbating the problem.

Nesta/AHRC/ACE’s Digital R&D fund decided to make large grants to a few to act as ‘examples’ for the rest of the sector to follow. The responsibility to succeed and the fact that larger more ‘reliable’ organisations were selected meant that the levels of possible ‘innovation’ within these restrictions were questionable. The money flowed to the few rather than the many. And to buildings more than to independent producing theatre companies, making the future even more unevenly distributed. And don’t get me started on The Space (in fact you can hear me making my points to the panel on the video of the 2nd Q&A session at their recent information seminar – https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLrRq4FeMUe-fYjtA7we1rI9ms-3ymR1EP&v=Pe1sCXHEGj0 at 11:50 in).

Their own metrics paint a picture of their pet funds’ failures to seed digital innovation in the wider cultural sector.
And on the bright side? Well maybe there is one…

The potential positive outcome of this report could be that it makes the case for the funders to be able to make more money available for digital experimentation, ideally with a focus on the independent sector and to creative exploration within the artform itself rather than in the marketing of it. And to make more, smaller grants to allow a much larger number of organisations to get involved, try things out, make more things, make better things, to engage experimentally with digital technologies as new tools with which to create their work – essentially to innovate in this area.

‘The Rooms’ Sitting Room Session – When to say no to an idea

November 16, 2015 by

I was asked to speak about our REACT-funded project for 5 minutes as part of the Sitting Room Sessions at the Private View of REACT’s excellent ‘The Rooms’ festival in early November 2015.

Here is the text of the talk (minus the live asides of course, which made it a bit less dry!):

“I’m going to leave it actually.

Yes, its a great idea.
Yes, it seems there would be a market for it. The Funeral industry would be the most obvious place to start.
Yes, no-ones doing it yet, well they’ve started trying in a way, but their attempts are pretty poor quality, most people would agree with that.
Yes, I think there would be quite a lot of avenues to pursue in terms of start-up support and finance.

So, yes, I thought of it, I looked into the feasibility of it, I’ve got ideas about how it could work, what it could look like, who the partners and customers might be. I’ve even worked with people to explore exactly how we could produce it.

But I’m going to leave it there. I’m not going to take it forward.

These aren’t words I use a lot.
In fact, it took me a while to make the decision.
At first it definitely felt like a failure.
But now I know it was the best decision.
A positive exit from the project.
Better to say a considered no, than struggle on with something against your better judgement out of some kind of misplaced sense of duty, until it grinds to a bitter and messy halt. (a bit of melodrama there… did I mention I’m a theatre maker…)

In the Spring of 2014, with REACT Feasibility funding, I undertook research into the feasibility of building a software engine that automatically creates a video life story from an individual’s social media content. The project was called Protagonist.

Protagonist was an attempt to make sense of our vast stashes of personal data online in a human, emotional, narrative way. Using their own social media content, we wanted to create a short film memoir of an individual – with the output feeling meaningful and personalised. And we wanted to see if we could create this using an automated process.

Our ambition was that the Protagonist service would be a commercial, stand-alone, direct-to-consumer product.

I found that the construction of narrative from online data poses an extremely complex computing problem. Who knew?! Well I didn’t. As someone from an arts background its sometimes tricky to guess which seemingly impossible problems can be solved relatively simply by technology (or already have been) and which are actually basically impossible.

This particular area of algorithmically generated video is only just starting to be explored (with very limited success) by digital giants such as Google and Facebook.

So here’s why I’m saying no to this idea:

It would be very difficult to compete in this marketplace currently, if Google & Facebook with all their resources are struggling to make anything worth watching;
I’m a theatre maker, not a software engineer;
Life is short: I don’t want to spend at least the next 3 years setting up a software start-up, that won’t use my skills well;
I’ve got other ideas for other projects I want to make, so I’m going to use my skills and energy where they’ll be making the most impact, and get on with making those.

You can see what we’re up to at www.theotherwayworks.co.uk
I’m Katie Day, and I’m Artistic Director of The Other Way Works.
We’re a Birmingham-based theatre company making playful theatre that immerses our audiences in the story.”

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