Black Tonic (2015 & 2008)

an evocative thriller” The Guardian

A theatre adventure in the bedrooms and corridors of a hotel for 4 people at a time, Black Tonic explores the chaos caused by a disrupted body clock.

Devised by the Company. Text by Clare Duffy. Directed by Katie Day.

The 2015 version of Black Tonic will feature a number of improvements on the original: a re-worked script that has been polished up by the show’s writer Clare Duffy; improved production values; a completely re-designed scene at the heart of the show with a very special mysterious card game for audiences to play (with a bespoke technological interface built in collaboration with David Haylock, Creative Technologist at Watershed in Bristol and game consultancy from Holly Gramazio).

Black Tonic offers a glimpse into the lives of the invisible workforce whose erratic shift patterns service our round-the-clock society. The negative effects on health of a 24hour lifestyle – for those enjoying it, as well as those working to enable it – is only just starting to be reported in mainstream media. We think this is a little-discussed, but vitally important issue facing our society now, and hope that audiences of Black Tonic will be inspired to explore it further based on experiencing the show.

2015 Tour funded by Arts Council England, The Sir Barry Jackson Trust, and our Kickstarter supporters. Supported by Watershed, Theatre in the Mill Bradford, and Birmingham REP. Official 2015 hotel partners: Radisson Blu Birmingham & The Bradford Hotel. Originally commissioned by Camden People’s Theatre. Funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council and The Sir Barry Jackson Trust. Supported by Contact Theatre, CPT and mac.

  • Black Tonic is a theatre thriller in a hotel. Mysterious & visceral. Interactive theatre meets mini-break as audiences play detective in the bedrooms & corridors of a real hotel.

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.

Black Tonic featured as a ‘Top Ticket’ in this week’s The Guardian Stage picks

September 14, 2015 by

We are thrilled that Black Tonic has been featured in this week’s The Guardian Stage “Top Tickets”

“The Other Way Works are touring the very intriguing Black Tonic to hotels around the country starting in at the Radisson Blu hotel in Birmingham.”

We open the show this Wednesday in Birmingham at the Radisson Blu Hotel, in association with Birmingham REP, before heading off to The Grand Hotel Bristol in partnership with Watershed, and ending our tour at The Bradford Hotel in partnership with Theatre in the Mill.

Black Tonic 2015 ‘Making Of’ Discussion Events in Birmingham & Bristol

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We are producing two ‘Making Of’ events to accompany the 2015 tour of Black Tonic.

These informal Q&A events provide an opportunity to find out more about the making of Black Tonic.

 

The making of Black Tonic: The science behind the show (Birmingham)

Discussion event: Friday 18th September 4-5pm
Meeting point: Birmingham REP foyer, by the Box Office
Free entry (but pre-booking is essential): through Eventbrite

Join Katie Day, the Artistic Director of The Other Way Works, and Elise Facer-Childs, Doctoral Researcher working at the University of Birmingham on circadian rhythms and human performance, in a discussion of the scientific concepts behind the show, and discover why the subject matter is even more relevant as we re-tour the show in 2015.

 

The making of Black Tonic: Where technology meets a theatre adventure in a hotel (Bristol)

Lunchtime Talk: Friday 2nd October 1-2pm
Venue: Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed, Bristol
Free entry, more details here

In this Lunchtime Talk, Artistic Director of The Other Way Works and Pervasive Media Studio resident Katie Day will take us behind the polished hotel exterior and spill the beans on what its like to create and produce an interactive theatre production in an operational hotel.
Katie has been collaborating with Watershed’s Creative Technologist David Haylock to build a magical card table interface for the 2015 tour, and we’ll discuss the research, design and implementation of this and other technologies employed in the production.

Black Tonic Bristol tickets on sale at Watershed

September 12, 2015 by

Booking is open for Black Tonic 2015 in Bristol

In Bristol Black Tonic is presented in partnership with Watershed, and performed at The Grand Hotel, our Official Bristol Hotel Partner.

Tue 29th September – Sat 3rd October
6.30pm | 7.45pm | 9pm
Tickets: £45 (one ticket admits two people), Concessions available

NB: Tickets for Black Tonic are very limited, with only 2 tickets per time slot.

Book now via Watershed
Online or call the Box Office on 0117 927 5100

Black Tonic Bradford tickets on sale at Theatre in the Mill

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Booking is open for Black Tonic 2015 in Bradford

In Bradford Black Tonic is presented in partnership with Theatre in the Mill, and performed at The Bradford Hotel, our Official Bradford Hotel Partner.

Wed 7th – Sun 11th October
6.30pm | 7.45pm | 9pm
Tickets: £20 (one ticket admits two people), Concessions available

NB: Tickets for Black Tonic are very limited, with only 2 tickets per time slot.

Book now via Theatre in the Mill
Online or call the Box Office on 01274 233200

Creating a Kickstarter Campaign – by Seb Harding

September 1, 2015 by

It’s been just over a month since we made our crowdfunding target for the 2015 tour of Black Tonic and since then we’ve had a bit of time to reflect on the successes of the campaign and consider what we’d change if we could do it all again. Overall the process has been complex, but ultimately, very rewarding.

We thought we’d share our experience by creating a quick four step run down of the factors we found most important in creating our campaign.

Doing the Groundwork

Many of the companies and individuals we spoke to whilst researching the campaign warned of the perils of beginning a hastily planned fundraiser.

We began seriously planning our campaign in November therefore giving ourselves around four months in which to develop a series of rewards, create a quirky campaign video, plan a marketing campaign (with video and written content) and organise a low key launch event.

Regardless to say we were of course working on all of this right up until we launched the campaign. It’s definitely possible to produce a campaign in a much shorter amount of time, and our obsessive attention to detail probably doesn’t help, but we can’t stress enough how many hours go into creating a slick successful fundraiser.

Make sure you have budgeted for everything!

We’re pretty sure someone is reading this and thinking “Surely a Crowdfunder is about raising money, not losing it” but the reality can be quite a very different picture.

To begin with, lets consider the rewards. Admittedly you won’t have to physically create anything before you make your target but once you do you’re effectively tied down to deliver all you’ve promised. The reality of how much you may have to spend (don’t forget person hours) could take a large chunk from the amount you raise if you have failed to factor in all the costs.

As our production of Black Tonic has relatively small numbers of audience members we couldn’t just give tickets away in the lowest, and most popular, tiers. This meant we had to devise attractive rewards that linked to the show but could also stand alone as attractive offers to any indecisive backers.

If, on the other hand, most of your rewards are a direct result of the project you’re fundraising then you may think it’s a relatively simple affair. Though don’t forget if, for instance, you give away 50% of tickets to your show but are also relying on high ticket revenue you could end up losing money overall.

Don’t underestimate how much content you will create for Social Media 

Before you begin any plans for marketing your campaign it’s worth bearing in mind that your audience will possibly have to come into contact with your project at least three times before they actually part with their money. The sheer amount of Social Media content that successful campaigns have to create is pretty much uncontested but the route you take to present your message can be incredibly inventive. For our campaign we created content such as Video endorsements, behind the scenes videos plus an in depth blog on the research process behind the production we were trying to fund.

See it as a project in itself and enjoy it!

The process of creating a crowdfunding campaign is very similar to that of creating any small public facing project. Therefore it is important to see the campaign as an extension of your creative output and not separate to it. If you can think creatively about the project video, campaign visuals and backer rewards your audiences are far more likely to get on board. Try to invest as much personal interest in the campaign and the whole process will hopefully become both more attainable and enjoyable.

There’s so much we could write about concerning our crowdfunding experience but we’ll stop before we bore you! Hopefully these tips might come in use if you’re thinking about creating your own fundraiser, and if so, we’d love to hear from you. 

If you haven’t done so already why not follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page.

Black Tonic 2015 Birmingham Tickets on sale at Birmingham REP

August 6, 2015 by

Booking is open for Black Tonic 2015 in Birmingham.

In Birmingham Black Tonic is presented in partnership with Birmingham REP, and performed at Radisson Blu Hotel, our Official Birmingham Hotel Partner.

Wed 16 – Sun 20 Sep
6.30pm | 7.45pm | 9pm
Tickets: £45 (one ticket admits two people)

NB: Tickets for Black Tonic are very limited, with only 2 tickets per time slot.

Book now via Birmingham REP
Online or call the Box Office on 0121 236 4455

Radisson Blu is Black Tonic’s Official Birmingham Hotel Partner

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We are delighted to announce that the stylish Radisson Blu Birmingham will be our Official Hotel Partner and performance venue for Black Tonic’s Birmingham performances.

Check them out on Twitter & Facebook

techblog1

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham soars above the cityscape in an impressive 39-storey structure that’s located near the business district, convention centre and shopping complexes. Designed by Matteo Thun, the 211 superb rooms and suites showcase exceptional accents and furnishings. Delicious dining options include Filini, an award-winning Italian restaurant, and guests can order their drink of choice at one of two on-site bars.

Our wonderful Kickstarter Supporters

August 4, 2015 by

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who backed our Black Tonic 2015 Kickstarter Campaign.
Thanks for helping to make Black Tonic 2015 a reality.

So, in alphabetical order by first name, our thanks to ….

Alexander Kelly
Aly Fielding
Amy Dawson
Ana Stefancic
anonymous
Backer Name
Bianca Winter
Carol Attfield
Catherine Allen
Catherine Pitt
Chris Unitt
Claire Porteous
Clare Reddington
David and Janet Walden
Debra Skene
Delia Garratt
Derek Nisbet
Fiona Handscomb
Flo Swann
Florence Raynaud
Gavin Inglis
Helga Henry of Creative Shift
Ian and Helen Burn
Jacky Tivers
Jane Packman
Janet Vaughan
Jason J Crouch
Jenny M
Jess Pearson
Jill Dowse
Jo Gleave
Joel Love
John McGrath
John Sear
Johnathan Stephen
Jonathan Williams
Jorge Lizalde
Josephine Arendt
Julia Boyle
Julian Horne
Karen Miller
Katherine Maxwell-Rose
Katie Keeler
Kaye Winwood
KILN
Lachlan Smith
Lara Ratnaraja
Laura Gimson
Laura Grady
Lisa Meyer
Liz Porteous
Lou Platt
Ludic Rooms
Luke Neve
Mark & Kim
Mark Ralph Tattum
Matt Ball
Matt Mark Hill
Matt Patterson
Michael Day & Jean Scott
Michelle M Rafferty
Mick Diver
Mikal Saltveit
Nardia Lloyd-Ashton
Paul Burns
Paul Gilligan
Paul Maxwell-Rose
Peta Murphy
Pippa Frith
Rachael Griffin
Renata
Ric
Rich Hurley & Billy Reading
Ruth Paterson
Sarah Ellis
Sarah-Jane Watkinson
Stephen Wilson
Steve Harding
Steve Johnstone
Steve Lawson
Tamara von Werthern
Tamsin Mosse
The Shells 2015
Tom Levitt
Tomas Wright
Tony Kennick
William Porteous

Black Tonic 2015 Credits

July 23, 2015 by

Directed by Katie Day
Text by Clare Duffy
Video by Chris Keenan
Sound by Mark Day
Scenography by Xristina Penna
Card Game Designer Holly Gramazio
Stage management by Xanthe Parker
Creative Technologist David Haylock, Watershed
Producer Thomas Wildish
Identity Design by Sebastian Harding
Scientific Collaborator Professor Debra Skene

Performed by Ali Belbin, Angela Clerkin, Rochi Rampal, Graeme Rose, and Magdalena Tuka

2015 Tour funded by Arts Council England, The Sir Barry Jackson Trust, and our Kickstarter supporters. Supported by Watershed, Theatre in the Mill Bradford, and Birmingham REP. Official 2015 hotel partners: Radisson Blu Birmingham & The Bradford Hotel.

Originally commissioned by Camden People’s Theatre, and funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award, Arts Council England, Birmingham City Council and the Sir Barry Jackson Trust, with support from Contact Theatre, CPT and mac.

Our thanks to the creative team and casts who played key roles in developing the original production in 2008.