"At Red Oak Theatre we want to explore the relationship between sound and design, how they can be pushed in combination to immerse audiences in unique theatrical experiences. Our practice uses elements of dance, live music, verbatim and sound design."
Red Oak Theatre's debut production is 'We Had A Black Dog'. It has been selected to be part of a theatre festival in Paris called the 'Dreams Before Dawn Festival', to be performed on the 11th, 12th and 13th of July. It is being hosted by Bred In The Bone Theatre and will consist of 15 other companies from the UK and Europe. This project was originally conceived at the University of Exeter and this is next step of it's professional development.
'We Had A Black Dog' investigates the emotional and psychological impact of being in a relationship of depression.
This project uses verbatim interviews, live vocal looping and physical theatre to explore depression in a relationship between two people. Set in the round with a vocalist at each end of the circle and two dancers in the middle, 'We Had A Black Dog' aims to invite audiences to experience the worlds of our material with us. Creating looped vocal harmony soundscapes, we aim to create multi-layered worlds of sound for the audience to experience, exploring depression thematically and musically.
Over the top of the soundscapes we use spoken verbatim text, collected from interviews with people who have suffered from depression. In the midst of the vocal soundscapes are two physical performers. Drawing on contemporary, ballet and martial arts based movement, the dancers demonstrate the narrative of the couple in a relationship of depression.
Dealing with mental health is very important for us as a company. We want to be able to explore this fully in an international setting and raise awareness simultaneously. To experience and work as part of a diverse collection of work from across Europe would be a unique opportunity for us. Red Oak Theatre are proud to be sharing our work and creating associations with like-minded artists.
The impact on Red Oak Theatre as a company will be hugely positive, nurturing a relationship with Bred In the Bone Theatre and providing a framework for any further collaborations with companies and venues. We are excited to work with a company who focus on "musicality, impulse, and emotion-action". We feel a common connection in how we develop our productions and are relishing the opportunity to hone these skills in Paris this summer.
We have drawn on many different inspirations when developing this production but Rachel Kelly's work in particular has given us all a personal and unique insight into the world of depression. 'Black Rainbow' inspired us to not only use words as a tool for healing, but combine them with music and movement to create a bold and immersive experience for an audience. We are proud to receive support from the Black Dog Institute, SANE and Exeter University, without which none of this would be possible.