The Very Important Child

The Very Important Child is my second collaboration with dance theatre company The Mostly Everything People. I designed and lit this anarchic and entertaining show. Developed to fit a tight budget, the designs are playful yet practical – creating a strong visual world for the piece – and are easy to tour.

“…there’s no denying that Ben Pacey’s design is well-thought out, [and] Preece and Scudeletti playfully use their resources to good effect. Pacey’s lighting too is thoughtfully conceived. Visually, there’s so much to take in and enjoy.”
VIEWS FROM THE GODS

Photos © John Freddy Jones 2016.

Adventures of the Little Ghost

Adventures of the Little Ghost is a dance performance for young audiences. It’s performed by a core team of professional dancers, who dance alongside a company of community performers – including young people – local to each venue on the tour.

As set designer for the project, I created an immersive in-the-round environment, where the audience are really up-close and connected to the performance, and which gently helps to establish the key locations in the story.

Choreographed and produced by Sophie Nüzel, Adventures of the Little Ghost is currently touring.

Thrive

I designed the lighting for this play-for-young-people towards the end of 2105, but was recently back in Lincoln to see the show back up for its autumn 2016 tour.

A key part of the design brief was that the company carry everything; Thrive can be performed in any room which is big enough and has a blackout. Lucky for me half-decent LED lights exist… and I had an elegant and imaginative set design by Barney George to work with.

Produced by Zest Theatre, it’s a powerful but ultimately life-affirming show. Look out for more tour dates in spring 2017, when the show will tour the south east in association with house network.

The Furies

The Furies is an extraordinary performance/gig inspired by Clytemnestra’s Greek revenge myth, accompanied by live guitars and drums. I saw an early R&D of the show before I was involved, and knew immediately that I could make a design which would transform, elevate and amplify the audience experience.

And, luckily, I got the chance to make it.

“They’re assisted by Ben Pacey’s excellent lighting, which guides the action as well as capturing the three Furies in stunning and otherworldly illuminations.” – A Younger Theatre

I originally lit Kiln Ensemble‘s The Furies back in 2011, when the company were still Kindle Theatre. Since then, we’ve taken it to tunnels, corn exchanges, warehouses, festivals (inlcuding Mayfest, Pulse and GIFT), and played Summerhall twice: in 2014 and (with the full lighting design) in 2015 for the British Council Showcase.

Incredible performances and vocal technique, live music, dyanmic coloured light, haze machines and a late-night-and-up-for-it audience… It’s still one of my favourites.

“There is something so wildly unreserved about it that it sends you reeling into the night more than a little dazed.” – The Guardian

Photos © Bianca Harvey 2011, Alicja Rogalska 2012, Joanthan Blackford 2014.

This Last Tempest

This Last Tempest is the most recent of my regular collaborations with  Uninvited Guests .

In this performance, desribed as “part theatre, part gig” by the company, Uninvited Guests take up the stories of Ariel and Caliban, just as Shakespeare’s The Tempest leaves them: alone on the island. Left to themselves, and finally given the freedom to “do anything”, Ariel and Caliban begin to consider what the future might hold.

That “part gig” desription is crucial, letting in a world of opportunity to create lighting which can be subtle one minute, and outrageously bold the next.

“A combination of intense imagery & high energy characterisation. Loved it. Boom!” – AUDIENCE MEMBER

The show is produced by Fuel, and continues  to tour in 2016.

Photo © Ben Pacey 2014

Here Massive Troposphere

Currently in development, Here Massive Troposphere is inspired by the natural world, digital culture, and spending too much time alone.

As an indroduction to the piece, I made a short interactive online trailer using Twine. You can play with it, here: bit.ly/troposphere

In collaboration with Lucy Ellinson, Lewis Gibson, Jane Packman, Jess Parfitt,  andRich Warburton, I presented work-in-progress performances at Theatre in the Mill, Bradford, and mac, Birmingham in 2014; and at Camden Peoples Theatre in 2015.

The image is collaged from Creative Commons licensed images.

Sleepdogs R&D

Collaborating with Sleepdogs, I spent a stimulating week in Bristol, helping to develop ideas for the visual aesthetic of their new project, Dark Land Light House.

It’s a sci-fi/horror piece: a fairly rare (but really exciting!) genre in contemporary theatre, and totally appropriate to be exploring within the generic darkness of the black-box studio.

The kind of space where – just beyond the light – there really might be anything…

Photo © Paul Blakemore, 2014.

A Journey Around My Skull

I collaborated with Kiln Ensemble to design the set and lighting for this solo performance by Olivia Winteringham, one of Kiln’s co-artistic directors.

Created on a tiny budget, the design locates the performance in an ambiguous, slightly unheimlich room: part consultant’s office, part operating theatre, part voyeuristic medical dream-space.

For a key moment in the show – live brain surgery(!) – I made a bespoke “head” for Olivia to “operate” on. Adapted from a retail display moulding, I designed and installed internal LEDs and biaural microphones.

Photos © Johnathan Blackwood, 2014.

Landscape II

Melanie Wilson‘s Landscape II is a bold hybrid of performance, film and sound art. The piece premiered at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013, prior to UK touring.

I co-designed the set with Melanie, also working in close collaboration with video artist Will Duke and Fuel’s production manager Stuart Heyes.

“The set, too, plays its part… giving proceedings an intimate feel…” – SABOTAGE REVIEWS

I also created a dynamic lighting design which was tightly integrated with the production as a whole – including the video design – whilst keeping the number of light elegantly manageable.

Production Photos © Al Mass 2013 / Set Photos © Ben Pacey 2013

 

Artist Mission: Preston

preston

In July I spent a day in my hometown, Preston.

I’d been invited to do so by Fuel, as part of their New Theatre In Your Neighbourhood project.

I’m not going to write much about the day here (follow the link below for the full account). Just to say that it felt great to revisit the town where I grew up, and to attempt to look at it with fresh eyes. It was inspiring to be able to dedicate a few hours to imagining what I might make there, without worrying about scale or practicality!

Here’s my account of the day, on Fuel’s NTIYN blog: http://newtheatreiyn.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/artist-mission-ben-pacey-in-preston/

Midsummer Night’s Dreaming

Midsummer Night’s Dreaming (aka #dream40) was an experiment in digital storytelling by the RSC and Google Creative Labs. Playing out in real time over midsummer weekend (21-23 June 2013) a cast of  actors performed the play live, accompanied online by a host of new characters.

As part of the core creative team, I wrote and made original text and visual content for this unique online performance.

Continue reading Midsummer Night’s Dreaming

I design, write and make things. Find out more about them here.