Family Portrait

LIGHTING DESIGN

A complex and beguiling contemporary dance piece by Leila McMillan, in which a ‘constellation of portraits’ form and unform, as family connections are rediscovered, celebrated and tested.

Elements of the lighting design are improvised, allowing me to respond live to the improvised sections of movement. Following the rhythms, ebbs, and flows of the seven dancers and live musucian is a beautiful and often almost meditative…

Lidia Crisafulli took these lovely photos during the dress rehearsal for our 2015 performances at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Bayliss studio.

In 2016, Family Portrait is part of Dance4’s NEAT Festival at Nottingham Contemporary.

Photo © Lidia Crisafulli 2015.

The Furies

LIGHTING DESIGN

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

LIGHTING DESIGN

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

DIGITAL, PERFORMANCE, WRITING

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

DESIGN, LIGHTING DESIGN, PERFORMANCE

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

DESIGN, LIGHTING DESIGN, PERFORMANCE

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.

Artist Mission: Preston

ART, ARTICLES & BLOGS, WRITING

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

ART, DIGITAL, WRITING

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.

The Wake – A book for the year

BOOKS, DESIGN

As the final part of The Wake, I conceived and designed a small book on behalf of Jane Packman Company. The book was created as a gift for our audiences, and whilst I’m not going to tell you about the contents of the book – that’s between us and those aforementioned audiences – suffice to say that it’s a unique and lovely thing that was a pleasure to make.

If you’re interested, it’s a 56pp custom format book, digitally printed onto FSC stock, perfect bound and hand finished. The tree image on the cover is an illustration by Barney George.

Photo © Ben Pacey 2013

A Thousand Shards of Glass – Trailer

FILM, WRITING

To support the live performances of A Thousand Shards of Glass, we shot a short trailer, over the course of one intense day in July 2012.

“Lucy? Are you there? Are you ready? We need to get you out of there…”

The trailer was used extensively on the internet, and was also shown in the cinema at mac Birmingham, prior to our performances there. It was pretty amazing to see the trailer on the big screen, and brilliant that the quality totally stood-up in that context.

I scripted the trailer, based on excerpts from my original performance text. Jane Packman and I co-directed. Camera is by Chris Keenan and it’s performed by Lucy Ellinson.

Here it is on vimeo: