Tweets for the Birds



Here’s a glimpse of a book which I designed and made as a gift to celebrate the wedding of some brilliant friends.

I invited friends and family of the couple to share tweet-sized messages and photos on twitter, or by email, in the run-up to – and during – the wedding. Afterwards, I collated all the (digital) contributions into a (hand made) book. New media presented as old.

Making the book was very satisfying, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It was printed using an inkjet printer onto recycled papers, and the book was trimmed and bound by hand using a simple Japanese book-binding technique.

Photo © Ben Pacey 2012

Autobiographer Award Nomination



My lighting design for Melanie Wilson‘s Autobiographer has been nominated in the ‘Best Lighting Design’ category of the Offies (the Off West End Theatre Awards) 2012… alongside a nomination for Melanie herself for ‘Best Sound Design’.

It’ll be quite a while before we hear any more about this, but it’s great news, and really pleasing to see this brave and beautiful project getting some recognition.

Photo © Gemma Riggs 2012




There’s some great photos of Cupid, an interactive performance installation by Subject to_change, on the website of photographer Jaskirt Dhaliwal. She took these images during one of the first performances, at Fierce Festival 2012.

My lighting design supports the performance through subtle and sometimes less subtle means. The design includes an bespoke – and epic! – animated starscape, which Abigail and I custom-made using hundreds coloured LEDs.

Photo © Jaskirt Dhaliwal 2012

A Thousand Shards of Glass



A Thousand Shards of Glass is a performance narrative which I wrote for Jane Packman Company in 2012.

“The rhythmn of the text alternates between rhapsodic chanting and the feeling of bullets breaking a shop window…” – TOTAL THEATRE




I’d been thinking about agency: our ability to take action to change the the world, and the frustrations of feeling like taking such action is impossible, or pointless.



Melanie Wilson‘s Autobiographer is an extraordinary performance work. Her writing handles complex, affecting material with great care and honesty; her stong vision for the work invites beautiful design responses.

I designed lighting for the production, my second collaboration with Melanie following Iris Brunette. Brilliantly, the project offered both creative scope and the resources to create an ambitious and dynamic design.

During an earlier R&D phase – inspired by a series of scientific images of a mouse brain – I had conceived of a canopy of tungsten lightbulbs, which would visually represent the brain cells of Flora; would help contain and hold our audiences within the space; and which I could use to both light and animate the performance: during the performance, as Flora’s dementia develops, her experiences move between lucid recollection into jagged mental confusion.

“…the shifting canopy of bulbs fizzes and explodes with light…” – TIME OUT

To realise the design, I collaborated closely with set designer Peter Arnold, and Fuel’s amazing production management team.

Autobiographer opened at the Dublin Fringe Festival in September 2011, and the production was nominated for the Best Production Award.

We created the kind of experience which is very hard to document: photography and film cannot match the live experience. But I hope this trailer gives at least an impression…

Photo © Monika Chmielarz 2011

Not What I Had In Mind


Last April I wrote Not What I Had In Mind, a short story which was read aloud at a White Rabbit event at Toynbee Hall in London.

People seemed to like it.

And as I wanted to contribute something to Birmingham Zine Fest, I thought I’d make a little chapbook version of my story… and here they are, hot off the photocopier.

They’re A6, and printed black and white onto some really pleasing recycled paper. You can get one of these for yourself via BigCartel, or you could just ask me for one, if you know me in real life!

Treasured – A Secret Journey


Created by the company, with direction and facilitation by Jane Packman, Treasured – A Secret Journey is a unique performance experience for one person at a time.

The piece has the feeling of a gift. It places each audience member at the centre of the performance: they become the protagonist in a narrative which they chose. It’s a rich, powerful experience, yet also extremely gentle… almost passive. The company worked hard to make sure that people felt comfortable and enjoyed themselves. Audiences are not under pressure to “perform” or “interact”.

There are three short narratives – each inspired by one of three beautiful pieces of sculptural jewellery which were commissioned for the project from three West Midlands-based makers – which audiences can chose.

On this project I wrote one of the three stories (inspired the “ivy” – a dark grasping PVC piece made by Louise Bryan), collaborated/devised, designed lighting, and production managed.

Photo by Chris Keenan, 2010.

A Small Town Anywhere



A Small Town Anywhere originated from a challenge to Coney to make a piece of theatre from an existing narrative, and present it with no performers. We worked from Henri-Georges Clouzot’s film Le Corbeau, and cast our audience as the citizens of a small French-ish town, faced with external political turmoil and a troublesome and poisonous ‘Raven’ within.

I worked as a co-author on this project, along with Tassos Stevens, Melanie Wilson, Gary Campbell, Annette Mees, Tracky Crombie and Tom Bowtell. We were joined along the way by many other brilliant collaborators who were involved for one or other section of the project.

The piece was developed over a couple of years, including development time at the National Theatre Studio and BAC, and we showed the “full theatrical release” version at BAC in the autumn of 2009.

A Small Town Anywhere was particularly exciting for me, as it was one of the first visible (or at least relatively high profile) projects in which I was actively shifting my practice from ‘collaborative lighting designer’ to collaborative artist/maker/writer.

Here’s a lovely little film documenting the BAC performances, filmed by Greg McLaren:

You Are The Moon



I collaborated with Jon Spooner to make this short performance/film for Unlimited Theatre‘s MIXTAPE project. We worked together for a few days in Birmingham, and later showed (and filmed) the performance at BAC.

The piece is our response to You Are The Moon by The Hush Sound. Jon and I collaborated on the initial devising, writing and creation of the piece. I then designed and lit the piece, and Jon performed.

It was filmed by Chris Cottam, and edited by Gareth McEwan. Here it is, on vimeo: