Sharon Clark Fellowship – Part 5

This is part 5 of Sharon Clark’s Immersion Fellowship sharing. To see her other posts, visit Sharon’s profile

In 2018 I visited the Banff Centre for Creativity and the Arts in Canada to be a member of their annual Playwright’s Lab, as part of the Bruntwood Prize I had been awarded the previous year. Whilst there I met the Howard Jang, the Vice President of the centre and one evening in the bar we talked about my research around immersion, theatre and digital technology which was practiced through the company I founded Raucous. We talked about the challenges of making theatre work this way – the risks of not being able to satisfy the budget you need to make the work you want, of what happens when the technology fails, when the space you want to make work in suddenly gets whisked from under your nose and how collaboration can be a minefield of individual needs and wants that have to be negotiated. However, it’s not always about the challenges, we also spoke at length about why we are driven to tell stories in this way, how imagination can be given a massive leg up through technology by allowing the audience to see the same pictures you see in your head, about how you can tell bigger stories and how you can have a more immediate relationship with your audience. I must admit to be taken a little aback when Howard invited me back to Banff to give a talk at the Arts, Culture and Digital Transformation taking place this November. The 45 minute talk I will be giving is entitled, Understanding It, Affording It, Building It and Getting It To Work – Best Practice, Worst Nightmare.

This is a pretty freeing title to work under – it’s always great to be asked to talk on things you have made when you got it right (or nearly right) but the summit has charged me with discussing what went wrong, what could have gone better, how we may have thought of things differently, what were the constraints that bound us. This is an incredibly rare instance of really looking at what you do, why you do it and how you do it and then reflecting on how you might have/should have cut out for yourself and your audience a different pathway. A chance to be brutally honest…