This week we speak to Dramatist Emma Kelly on her latest play, ‘The Guide’. She describes it as a “comedy Science Fiction play about a road trip to the future where no one knows who’s in control.” Rehearsing in our Hayloft Studio this month, we got the exciting chance to interview her and get a glimpse behind the scenes.
How would you describe ‘The Guide?’
Imagine Red Dwarf meets Black Mirror for the stage. I am intrigued by protopia, the middle ground between utopia and dystopia, an imperfect but hopeful future. With what is happening today with the environment, I think it’s essential to explore the progress of UN Sustainable Development Goals in 100 years. I have imagined how my protagonist experiences this in virtual and real worlds.
What is your favourite thing about what you do?
I love creating new worlds and characters using my imagination and research. I’m hooked on the ‘eureka’ moment in a project when it all falls into place. As a writer and director, I like to balance my writing practice with collaborative workshops and productions.
What is ‘The Guide’ about?
The Guide offers a future vision where loved ones are reunited after death; humans are immortal. It explores what it means to exist in the world at a time where humankind has overcome so much but still has a long way to go. It follows environmental activist Jen Morris who runs away from reality and becomes code on the internet. After drifting in digital limbo for a century, she is awoken by Stella, an uptight AI, on a mission to sort her out.
How did you use the studio for your work, did it complement your project well?
We used it to experiment with the text and the projection technology, which we are using to create a metaverse. It is a versatile space that can be blacked out, so this is great for projection. The rugged minimal vibe of Copperdollar studios really speaks to my dystopian side. The high ceiling and exposed brick create an intriguing backdrop for photos, videos and the space can become many settings. It also has fantastic kitchen facilities and parking.
How did you create such an interesting environment in the studio?
We used 3 projectors, lights, a projection screen and worked with front and back projection. Creating futuristic worlds without many props is an integral part of the project. We’re committed to minimising our environmental impact and exploring cutting-edge technologies to make the world of the play. The Guide is set predominantly in virtual reality, and the metaverse is a vital part of the work. The studio helped us to explore what this could look like.
Where can we watch your show?
Looking for a rehearsal space?
Thank you so much Emma Kelly! Be sure to contact us to hire out our studio for your next project. On our website you can see our availability and rates card. We offer huge discounts to theatre and dance groups as our way of giving back to our specific performance community.