Stories from an Invisible Town
Stories from an Invisible Town re-defines the theatre experience for audiences, encouraging them to create their own narratives as they explore over 170 stories, images and poems made specifically for an online context by Hugh Hughes, an emerging Welsh artist whose live shows have captivated 1000s.
January 2011 - December 2012
Hoipolloi’s recent success has been focused around the development of a trilogy of award winning works by Welsh emerging artist Hugh Hughes. The company now wants to see whether it can extend the voice of Hugh Hughes into different media and involve audiences more directly in the process of making theatre. By successfully linking its live and digital work the project will provide opportunities for creative dialogue between artists and audiences, making theatre more accessible.
Centred on Llangefni, a real town which has become fictionalised and given imaginative life through Hugh Hughes’ shows, Stories from an Invisible Town will enable Hugh to share childhood memories using over 170 short video clips, photographs, maps, drawings, music and words made especially for an online context. Audiences will be encouraged to share their memories and create their own narratives, with stories tied to locations or linked through themes, characters and events.
Create a digital world around the character of Hugh Hughes
Activities» Develop a dedicated website with user friendly navigation.
Success will be a sophisticated yet cost effective website which encourages audiences to explore content and share their own ideas.
Develop new creative content from over 170 stories and images
Activities» Write, rehearse, film and upload material based on Hugh Hughes’ childhood memories.
Success will be a rich bank of material exploring childhood memories - what is real, what is imagined - created and distributed online.
Engage audiences in making theatre for an online context
Activities» Promote the website widely using different social media networking tools,
» Encourage audiencse to respond to material generated by Hopolloi and to add their own content.
» Programme live performances which draw on online material.
Success will be increased interactivity with audience-generated content impacting online and in live performances, and deepened audience loyalty.
Evaluate the project
Activities» Commission an external evaluator with experience of innovative digital arts practice to be involved in evaluating the impact of the project.
» Involve the audience in evaluation, enabling evidence to be collected of their journey.
Success will be increased annual reach from 43,000 to over 100,000 people, with positive audience feedback and critical acclaim.
The project will change people’s perception of how theatre is made and how they can be involved. It will contribute to art form development by showing how live and digital work can be connected in ways that are new, fresh and surprising. Using available software, Hoipolloi will be able to monitor how many people are engaging with online activity. Qualitative feedback will be sought from all participating in the project. Peer and press response will measure wider sector impact.
Key risks include:
> Technology not working - mitigated by time invested in design process and a high level of understanding and knowledge of digital development maintained in-house
> Lower audience engagement - mitigated by development of a digital strategy and marketing strategy which will help underpin audience development
Hoipolloi uses a range of social media networking tools to communicate to audiences and stakeholders. Donors will be offered the opportunity to opt in and will also receiving regular email reports detailing progress, new content, live events and any changes which have been made to project plans.
Budget - Project Cost: £141,000Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £36,000 Artistic expenditure Creating website content from 170 stories - filming, editing, photography design, music £40,250 Live performances Presenting complementary live material - director, actors, production and touring costs £25,000 Website Developing architecture, design and navigation system £9,000 Research, access, evaluation Attending events, subtitles and audio description, external evaluator £9,000 Marketing Online advertising, supporting design and print £21,750 Overheads Server hosting, administration, project co-ordination, contingency @ 5%
Current Funding / Pledges
Source Amount Arts Council England Grants for the Arts £100,000 Guaranteed Commissions - Barbican and National Theatre Wales £12,000 Guaranteed Trusts and foundations £8,000 Conditional Digital income £1,000 Conditional
Stories from an Invisible Town will be an online project with potential global reach. It is centred on the island on Anglesey and will draw on the real experiences and memories of both Hugh Hughes (performed by Hoipolloi Artistic Director Shon Dale-Jones) and those of wider audiences.
Audiences will benefit from open access to the creative process; by being empowered to share their thoughts and ideas, they will have a richer engagement with the work and develop new forms of expression. Artists will benefit from skills development linked to making theatre for a digital context, and from stronger links and communication with their audience. Outcomes will be widely disseminated across sectors to support art form development and peer learning.
Hoipolloi has achieved success in creating a character, Hugh Hughes, with whom audiences immediately engage, providing a strong foundation for growth. The company is recognised as a digital arts leader - evidence includes an AmbITion award from Arts Council England to develop IT infrastructure and capacity, regular requests to speak at conference and a commission to create a series of digital diaries which will enable learning in digital development to be shared with peers.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Hoipolloi’s Artistic Director, Shon co-founded the company and created the Hugh Hughes character. He will drive the creative vision of the project.
Hoipolloi’s Producer and a recognised digital arts leader, Simon will lead on digital development and audience engagement.