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£136
pledged of £7,000pledged of £7,000 goal
9
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, August 30 2019 8:01 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 30, 2019

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

A full-cast audio drama production of William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' set during The British Civil War in Wales.

William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

A full-cast audio drama production of William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' set during The British Civil War in Wales.

£136
pledged of £7,000pledged of £7,000 goal
9
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, August 30 2019 8:01 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated August 30, 2019

About


The Project

This adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' began to take shape in March 2019, initially as an idea to explore our capability for recording and podcasting both classic works of drama and original scripts for radio. Two initial workshops were set up to explore the performance options with the limited equipment and resources available to us. Our equipment consisted of an audio recorder, cardioid microphone and a portable audio booth. By having an open invitation to local actors in Cardiff, we found a selection of experienced, professional performers who felt that this was an opportunity that they were not often offered. What we discovered was an untapped passion for both radio drama and for performing Shakespeare through this medium. 

For a long time, we have felt that radio is an underutilised medium when it comes to drama, and has been historically limited to productions for the BBC and a few independent broadcasters. This means that many experienced voice actors only get the opportunity to record voice over or voice acting roles for TV and radio commercials, and crave the opportunity to explore the breadth of performance possibilities in this form. Armed with this knowledge, we expanded our ambitions in producing the radio drama beyond simply experimenting with the medium, towards creating more professional opportunities to work in this platform.

With a limited budget, we have managed to hold a total of three workshops and a recording session at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, recording many extracts and scenes from the play. Part-workshop, part-experiment in audio production, we worked with a group of keen actors to develop our best methods to realise the production. The intimacy of the audio medium means that we can dedicate greater time to the inner voice of both performer and character, delving into a psychological exploration of each character's perspective and motivations to give them complex personalities built on top of the richness of the text. In terms of audio production, the workshops also allowed us to work with sound engineers to experiment with the capabilities of audio recording, specifically, how different recording environments might convey different atmospheres. There is a delicate balance between creating the best possible environment for performance whilst retaining high quality audio production, and these sessions gave us an opportunity to push the limits of both. 

The Adaptation

In many of Shakespeare's works, there are topics and themes that are still relevant in the modern world, but as we looked into Twelfth Night, there was something about it that particularly resonated with the current socio-political climate. Twelfth Night is the story of Viola, forced to hide her true identity and gender in a dangerous land, caught in the love triangle of a powerful Duke and a wealthy lady in amongst the machinations of court life. In light of the LGBTQ+ movement and in the wake of #MeToo , there is a reading of this play that opens the conversation of same-sex love, gender identity and women's struggle under a patriarchal society. With careful alterations, keeping the sanctity of the original text intact, we began to feel that we could explore this play with a 2019 stance, and how that might change how we perceive our cast of characters.

The other factor we wanted to incorporate was a geographical context. Having lived in Wales for nearly a decade, I feel that when we can we should make efforts to relate our work to the culture that is local to us and reflects the community around us. Additionally, as we ran the workshops, it became quickly apparent that most of the contributing actors had distinctive Welsh accents, and instead of either ignoring that fact or insisting on a RP dialect, we sought to incorporate the authenticity of their natural voices.

We originally considered setting it in the modern day to fully explore the socially relevant themes. However, there was an immediate obstacle that we struggled with: the backdrop of a war. As it's the primary motivation for Viola to dress as a man we couldn't contextualise the events of the play in a contemporary setting with authentic motivations for our characters. However, we decided that though our viewpoint needed to be contemporary, that did not mean the setting had to be, as long as the themes remained clear. Therefore, we struck upon setting the piece during the British Civil War, which would both ground the setting in a particularly difficult chapter in British social division and conflict, and relate the events to those that happened in Welsh history.

The Goal

Although we have manged to bring together a small group of keen and willing actors, and uusd our production resources to create some quality audio, there are still a number of limitations to making a full production without a budget. The work done so far has been a test of our audio capabilities combined with personal finances. We would now want to transition this to a professional level of production. If we were to achieve our funding goal this would expand our production in a number of ways:

· Hiring a professional sound engineer - With limited funds, we have manged to record both with voluntary and paid involvement from professional engineers. To ensure a high-quality production we would require the services of an experienced sound engineer in audio production (with a particularly knowledge of audio drama) who could be contracted for the entirety of the production run. This would also ensure that were we to expand our recording beyond studio spaces, our engineer would facilitate the best possible quality of audio in a variety of locations

· Cast - The hard work produced by the actors who have given their time to developing this piece so far has been beyond professional. However, these actors have had to work on a voluntary basis to date, and consequently we have had to schedule around work commitments. With a contract, we would be able pay the actors a working wage and book them for the required period of recording. 

· Facilities - We would be able to scout and reserve both appropriate recording studios and potentially on-location sites to create the ideal immersive audio environment.

· Post-production - With current content, we have worked using our experience in post-production to edit the dialogue and track lay with soundscapes and SFX. However, if enough funds were to be raised, we would look to work with a professional post-production house to fully produce the final product to best possible quality.

· Broadcasting - We have already met with and made an agreements with an interested broadcaster, and additionally would be looking to distribute on an online platform. 

Our Vision

As mentioned, this process was envisioned as a starting point to launch a platform to create both original works and adaptations of radio fiction. If fully produced and released, this project would be the prototype to demonstrate our desire and capability to produce quality audio drama. Our goal would be to enable actors, writers and production teams to engage with the audio medium, and give those the opportunity to explore radio drama who had not previously considered it. 

With your help, this would be the first step to building another branch of the legacy of audio drama, and continuing its future in the media landscape. 

About the Director (Jordan Woodley)

Jordan has spent the last seven years training and working in the performing arts, primarily working as an actor. Simultaneously, he has a great passion for radio, and worked in student, community and local radio. In 2016, he began a Master's Degree at Bournemouth University studying Radio Production, his goal being to develop production skills that would enable him to direct and produce radio drama. As part of this, he produced a full-cast radio drama inspired by the memoir of a local Bournemouth author, Jo Huey to explore and represent the abuses that children suffer in alcoholic households. Since graduating, he has continued to work in radio drama, previously working with director Jeremy Mortimer on 'Love Is Not New in This Country' produced by Reduced Listening and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in February 2018. 

Risks and challenges

This would be our first independently produced radio drama production, without the backing of a university or lead by an experienced producer of radio drama content. Therefore, we will have to anticipate the pitfalls that occur with running a production to ensure a smooth process. Problems we already faced have included:
• Scheduling - Acquiring an adequate recording location, sound engineer and full cast has been a balancing act, especially on a low budget. With funding, this should limit this challenge, but there is the persistent risk that schedules can fall out of line. However, on our part, we would ensure we have a clear production schedule in writing, contract those involved to ensure commitment and maintain clear channels of communication.
• Production paperwork - One of the first challenges we will face is to ensure that we have covered every step of the production process with documentation. This includes ensuring compliance, Health & Safety, insurance etc. are all in proper order. We've had some experience working with production paperwork, but it will be vital to keep these in order.
• Location recording - We have already found challenges in finding appropriate locations to ensure recording is not compromised whilst exploring performance environments. Though we have done our best to minimise this whilst experimenting, this would have to be treated differently in production. One of the major steps of pre-production would be location scouting, preferably with an experienced engineer to discuss and arrange for a variety of recording locations. Were we to exceed our funding goal, the remaining finances would be used towards this end. Though we would look to do a significant portion of our recording in a studio, we would like to explore the opportunities of recording in alternative locations.
• Post-production - Although we would ideally look to externalise the post-production, it is a challenge to incorporate that into the current production budget. In the scenario that this is not available to us, we can conduct the post-production work independently. However, as we would want to ensure the best possible quality, it becomes an issue of time as developing this may be a lengthy process. Therefore, the challenge in this factor becomes one of cost against time, which is hard to get a clear picture of at this stage.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Listed in the production credits

    Contributors are given a production credit on any broadcasts of the performance and any promotional material.

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    Limited copy of the audio drama

    An early-release copy of the audio drama for CD and/or digital (contributors preference.)

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    Signed limited edition

    A limited BD copy of the auido drama, signed by members of the director and members of the cast.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $125

    Behind-The-Scenes Podcast Guest

    In addition to the play we will record a behind-the-scenes podcast gathering together members of the cast and crew. As a reward for this pledge amount we will invite you to guest on this podcast, including posing your own questions to the cast and crew. This can be accomplished remotely via video call at your convenience.

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    Small role

    An opportunity to be cast in the production in a small role, rehearsing with the cast and crew, and being part of the final broadcast production.

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Funding period

- (60 days)