A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Catherine Edwards, who we've worked with a couple of times before at the Birmingham Rep and Script, about a project exploring the possibilities of theatre/performance/story-telling and social networking (in general) and Twitter (in particular).
Catherine had set the project up partly in response to the RSC/Mudlark's Such Tweet Sorrow project and the discussion it provoked. I had dipped in to Such Tweet Sorrow, but my thinking about it had been provoked mainly by Hannah Nicklin's blog post about it (which you can read here). Catherine was asking me to come on board in an advisor/director figure, and I was pleased to hear that Hannah was advising on the project, too.
We would be working with three writer performers, Danielle Henry, Eve Steele and Jarrod Cooke, to explore performance writing/presence on Twitter and other social media platforms. I wasn't sure that 'director' was a helpful job description in the context of the project, but was happy to join in as facilitator/collaborating artist, using Twitter as I do, in my role at Third Angel. I had been really struck, recently by Dan Rebellato's groundbreaking use of Twitter during the Raoul Moat story, and very interested in Daniel Bye's discussion of this area on his blog. (It is exciting to learn that Dan and Dan will be collaborating on a Twitter project for Pilot Theatre, too).
So we gathered in Manchester last week to begin exploring the possibilities opened up to writer/performers by social networking, for the telling of stories. You can read more about the background to the project and the start of the process on Catherine's blog here.
The brief for the project is a two week online exploration of character/persona, narrative and interaction on social networking sites, leading up to a live reading/presentation in response to that exploration at the DAT Fest in Stoke. We had no specific formal outcome set for us, which is very exciting, as it allows the writer/performers to really explore their personal responses and interests.
I don't want to say much more, really, as we're now just at the start of the online exploration. But our questions are around the development of character, how much characters can interact with other people online, how narrative can emerge from the day-to-day use of social networking, and where we can place characters on the spectrum between real and fictional.
So if you would like to join us on our explorations, then please follow some or all of:
You don't have to be on Twitter to see what they're saying - just click on any of the above links to see what they have been tweeting recently, and follow links to their other online platforms. But signing up to Twitter is also easy - just click on one of the names and follow the Sign Up link. And if you're already on Twitter, well, you already know what to do.
UPDATE (20 Feb 2011): Hannah has posted a really interesting blog entry about her thoughts on the start of the Twitterbug process on her site, here.