In November 2020, we worked alongside young artist, Cameron Flynn, as he decided to use the down time he had - having been a member of New Adventures dance company on tour with Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes – to create a digital performance that would speak to the challenges faced by artists nationwide.
Cameron says: “I was determined to use this time to do something meaningful. I didn’t want to moan about it but I wanted to convey a world where dance, performance and theatre didn’t exist yet all around were individuals trying to fit uncomfortably into other jobs, with their performative skill invisible and dreams to perform bursting to get out of them. It certainly has parallels with now as so many of my peers are working in roles simply to get by whilst the whole cultural industry remains largely closed. We’re all out there in the shadows doing other jobs.
I began to flesh out my idea with the support of a group of friends, and then New Adventure’s heard about the project and were keen to invest some funding as part of their Young Associate Artist program to help us realise this vision. That’s when it really started to take shape.
Through being part of creating the whole production, I have been exposed to all the hard work and skill that is needed behind the scenes to make productions run and that has been such an important part of it. When I began the project, I was only really considering the performers who found themselves out of work – but working so closely with a Lighting Designer, tech team and with the likes of SLX – who work with so many productions normally – has really opened my eyes to the vast skill this industry has and to the jobs it creates – beyond performers.”
SLX supported Cameron to realise his vision of a ‘dream scene’, which needed to be recorded in a studio with a full lighting rig, fitted with bespoke fixtures decided upon in partnership with our team here, Cameron’s Lighting Designer (Chris Vaughan) and Cameron himself.
Cameron continues: “SLX’s generous support of the project added a whole new dimension to the piece. I’ve never had access to that level or quality of tech and tech support in the past. The team were so brilliant to work alongside, and I know my Lighting Designer, Chris, felt the same.”
Chris Vaughan, Lighting Designer for UNSKILLED says: “Cameron approached me in November 2020 about being the Lighting Designer for the project. The ‘UNSKILLED’ story itself was meaningful and somewhat appropriate during a year where the industry was being portrayed as a non-viable industry. This led to many of us feeling like we had been missed and left to fall through the gaps. I was extremely excited to supporting in telling this story, with light.
Cameron and I had discussed many visions of the story and what was extremely useful was the ability to move the fixtures around to different configurations in the all-white studio space. The system was controlled by ETC’s GIO Console running alongside ETC’s Augment 3D. Utilising ETC’s Augment 3D in the rehearsal space meant we could pre-program a lot of the looks and try different configurations of fixture placement before we arrived at the Wayne McGregor Studios in London. Once we had decided how the space would be used and the different fixture placement configurations, we were using Matt Malone for Zero Origin LTD had the job of translating all the VectorWorks Drawings and 3D Renders into the Real World Studio Space.
I approached SLX is because of the vast range of manufacturers SLX would have on the shelf. I am a huge fan of the GLP X4 Bar 20s, MAC Aura XB’s and ETC’s Source 4 Lustr2 range which SLX upon receiving my kit list were happy to provide without any substitutions. I have worked with Ruari Cormack at SLX on many West End and International Productions and their support for the project was as ever flawless. SLX provided an entire package prepped by their in-house team at Bristol HQ. overseen by Katy Lowe.
This project really does echo just how viable and incredibly talented our industry is both onstage and backstage. I am truly proud to of been part of this project and to have so many talented friends and colleagues collaborating together delivering a meaningful story. Special thanks to Alastair Currie, Ruari Cormack, Katy Lowe and all the SLX Hire & Events crew, Matt Malone, Cameron Flynn and New Adventures.”
Cameron’s performance, UNSKILLED, will be available online from midday on 7th February 2021 and can be accessed here or on Cameron’s Instagram, @cameronflynn__.