“If your whole world was destroyed…What would you do next?
The acclaimed Bradford theatre company Freedom Studios (Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile) are set to release next week a live stream and an audio drama - that will be accessible for community radio stations around the UK - of their 2016 production of Tajinder Singh Hayer’s play North Country which explored the lives of three young people from Bradford as they dealt with the aftermath of a devastating plague.
North Country told the story of the survival of three Bradford teenagers - Harvinder, Nusrat, and Jason - after a plague that has hit the planet. Together and separately they struggle to survive, each bringing together their people and their communities as they try to remake their world. But their biggest challenge doesn’t come from starvation or zombie-like cannibals. It comes from within.
After the play’s successful run in 2016, the Bradford theatre company piloted their first-ever live stream on Facebook. The popular live cast piloted a new way of producing theatre and Freedom Studios have continued to explore this technology including most recently their recent production of BD Stories which was broadcast from a hotel in Bradford on 18 March, just before the UK lockdown came into place.
Rather than simply live casting a stage show, North Country was directed and performed specifically with and for mobile devices, with a solely online audience. BD Stories, which featured two short plays by Asma Elbadawi and Aina J Khan, developed that technology further in an specially designed app for live digital performance funded by XR Stories who push forward the potential of immersive and interactive technologies for digital storytelling.
Freedom Studios’ Co-Artistic Director Alex Chisholm said
“When we and CARBON: Imagineering started on the project of making digital live performance via mobile phones easy and low cost, we had no idea how urgent that might feel right now. This might not be the answer to theatres closing during the crisis, but if it can be part of the answer, we want to make it work & share all we have learnt as soon as we can.”
North Country will available to watch online for free at www.freedomstudios.co.uk via YouTube from Thursday 23 April till Thursday 7 May. An audio version of the play with the same cast will also premiered on Bradford based radio station BCB Radio at 3pm on Thursday 23rd April and will be released to local community radio stations to broadcast during the two weeks.
To coincide with the release online Freedom Studios will be broadcasting a podcast which will give listeners an insight into the production was put together and which also looks into the development of the technology now available including new streaming apps.
For more information about the work of Freedom Studios visit www.freedomstudios.co.uk