Led by provocative Sheffield/Melbourne-based production company, Doppelgangster, the group of 13 students used a private social media discussion group, and other platforms, to produce Bad Reputation, an audio show inspired by Three Skeleton Key (1937) by George Toudouze: a mesmerising and psychedelic tale of three lighthouse keepers imperilled by oppressive fog on an isolated island.
With life under lockdown as a central point of departure, Doppelgangster involved the students in the creative process as researchers, writers, and eventually as performers.
Tom Payne, acting and performance course leader at Sheffield Hallam, and co-director of Doppelgangster said: “With theatres closed and the arts facing challenging circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we decided to explore new ways of creating, using the miracle of communication technology, which has made this pioneering international collaboration possible.
“For students at both institutions, it’s a chance to develop high-level employment skills, including those associated with digital communication and collaboration whilst also a chance to add prestigious names like Off the Shelf and the Melbourne Fringe to their CV.
“The finished result is a dazzling, mesmerising and thrilling audio artwork inspired by life under lockdown featuring a talented company of emerging artists, and a violent and anarchic experimental jazz score."
Richard Delroy, acting and performance student at Sheffield Hallam said: “It’s been a really great, and quite challenging experience. Working with students from Australia has been fantastic, it’s so wonderful to see all of their ideas and creativity.
“It’s been a totally different way of working, switching out the rehearsal room, to completing tasks for the production individually in my bedroom. It’s certainly not something I’m used to, but it’s a gratifying change.
“With lockdown, and Covid-19 not going away any time soon, it’s nice to know that we still have the ability to make a production, and many ways it’s offered new opportunities that wouldn’t have presented themselves if everything had been back to normal.
“Debuting at two festivals, one on the other side of the world - you can’t really ask for much more than that can you? I think it will be interesting to see the responses we get from different audiences. I can’t wait to see what people think.”
You will be able to listen to the audio recording here from Friday 23 October.