We started rehearing The Twisted Tale of Hansel and Gretel in January 2020 in a world where we still hugged, stood on packed commuter trains and were able to be in a rehearsal room without wearing masks. It launched to a packed auditorium at Birmingham Hippodrome and then went on its national tour. Little did we realise that within weeks our tour would be so cruelly taken away from us as theatres closed their door due to Covid. The global pandemic has effected each and every one of us. For us and our Twisted Tales program it has temporary stopped us in our aim to create opportunities where learning
disabled artists are put centre stage. BUT no one can stop our passion.

When ACE announced their emergency Covid funding I knew there was only one group of people I wanted to work with and that was my Twisted Family. The question was how? Normally we meet in a rehearsal room and so much of the work we create is physical performance. However we decided to look to the future in more ways than one and create 3 animations for our new and future tale Red Riding Hood.

 

 

ZOOM
So like everyone else we turned to Zoom and like everyone else we had our highs and lows of zoom rehearsals. Physical warm ups blasted away the cobwebs and allowed us to laugh again as we wiggled and jiggled in our own separate houses miles apart. We realised very quickly that group singing was certainly NOT a way forward not because of the quality of our vocal skills but because the ZOOM delay made the whole process incredibly painful. We exchanged ideas for the new animations, rehearsed our lines and saw an insight into each others personal lives that maybe we were unaware of, from
pets, to wallpaper to naked crying toddlers running around. By the end of our Zoom rehearsal period we had 3 scripts that just needed recording.

CLOSE THE WINDOWS AND GRAB A DUVET
Another lockdown experience that I’m sure a few artists have experienced in 2020 is the joy of home recording. Our audio recordings were captured by the actors in their homes. The actors used their mobile phones and a few were lucky enough to have a microphone. The songs were certainly the trickiest but Charles our amazing musician recorded the music separately which the actors listened to on headphones and then sang along into their phones to we could mix them afterwards. However we realised it wasn’t really our low fi equipment which was problematic it was our soundproofing. So these are our

Top Tips for Top Sound: 
– Close the windows
– Record in a small room (or a wardrobe if you’re Jess)
-Place a duvet over your head / calming blanket (if your not claustrophobic)
– Locate your microphone on your device and speak into it. But like Goldilocks; not too close, not too far but make sure its just right.
– If a dog barks, a child cries or a smoke alarm goes off. Re record.
– If you are re recording a section go back and re record the full line not just the word that went wrong.

The script is recorded but now for the soundtrack editing…….. oh the editing…. Lets just say it takes a while but I find chocolate helps…. In Part Two of this blog I’ll talk you through the process of creating an animation with an illustrator based in Leicester an animator based in Columbia and myself based in Liverpool.

Written by Esther Simpson