Battersea Arts Centre Plays in DarkDate: 19 May 1998
South London fringe venue the Battersea Arts Centre has launched an innovative nine-week season for the summer. Entitled Playing in the Dark, every production in the season will be staged in the dark before a live audience.
Tom Morris, director of the BAC, says that the low-tech performances will include a combination of words, sounds, smells, textures and a huge dose of the audience's imagination.
The concept has attracted a lot of industry interest; the programme includes RNT actors performing Shakespeare; violinist Takayoshi Wanami in a recital of Bach sonatas; experiments from Theatre de Complicite and Improbable Theatre; and all manner of actors, comedians, poets and other performers.
In an interview with The Times, Morris explained that the season is a logical extension of the BAC's year-round schedule: 'For me, the only reason why people would bother to go to the theatre is that they become imaginatively involved in a way that is totally different from what happens on film or TV.'
Though the event may have a rival in radio, Morris insists it is a much different experience when performers are moving through the audience, providing a sense of action and immediacy. That said, the schedule will include a live broadcast of the BBC Radio One programme Blue Jam - so obviously an allegiance to radio remains.
The savings that the BAC earns on costumes, set design and electricity are purely incidental, Morris assures.
Playing in the Dark runs to 12 July 1998. For more information, contact the BAC box office on +44-171-223-2223.