Working with a digital experience in lockdown
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
We have worked with Futures Theatre Company for many years now. They provide incredible engagement and outreach work with women's stories at the forefront. Part of this involves training Social Workers through Forum Theatre.
With the UK in lockdown, these needs do not go away, quite the opposite. So we looked at converting what would usually be a live workshop into a digital format to enable the company to continue their much needed work.
With 'Zoom' being a popular and accessible platform for training we decided to focus on what it could offer. We wanted to make the experience an engaging and worthwhile for the participants. We integrated live polls, visual and audio effects and multi-cam editing into the meeting.
Forum Theatre relies on participants interacting with the content, identifying the oppressor in the situation and challenging it to change or alter the outcome. So this aim needed to be at the heart of how we produced the content.
In the first instance we worked with live actors, using live editing in a multi-cam style broadcast with each actor operating from their home. We gave the impression two of the actors were in the same room by using identical props and set dressing. This allowed the group to observe a realistic scene between 'service users'.
Supported by a facilitator the group are then asked how they would have changed the outcome of the scene and were able to 'step in' as a social worker and interact with the actors.
The second format was to use pre recorded interventions. Futures have been delivering this training for nearly a decade and have a huge amount of experience in doing so. By creating a flowchart of suggestions that usually come from the group, we produced over 20 short pre-recorded outcomes.
With the latter format we were able to edit the videos beforehand, using well thought out camera movements and transitions, the footage from two different locations were able to be stitched together to produce a seamless performance to the audience.
Due to the sensitive nature of the work I can't show you any of the final product but here is a clip from the prerecorded version that were edited together to appear to be in the same location. Keep an eye on the right hand side video, these were two separate houses.
Actors - Ani Nelson, Rea Mole, William McGeough
Script - Flair May - Futures Theatre Company
The feedback was fantastic from the group and it's a really exciting prospect for everyone involved.
To find out more about Futures Theatre visit