We were excited to be asked to work on National Theatre of Scotland’s Five Minute Theatre for a second time.
Five Minute Theatre began in 2011 and is an amazing project. National Theatre of Scotland put out a worldwide call for submissions from anyone for 5 minute long pieces of theatre. Those that are selected then either video their performance for playback or, if they are in Scotland, have the option to perform live on the day either at one of the main hubs or via a roving camera crew. The theme for 2014 was Independence.
Personally I love taking part, as one of the things I miss from my time at the BBC is being part of a big team. I’m also very used to making sure programmes get on air on time.
I was part of Fife Roving 1, along with a wonderfully experienced stage manager, called Ruth. Our first stop was the West Pier in St Andrews for a performance entitled ‘The Edge of the World’
The location was very specific as the piece examined 4 students about to graduate from St Andrews (the actors were St Andrews students) with the backdrop of Independence. It didn’t quite rain on us, but the wind got up shortly before we went on, which caused a few issues. We just got our connection up in time and made our 1715 on air slot. As well we going out live, each performance is recorded and all the videos taken back to be uploaded to the Five Minute Theatre website.
One of the joys of Five Minute Theatre is the complete variety of locations, people and pieces. Our next stop was the Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir. Here the writer James Robertson performed ‘The News Where You Are’ a very funny piece about the Scottish news that is tacked on the end of the ‘national’ news. His audience has been in for an hour before we went live listening to more of his work, which was greatly enjoyed.
Before recent changes in communications technology, broadcasting away from base, wasn’t a straight forward business. In radio it involved bookings to be made with BT for temporary circuits and I have memories of looking for the ends of the cable tied up in a tree!
We got our programmes back to base via a portable wifi hotspot and a Teradek Cube encoder which was screwed on to the top of the video camera. I love seeing how developing technology can bring amazing creativity to so many people via the internet.
National Theatre of Scotland deserve huge praise for making this project work and bringing so much live theatre to so many people.