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First Storey Productions


Venue:The Phoenix, 46-48A Broughton Street Edinburgh EH1 3SA
Phone: 0131 557 6944
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: Phoenix Below
AUG 2-26 at 16:00 (60 min)
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'It was a mystery, a murder mystery, almost, we thought, although we couldn't be sure, because there were no signs of a murder. But how else could he end up in our duckpond? Not from drowning. It's not possible to drown in a duckpond, we decided, not by accident, anyway, not for a body like this one.'

Duckpond: An Element of Mystery in Umpteen Samples is an immersive multimedia storytelling show in which Ciaran and Kit, two former members of the First Storey Duckpond Conservation and Unity Planning Board, an extinct organisation dedicated to monitoring and maintaining local duckponds across the world, invite you to explore their archives of duckpond propaganda. Having recently returned from touring the world with an itinerant war-time theatre troupe (remember the war? the one with all the duckponds), Ciaran and Kit are ready to tell you their story, a story which questions our relationship with community, the environment, and the steady march of science.

Duckpond is inspired by the surprising origins of popular, experimental and folk artistic movements in the fallout from the two World Wars. In part a response to 2018's upcoming Armistice centenary commemorations, Duckpond is performed against a soundscape of original folk and electronic music, recorded voices, and sound effects. Ciaran and Kit control the soundscape through an on-stage sample box, especially salvaged from the wreckage of the war in order to revisit their back-catalogue of past propaganda performances. This device draws on the movement to revive and document British folk traditions using recording equipment in the build-up and aftermath of World War One, as well as the electronic musicians in the mid-20th century who used surplus military equipment from World War Two to create new ways of composing. The soundscape is in turn influenced by these historical moments, comprising recorded instrumental and sung folk music, digital loops and samples, and fragments of speech. In this way, the sample-box echoes and embodies Duckpond's concerns with sustainability, innovation, and the methods which traumatised communities use to rebuild themselves out of fragments and memories.

Duckpond is the debut production by First Storey Productions (FSP), a new theatre collective based in South London. We first collaborated as students on an ensemble performance of Caryl Churchill's Love and Information, reaching the final of the Oxford University Dramatic Society Cuppers competition, as well as the UK premier of Mia McCullough's Infestation at The Space in London. We’re united by core beliefs in sustainability, collaboration, community engagement and inclusiveness as key drivers in producing original, dynamic and democratic work.

Before forming FSP, each of us pursued similar projects independently. During his presidency of his undergraduate drama society, FSP's founder, Ciaran Chillingworth, opened up new spaces to theatrical work, including previously unused chapels and public spaces, to collaborative projects with composers, poets and artists from both within and outside of the university. He has also written for The Relaxed Theatre Company, the first theatrical group in the UK dedicated entirely to producing relaxed performances of new writing. Similarly, contributor and performer Kit Finnie leads poetry classes at music and arts festivals across the UK, while production designer Cat Etchart has expertise in building sets out of recycled construction stock.

Ciaran and Kit are best known as the comedy double-act The Mayor and His Daughter, who are due to perform in the semi-finals of the Leicester Square Theatre Sketch-Off later this year. Ciaran is also a solo comedian, who has performed in clubs and competitions both in and outside of London, while Kit is a current student of the Barbican Young Poets and a member of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective.

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