Guest Blog – UCAN Create Session 4 – Anagram

Read our fouth guest blog from Megan John and Mared Jarman (@blindnotbored) of UCAN Productions on our UCAN Create collaborative project. Find out more about UCAN Create in our Case Studies Section. 

Our most recent UCAN Create Masterclass was on the 11th of March at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Amy, from award winning creative company Anagram.  They have a talent for producing work that seamlessly brings together the physical and digital world. Their strength lies in the creation of interactive experience with a coherent and compelling emotional world. They are interested in connecting the extraordinary one-off tale to universal questions that lie at the heart of what it means to be human.  These UCAN Create Masterclasses are all about giving young people the opportunity to learn a new skill, work with some amazing people and create something new and unique.

 This particular workshop was again very different to what we’ve already experienced and really exciting to have the opportunity to learn more about the amazing work Anagram make.  Amy spoke to us about the work that they’ve created and explained how they go about doing it.

We were thrown straight in to it, we had the opportunity to listen to part of the audio created for one of their previous creations “Door into the Dark”.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance to appreciate the full immersive experience, but sat on the floor in a dark room with my eyes closed gave me enough insight to understand and realise what an  incredible production it must have been.  To sit and listen, imaging myself walking through the dark guided only by a piece of rope and listening to a gentlemen describe his experience of sight loss was emotional and hypnotic.  Hearing how they created such an immersive and interactive world, but making it seem so real was amazing.    We learnt the importance of the technology being hidden in a head piece so your not holding it in your hand, to using scent to enhance the creation of a realistic world.  This definitely made me think  how differently you can work and what can be achieved creatively when you spend the time thinking about it.

UCAN Create Masterclass 3

The next experience was of the production they created at Tower Bridge.  Again, another immersive world that got me really thinking, what can now be created with the addition of technology and new ways of working.  This production used the idea of surveillance and pushing your participants/audience to the edge of what they’re comfortable with to create a fully immersive experience, to me this sounded like a fascinating production.  Once again we heard a piece of audio, then listened and learnt how they built and designed the idea, this was really interesting and just left me wanting to sit and listen the the entire audio from the production.  I was hooked.

 After getting us all excited and wanting to hear more about what they do it was our turn to come up with some silly ideas using their creative process.  This was to demonstrate how simple you can make the creative process in the beginning, you come up with something that you can then develop. We learnt that there are four main things you need to think about:

  1. What’s your Genre?

  2. Where is it located?

  3. What are you doing?

  4. What are you using?

So, we were all given post-it notes to write down the first thing that came to us when we thought of these four things and to stick them on the wall underneath each heading.  Then individually, with the choice of everyone’s contributions we went up to the wall and picked one post-it for each heading to create an idea.  For example

What’s the genre? Zombies

Where is it located? At the seaside.

What are you doing? Cuddling puppies.

What are you using? Knife and Fork.

We all came up with very silly and ridiculous suggestions, but this equally showed us how playful you can be when trying to be creative and think of new ideas.

The whole experience of the Anagram workshop has definitely got me really thinking of a new way of working. How we can use this structure to create an idea and combine it with the other creative skills we’ve learnt during the Master classes so far.  I feel as a group we could now create something truly new, interesting and exciting for the UCAN festival this summer.

Leave a Reply