Research and Development

Rendition Project Summary

‘RENDITION’ – a visual theatre / puppetry installation project about the illegal capture, detention and torture of people in CIA ‘blacksites’ or secret prisons. This topic is current in national and international media, for example: The Guardian Sept 2018

Development took place at Platform Easterhouse and at North Edinburgh Arts (NEA).

  • One week of R&D at Platform:
    • micro cinema artist Gavin Glover, puppeteer Emma King and writer Sylvia Dow work with core artists exploring new narrative strands and ideas through shadow, microcinema, new writing and puppetry.
    • Kim Edgar composes and records soundtracks.
    • Critical Response Process Sharing facilitated by Carolyne Latham with an invited audience.

Sample Platform Audience Feedback from CRP :

“the images – the candles on the floor and the filmed image of them – somehow they felt gentle, hopeful, heart warming compared with the horror of the rest”.

“It was beautiful and respectful”

“Jessen and Mitchell – I wasn’t too sure how to put that together I think we need more information about them to connect with them and what they did”

Audience feedback CRP at Platform
  • Sylvia Dow worked as dramaturg on Rendition in January 2019 as we all felt that this was the best way to keep the current vignettes, images poetry and playing with form yet drive and expand the narrative.
  • Resulting play workshopped over two weeks in early February at NEA and resulting work in progress shared to invited audience of stakeholders, local community and centre user groups.

Sample NEA Audience Feedback from CRP:
“Well done – really thought provoking. Took us on a journey.. I’d forgotten all about the debate which I guess is the whole point. Loved the puppet just hanging there – made me think of the torture ever present.”
“It was very powerful and emotional but I would have liked for this power to have been more prolonged for the audience to be able to take it in. I absolutely loved it!”

Sample Venue and Stakeholder Feedback from Manipulate Snapshots:

Freda and her experienced team of collaborators presented an excerpt of this powerful and thought-provoking piece at the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival 2019, during one of our Snapshots events. The audience response during and after the performance was extremely positive. “Rendition” deals with important and topical political issues and the immediate and passionate engagement of the audience demonstrated for me the power of this piece, and the relevance of the way in which Freda and her fellow artists chose successfully and vividly to articulate its themes.

Core artists:

  • Sylvia Dow – writer and dramaturg
  • Gavin Glover – puppetry director
  • Emma King – puppeteer/assistant puppetry director
  • Sarah Wright – master puppeteer – workshop
  • Kim Edgar – composer
  • Freda O’Byrne – puppeteer/performer (also producer)
  • Peter Searle – production and financial oversight.
  • Euan Jackson – technical manager (AV)

Derek Gilchrist drove marketing, communications and PR, creating marketing materials and pushing creative team to explore the making of social media content during rehearsal and research process. He also raised the company’s profile and enabled us to reach out to target organisations and supporters.

Film and Social Media Content Created During Process

Films made by Freda O’Byrne and Euan Jackson with music by Kim Edgar

1. Example video created during R & D now edited with review and CS Logos
and with original music by Kim Edgar and exploring new dramaturgy element with Sylvia Dow
2. Example video created during R & D now edited with review and CS Logos
with original music by Kim Edgar and exploring new dramaturgy element with Gavin Glover
3. Example video created during R & D now edited with review and CS Logos
with original music by Kim Edgar and exploring microcinema with Gavin Glover

Positive and Unexpected Outcomes

  • Invitation to perform Rendition at Assembly Roxy after R & D process
  • Creation of high quality social media content
  • Lasting relationships built with creative partners who are now associate artists and creatives
  • Highly positive response to the work from UK and from abroad: invited to festival in Holland in 2020/21; invited to explore ways to bring the piece to the United States; invited to enter into development partnership with Sheffield University and tour the work to England.
  • Invited to curate a set of reading for Imprisoned Writers event at Edinburgh International Book Festival by Amnesty International
  • Invited to partner with Freedom from Torture Edinburgh who attended CRP and gave feedback and later produced information for Assembly Programme and who remain supporter / partners