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Billy & Ariel Performance at Pulse DN Festival of Light 2019

DN Festival of Light in Doncaster was a special 6-day, audio-visual experience for Deaf audiences that ended with an epic finale on the night of Saturday 23 November 2019 when Doncaster Minster was transformed into a nightclub setting as part of Billy's duo performance with Ariel Fung: We Are The Revolution.

The centre piece of 2019's DN Festival was an audio-visual piece called ‘Tetonic’, bespoke to Doncaster Minster that uses 3-D light mapping and projection techniques.

Tetonic, using the light projections was a totally immersive experience covering the ceiling and walls of the iconic Minister building. Created by NOVAK, working with artist Ed Carter, and commissioned by Right Up Our Street, the piece aims to encourage Yorkshire’s Deaf community to experience and get more involved in the arts.

Following Tetonic was a unique performance by Deaf artists Billy Read and Ariel Fung, titled ‘We are the Revolution’ based on a series of workshops, in collaboration with Deborah Pugh, a Movement artist. Billy and his team transformed the Doncaster Minister into a night club and create an atmosphere for their surveillance-themed street dance performance.

This was the first time Billy and Ariel were able to try on their new LED light suits and test the coordinated light sequences to the music, in the darkness to an audience

On 21- 22 November Billy Read rehearsed and tested “We are the Revolution” dance performance with pupils from XP College Doncaster. The after show discussion and written feedback shaped and revised the performance at the Minister on the 23 November 2019.

The event was received and thoroughly enjoyed by an audience of mixed Deaf and hearing people of all ages, who were able to experience an emotive and dark story told through dance supported by superb music composition by Taiko Drummer Nao Masuda as well as a spectacular 3D lighting and visual effects beamed around the ancient walls of Doncaster Minister.

For Billy and Ariel, this event was an opportunity to share our new material for We Are The Revolution, and test the combination of live and produced music, theatre, lighting effects, video projection, and our new ambitious piece: LED illuminated suit performances.

This was the first time Billy and Ariel were able to try on their new ambitious LED light suits and test the coordinated light sequences to music, in the darkness to an audience, with battery packs activated (although one of the packs caught fire and was damaged earlier in the week).

The LED light suit performance required intensive exploration of light sequences and coordination created on software, with the lights set to turn on and off in a choreographed sequence in line with the music. This is still an ongoing project that will require further development to develop a much more extensive and detailed light show.

Another exciting new feature of Billy's work in development was the use of interaction with the video projection (see above photo). It involves Billy sitting on a chair while a video is projected onto a screen behind him, and in the video a masked man is throwing punches and slaps, and Billy is reacting to the attacks in real-time on the stage, in sync with the video. This is quite a dark and grisly piece, something that's being explored in the We Are The Revolution storyline.

Funded by Arts Council England and Right Up Our Street


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