For when you’re stuck in a time loop

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ThickSkin’s Walk This Play® series rethinks the limitations of theatre by using innovative tech and providing access on a wider scale. Your Time Is Now was commissioned by The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, and immerses the listener into an adventure with the objective of, in a way, restoring lost time.

Your Time Is Now is one of the shortlisted pieces in the Sound Walk September Awards 2022. ThickSkin’s Artistic Director Neil Bettles talks about the experience of creating the soundwalk.

When we started to work on a Walk This Play project for The Lawrence Batley Theatre, we were keen to make something that felt like it had a mission, or some kind of task, to do along the walk. Working with the writer Misha Duncan-Barry (who is from Huddersfield) and spending time walking and researching the area, we were struck by the grand architecture and intricate details on buildings which, if you didn’t look up, you might never notice. We also wanted to make something that was fun, to do with a sci-fi element, and with pure story telling at its heart.

The inspiration for the walk came from Saint Pauls Hall, a church building very near to the Lawrence Batley Theatre where the walk was going to start.  The church tower is missing its clock and has a blank space, clearly marking where a clock once was.  It was this detail that gave us our mission.  

Huddersfield is trapped in a time loop. Unknowingly repeating the same day over and over. But time is slowing down, and the town is at risk of being lost forever. 

Today’s assignment is to reactivate time. 

Collect the clocks and clues that will help you on your way as Commander X guides you round the streets of Huddersfield. But hurry, you don’t have long!

We mapped out a series of prominent clocks on the streets of Huddersfield and connected them via interesting streets, this means audiences also get to take in some of the great architecture along the walk. We also wanted to make use of the various statues on the route, making them come alive to give information and guidance. During the play, the whole mission is overseen by commander X, who is the main guide for the walk, voiced brilliantly by Mina Anwar. Our sound designer Lee Affen created an 80’s, sci fi inspired sound world that keeps the action flowing and provides just the right amount of intrigue and tension.

It was a really great process making the walk and one that challenged us in lots of interesting ways. From timing specific sections, to making sure the participants found all the locations they needed to hit. The walk features everything; from talking lions, to a Harold Wilson statue pointing the way, both voiced by Matthew Booth. These elements make the walk feel fun, light-hearted, and engaging.  

This text is the eight in a series of the artists shortlisted for the Sound Walk September 2022 Awards talking about their work.

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