Viva to stream first video play to raise funds for new theatre

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company's production of 'Frankenstein'

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company has created a socially distanced YouTube/radio play event to raise funds for the new Viva Theatre. Some of their ‘Frankenstein’ cast are pictured - Credit: VIVA SOHAM

A Soham-based theatre company has created a socially distanced YouTube/radio play event to raise funds for its new theatre.

Viva! Theatre Company's interpretation of ‘Frankenstein’ was rehearsed then recorded remotely, without any of the actors or sound artists being in the same room together. 

The result is a unique online ‘radio play’, for audiences to view how the show was created, or just listen to in order to get the original radio play experience.

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company's production of 'Frankenstein'

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company's production of 'Frankenstein'. - Credit: VIVA SOHAM

Viva! founder Dan Schumann said: “While theatres were closed, the Viva family missed performing in front of a live audience, so we had to get creative and produce ‘theatre’ in other ways.

"This is the first time we have combined the unique challenges of a radio play with streaming technology.

"The beauty of it is that we were able to work separately and safely, but create something that could be seen by anyone, anywhere.

"We are excited to see how Frankenstein is received by audiences far and wide.”

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company's production of 'Frankenstein'. Viva Jingle Singers are pictured.

Soham-based Viva Theatre Company's production of 'Frankenstein'. Viva Jingle Singers are pictured. - Credit: VIVA SOHAM

Produced and directed by Bridget Hickish, Keith Gallois and Alison O’Connor, Frankenstein was rehearsed via zoom then each actor recorded their individual performances using green screen technology.

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None of the actors ever met during recording, and had to act and react to the other actors who were never actually there.

Sound effects were recorded in real time, with adverts and radio jingles, all edited in to create a complete performance.

The show has an original score by Joseph Hall and the technical editing work was done by Bridget Hickish.

She said: “More than 500 individual sound and video files have been edited together into a seamless production and it was a joy to do.

"Our aim was to make it look as if they were are all in a single radio studio together.

"The end result has been designed to work as a visual play, but also work if anyone chooses to sit and listen with eyes closed in true radio play style.

"In keeping with the horror genre, and radio play traditions, the actors adapted their style for a more melodramatic effect, with some incredible individual performances.”

Work has continued on converting a derelict mill in Soham into a community arts and theatre centre, but the lockdowns and social distancing rules have delayed the project and costs have increased considerably.

‘Frankenstein’ is available to view from 8pm on Friday June 4 until midnight on Sunday June 6, and then on Saturday June  12 from 1pm to midnight. 

Proceeds from the streaming of Frankenstein will go to the renovation fund.

Key sponsors of the project are the National Lottery Heritage Fund, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Power to Change, The Arts Council, Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, Amey Vespa and many others.