Edinblur!

Hello Nocta-nauts, Charles here again with another blog update on our time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (in case you were unsure as to where we were in August). A month, which seemed to flash by in a blur, filled with shows, rain, walking, more rain, podcasts, deep fried MarsBars, even more rain and even more shows. We met and chatted to so many wonderful artists, saw such a wide variety of theatre and felt entirely at home in a place none of us had ever really experienced on that level before.

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We weren’t the only Coventry based company performing at the festival this year. We were lucky to be a part of the massive Coventry contingent up at the Fringe which included Strictly Arts, Susie Sillett, Jen Davis and Paul O’Donnell, all showcasing their talent and giving good reason as to why Coventry has been named the City of Culture for 2021.

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While in Edinburgh we documented our time there by doing a number of podcasts with a whole host of lovely people all talking about their Fringe experience. We had great fun chatting to everyone and we really appreciate you all coming to talk with us. So a massive thank you goes out to Ellie, Sarah, Medea, Holly, Ted, Marlien, Jordan, Rob, Dan, Jen, Suzannah, Corey and Pip, you made our Fringe that extra bit special!

You can catch all of our Edinburgh special podcasts here, and relive the Fringe fun again.

We’d also like to thank the wonderful staff at the C Aquila Venue for making us feel so welcome during our time at the Fringe, the reviewers and to everyone who donated, saw the show and tweeted about us, none of what we achieved could have been possible without ALL of you!

THANK YOU!!!!!!

Now, with all that the Fringe has to offer it can be really difficult to know what to go and see. Our time in Edinburgh saw Connor, Jessie and myself seeing a whole heap of different shows. Below you will find an extract from all three of us talking about a different show or event that, for us individually, added to our Fringe experience.

Connor talks about…The Pianodrome by Sound Mirror

“On the penultimate day of our run of the fringe I had the pleasure of being invited by my lovely friend Nikki Hill along to a project she was working on, The Pianodrome. In Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic gardens, beneath a white material dome sat a plethora of discarded pianos that had been lovingly up-cycled into a unique amphitheatre, the vision of Tim Vincent-Smith and Mathew Wright. With a host of talented musicians passing through the space audiences were treated to music rehearsals, piano lessons, talks and music performances, the Pianodrome was a lively hub of artistic exploration. In the evening we were treated to an other-worldly performance by Tim’s band S!nk, filled with existentialism, mischief and play. The Pianodrome was awarded the ‘Best Moment of the Fringe’ by a reviewer (I forget which) and it was certainly my best moment of the Fringe.”

Jessie talks about…Ladykiller by The Thelmas and Garry Starr Performs everything by Garry Starr

“I ended up seeing quite a few one man/one woman shows, this was unintentional but I suppose it’s unavoidable. These types of shows seem to dominate the fringe, probably because they’re much cheaper to run and quicker to set up! I imagine it must be quite difficult to stand out from the ever growing crowd of one person shows. For me, Ladykiller and Garry Starr Performs Everything did this perfectly. Ladykiller managed to comment on female identity in a way that was equal parts chilling and comical – I loved it. Garry Starr was just hilarious from start to finish. He packed so much energy and material into that hour, he must have just been sleeping whenever he wasn’t on stage!”

Charles talks about…(sorry) by Susie Sillett

“This was very difficult for me as there were a number of shows that I wanted to talk about from the Fringe, however (sorry) written by Susie Sillett, really stood out for me. In 70 minutes (sorry) perfectly sums up the feelings of and towards mid twenty-something-year-old-millennials trying to survive professionally, socially and being constantly told how “easy” they have it. Obviously, the topics in the show feel more relevant for me than it might for someone of a different generation, but it still has that universal feeling of how we all must have felt at some point. However, in a time where our voice feels like it’s never really heard or appreciated, (sorry) shouts these feelings in an apologetic manner, giving a voice and creating a play for our generation who were told that they could do whatever they wanted and could achieve anything.”

Other shows we saw included *inhale*

Loving Monica (Blancmontage Theatre) 

Prehistoric (Elbow Room)

We’ve Got Each Other (Paul O’Donnell)

Famous Puppet Death Scenes (The Old Trouts)

Slipstick (Martin Kent)

A Clown Show About Rain (Silent Faces)

Polaris (Holly and Ted)

Busking It (Coin Drop)

Other People’s Teeth (Want the Moon theatre)

The Squirrel Plays (Part of the Main)

Status (Chris Thorpe)

When the Friendship has Sailed (Weird Sisters Theatre)

Holy $#!% It’s Music & Comedy with Matt Griffo (Matt Griffo)

Ingrid Dahle presents Wingrid (Ingrid Dahle)

Moonlight on Leith (ClartyBurd Theatre)

Infinita (Familie Flöz)

SILENCE (Teatr Biuro Podróży)

How Deep Is Your Duff (Helen Duff)

Eat Me (Matrix Theatre Company)

Gingzilla: Glamoster vs the World (Gingzilla)

Seen and Heard (Becky Lou)

Tits’n’Teeth (Eastlake Productions)

Sex Shells (Sex Shells)

Skin Deep (LAMBCO Productions)

We Should Know Better (Sikisa and Adrian Tauss)

Heimatmann (11:87 Theatre Company)

Fisherman’s Tail (4Front Theatre)

Joke Thieves (Will Mars)

Innovations Contemporary Dance Platform (Dance Horizons Events)

The Electric Cabaret (C Presents)

Century Song (Volcano (Canada), Richard Jordan Productions in association with CanadaHub)

War with the Newts (Knaïve Theatre)

Midnight Marauders (The Furies)

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With 25 shows in the bag from Edinburgh, we thought one more wouldn’t hurt us! We had a brief stop at the Carlisle Fringe and performed at the Old Fire Station on our way home. So from no fringes to three in one year, Brighton, Edinburgh and Carlisle thank you so much for having us!

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We head back to Coventry and the Belgrade Theatre next week for a four show run of ‘Hymns for Robots,’ (19th-21st). We will also be holding a Q+A session after Fridays performance and we will have some extra special guests joining us. To make sure you don’t miss out, you can find and book your tickets here.

We then embark on a little tour from October to November with shows in Wolverhampton (The Arena), Bedford (The Place), Bexley Grammar School and Swindon (Shoebox).

We have more outings planned for 2019 don’t you worry! So keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date with all things Noctium.

 

Charles

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Noctium by the Sea.

Phew! What a month it has been.

Hello Nocta-nauts, Charles here again, giving you an update of what we’ve been up to over this past month alone. It’s been a busy one full of performances, travel and general fun!

We shall begin with our recent stint at the Brighton Fringe festival where we performed our show ‘Hymns for Robots’ at the Rialto theatre on the 7th, 16th, 17th and 18th May. At first glance the festival itself seems a bit non existent, but as you walk further into the city it’s clear to see that there is lots going on, we just had to dig a little deeper. The Rialto theatre was the location for our performances. An art-deco style building, nestled away and oozing charm with an attic style theatre space that feels very secretive. To us, it felt like the perfect setting to tell our story of Delia Derbyshire as we filled the stage with our reel to reel machines and electronic instruments. Our performances were a mix of technical hiccups, responsive audiences and sweat (especially on the bank holiday Monday, theatre on a hot day anyone?) but we couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and it’s put us in a good position for when we head to Edinburgh. 

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We’d like to thank everyone who came to see our show, and we received glowing reviews from Fringe Guru, Exeunt Magazine and Broadway Baby. We’d also like to thank the Rialto theatre for hosting us, it is a great venue and if you are ever in Brighton I would highly recommend going.

 

While we were in Brighton, we also managed to catch some shows at the Warren, another venue of the Fringe that feels like its very own festival in itself. We were lucky enough to see Shit-faced Shakespeare do their version of Hamlet (as we just about made it to the box office in time), and our personal favourite, Teatro Pomodoro with ‘Cabaret from the Shadows’ a dark and comic piece that’s truly brilliant!

As I mentioned in our last blog, we have also said goodbye, after almost 5 years, to our very first show ‘The Country Doctor.’ So with our first Brighton show done, we shot back up to Coventry and then headed on to Bedford and Didcot, where the Doctor, along with his weird cohort, made their last appearances. It was a sad occasion as we had so much to thank this show for. It’s made us who we are and taught us how to run a company. We’d like to say another thank you to everyone who was ever involved, who supported and watched the show, it’s been a great 5 years.

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And finally we have also released our very first Podcast! The first episode follows us on our escapades around Brighton, where we talk more about our experiences of the Fringe and the shows we saw, you can wrap your ears around it by clicking on the link below! We hope to do more Podcasts, especially when we’re up in Edinburgh, so keep a look out for those.

Aaaaand one last thing, we were back in Coventry on Monday performing ‘Hymns for Robots’ as part of the Encore Festival, this festival was part of the Theatre and Professional Practice course as the third year students performed their own shows which they had been working on for months. We were very proud to be back in the building performing for the next generation of theatre makers.

And that’s it, our busy May is coming to an end, we now prepare for Edinburgh and we cannot wait, it’s going to be so much fun!

So keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date with all things Noctium.

 

Charles

Goodbye, Hello!

Hello Nocta-nauts, it’s been a very busy few months for us and there are lots of exciting things on the horizon!

First off, it is with great sadness that we will be saying goodbye to our very first show ‘The Country Doctor’ next month. After 5 years the Doctor will be closing his surgery filled with grotesque operations and peculiar patients. You can catch the Doctor’s antics, and see the rest of the gang, one final time at The Place Theatre (Bedford) and Cornerstone (Didcot). Links to both shows can be found below, so grab yourself a ticket and please wait patiently, the Doctor will see you shortly…

The Place, Bedford | Thu 10 May | £12 tickets

Cornerstone, Didcot | Fri 11 May | £12 Tickets (£5 for under 25s)

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And as one door closes, another one opens, or something like that, and we say hello to our Summer performances of ‘Hymns for Robots.’ We will be performing at the Brighton Fringe Festival on the 7th, 16th, 17th and 18th of May at the Rialto theatre. We are very much looking forward to being a part of this festival and we can’t wait to perform to the lovely people of Brighton. You can grab your tickets here! 

After Brighton we will be shooting back up to Coventry to perform as part of the Encore Festival as the final year Theatre and Professional Practice students showcase their creative talents.

We will then be gearing up for our biggest performative challenge yet, as we head on up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, and show Scotland, nay the world, what we are capable of.

AND in even greater news…we all got macthing mugs…always save the best ’til last.

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So keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date with all things Noctium.

Charles 

 

Good tidings we bring!

Hello Nocta-nauts, just a brief one this time around, although it’s jammed packed full of lovely things.

First things first, we are absolutely thrilled, excited, over moon and all the other affectations about Coventry winning the City of Culture 2021. Coventry was where we all met (6 years ago! How is that even possible?) we learnt our craft at Coventry University and saw what it had to offer and now it is, and will always be, our second home. We can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring and we are throughly looking forward to being a part of something very special. Our commiserations are with the other City of Culture contenders, do not let your hard work and effort go to waste, keep on building and keep on going.

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In other exciting news Coventry’s very own Delia Derbyshire was awarded an honorary doctorate at last months graduation ceremony from Coventry University. We are very proud to know that this sensational woman, the Mother of Modern music, has been recognised for her ground breaking work and we feel honoured to be making a show about her work.

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In addition to this we have been working closely with Coventry sound artist and engineer, Tim Seeley and Coventry University to develop a series of workshops for schools based around science, maths and music. These will inform children of Delia’s work but will also get them to think about how stem subjects, such as maths and science, can be used in music and other avenues. Our very first workshop ran a couple of weeks ago, and it was a huge success, you can read about it here.

We hope these workshops continue to inspire the next generation of mathematicians, scientists and musicians.

What an exciting couple of months it has been and an all around great year too. To think that ‘Hymns for Robots’ started life as a Shopfront installation in Berlin back in February and is now a show is mind boggling but fantastic! We can’t wait to see what 2018 has install for us and we’d like thank everyone for their continuing support on our journey.

From all of us here have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date on all things Noctium.

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Noctium

A Robot, a Mariachi band and some Owls walk into a bar…

Hello Nocta-nauts! Winter is upon us, the clocks have gone backwards and our fantastic year is coming to a close.

We start this blog by taking you back to September when we performed our brand new show, Hymns for Robots at the Belgrade. We were delighted with the response and how it resonated with audiences that knew of Delia Derbyshire and with those that didn’t.

We had three lovely reviews, which you can find below:

https://www.elementarywhatson.com/single-post/2017/09/23/Delias-Dr-Who-theme-broke-sound-barriers-but-not-glass-ceilings

https://www.whatsonlive.co.uk/warwickshire/news/work-in-progress-noctium-theatres-hymns-for-robots/39186

https://coventryobserver.co.uk/news/music-matters-by-pete-chambers-hymns-for-robots-and-label-launch-night/

We are now fully aware of where we would like the piece to head and how we will be able to achieve this. With the city of culture bid now set in the people of Coventry’s minds, it is more important than ever to show the world what this city has to offer and how we portray this Coventrian icon not just to Coventry but to everyone!

Next year is going to be an exciting one indeed!

As well as performing our new show we were also test running the Difference Engine, an audio captioning device developed by the very esteemed Talking Birds. Our reason for using it for this piece came from our interest of how to convey music and sounds to those who are hard of hearing. Our test itself was an in house one having only a handful of people run the Difference Engine for our very beginning speech. Although it was only used at the very beginning, our small group of testers said that it worked very well within the Difference Engine format and were confident that it would be suitable for the rest of the show. We found the Difference Engine very easy to use and uploading our text onto the program itself was a very simple process. We would highly recommend the use of the Difference Engine, and if you go to a show where it is available, use it!

If you’d like to find out more you can click on the link here.

One week later we were back performing Hymns for Robots to the new batch of first year students on the Theatre and Professional Practice course at Coventry University. This was our third time performing for the new students and we hope to continue this relationship with the University, who continue to support us on our journey, for a very long time.

We were lucky enough to perform with Teatr Biuro Podróży again on their fantastic adaptation of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ as the ever formidable Mariachi’s, as part of the Festival of Imagineers. This year performances included the likes of Pif-Paf, Derek Nisbet, Theatre Absoloute, AcroJou, Cardboardia, Wet Picnic, The Nosey Parkers and many other great talents from and around Coventry to create one spectacular festival.

You can find out more about Imagineer and the festival by clicking here.

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More recently we were up at Chester Zoo performing with Wild Rumpus as part of ‘The Enchantment at Chester Zoo’ which this year saw the evil Sorcerer return and cast a terrible sleeping spell over the Zoo. It was up to the the plucky families to collect magic sand from four animals; the Giraffes, the Sloths, the Orang-utans and the Moths and bring it back to Owl HQ to break the spell forever! We will be back up there again later this month to be a part of ‘The Lanterns at Chester Zoo.’ We can’t wait!

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That’s all from us at the moment here at Nocta-HQ but keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date on all things Noctium!

 

Charles

Here, there, everywhere!

Dear Nocta-nauts, what a whirlwind couple of months it has been!

Let’s start back in July where we were lucky enough to go to the wonderful East meets West symposium, organised by the ever fantastic Little Earthquake. Two days at two locations; the mac, Birmingham and Derby theatre, bought together artists, companies, producers and all those involved in theatre from the East and West midlands.

Two days well spent hearing about what’s being achieved and what can be done to help better ourselves and our theatre making communities. Along with all the other activities and talks happening across the days, we were also asked to make a 1% pledge of a change we want to see to help us become more efficient as theatre makers.

It was great to see so many people from the East and West attend both days and if there’s one thing that we did learn from those 2 days, it’s that the offer of tea and cake will always help you go far.

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Our artistic director, Connor Nolan, also had a flying visit up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the beginning of August. He spent 24 hours seeing various theatre and taking in all the sights. Here is a little insight to what he got up to:

24 Hours at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

“This August we found a tantalising 24-hour window to fill with something exciting… So, we packed the car and set out on the road to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! After a 7 and a half hour drive we arrived, stretched our legs, took a quick tour of the Scottish capital and set out to see some shows in the city that was thronging with art and performance.

 

Planet Earth III was a one man show that turns a handful of left over office supplies into an hour long, absurdist, David Attenborough documentary. From taping a desk lamp to his head as an angler fish, giving birth to seahorses (paperclips) which spilled across the stage to a black widow spider set to the tune of Mission Impossible we were in hysterics from the shows playfulness and creativity.

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We followed this with Hans: Mein Camp which showed us the tightest and most sequined German Democratic Republic uniform I have ever seen (and I’ve seen many). Hans thrilled us with his high kicks, accordions and bratwurst innuendos into the night.

Later, after failing to make it to a burlesque show in time we stumbled across Bob’s Blunderbus, a hollowed out double decker bus with a bar in the bottom and performance space upstairs. Here we met an Australian Jester who performed a bizarre, incomprehensible show just for us, which kept us in stitches for the hour and a half we were there for. I’m not sure if he stopped when we eventually left… he may still be performing without an audience to this very day.

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Our last performance before heading off was Lovehard’s Murdered by Murder a two man, ludicrous pastiche of Agatha Christie styled crime dramas. The body count far outweighed the number of actors on stage. We were reeling with laughter at the show’s impossible coincidences, searing humour and torturous plot twists.

Amongst all of these were other street performances, random encounters as well as a healthy amount of alcohol. Our glimpse of the Fringe has left us hungry for more…”

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More recently, Connor and myself were back at the Just So festival performing with our good friends The Fabularium, along with graduates and students of Coventry University’s Theatre and Professional Practice course. Despite all the rain and thunderstorms, it was another successful year! This time around The Fabularium were providing Cautionary Tales, as well as the Magical, Moving trees and The Naughty flock of Sheep and Cyclops shepherd, who were out in full force entertaining both young and old alike. The long days and unpredictable weather made it all worth it in the end.

In the past few months we have also been talking to and visiting various people from Delia’s life. We were very lucky to talk with Brian Hodgson, who worked alongside Delia at the Radiophonic Workshop, and gave us a personal account of her and her work. We have also spoken with Clive Blackburn, Delia’s partner in her later years of life and Mark Ayres a composer who worked on the music for Dr.Who and a Radiophonic Workshop fan. We are hugely grateful for the time they have given to us and the contribution of their thoughts to the piece.  

We’ll be back in the rehearsal room later this month, finishing off and polishing our upcoming show. With only a couple of weeks left to go before we perform Hymns for Robots at the Belgrade on the 22nd, we’re pretty excited and nervous about this adventure we’ve all been on. It was only a year ago that we were told about Delia Derbyshire and her work, and now a year on, we’re hoping we can do her work and legacy justice.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all there, and being able to show you what we have been working on.

So keep your eyes peeled as we keep you up to date with all things Noctium.

 

Charles

Hey June

Dear Nocta-nauts (credit to Little Earthquake for that catchy name), the sun is shining and over the past few days it has been unbelievably hot, you may have noticed. I daren’t step outside because of that great yellow thing in the sky and if I do I’m sticking to the shade like some sort of ninja.

But as I sit here and write, there is a cool breeze coming through my window giving a sense calm amongst the mayhem. Its been a weird and heartbreaking month around the country, and if there’s one thing that I’ve noticed, it’s that we the British public know how to come together in times of crisis. It really is that quintessential British trait of just carrying on, no matter what.

We come together, we support each other and we move forward.

This was noticeable when Connor and I went up to Manchester back in May, only days after the attack at the arena, to visit the John Rylands library to look at the Delia Derbyshire archive. Yes, there was extra police presence, but were the streets deserted? Absolutely not! The city was going about its business as usual, so we did the same.

We explored all that the archive had to offer, and it had a lot to offer, we barely scratched the surface with the vast amount of information that was up for grabs. But it intrigued us and we felt we knew a little more about this iconic composer. A big thank you as well to Dr. David Butler of Manchester University for seeing us that day and telling us all he could about Delia.

We are now back in the rehearsal room working on our new show, Hymns for Robots. Our first objective; to collate all of our information that we had gathered over the past few months about the sound sculptress, Delia Derbyshire, and to put together a timeline of her life and the events surrounding it.

Look at all that paper! We seem to have really taken a liking to using paper and post it notes and writing everything down to see. Something we have Little Earthquake to thank for (again) with their continually helpful mentoring sessions.

Our next stop on our journey of sound was a quick visit down to London to meet Robin the Fog from Howlround; who use reel to reel tape to create their unique soundscapes. This was a real hit to the senses both aurally and visually. Seeing the tape machines in action, creating such fantastic sounds in minutes was truly remarkable, this experience really helped us delve deeper into the world of electronic music. We were fascinated by the music that artists such as Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer were producing and how ahead of their time they were considered, and how music is still influenced by it today.

POP QUIZ!

Pierre Henry wrote a song called “Psyché Rock” in 1967, can you tell me which animated series it might have inspired for its opening theme music?

 

We will be back at the Belgrade this September (22nd to be precise) with our work in progress event. We hope to see as many people there as possible! As well as a performance we will be holding a post show discussion so we can hear all of your feedback about our show. Don’t worry this won’t be the last you hear about this event, as I’m sure we’ll be reminding you over and over and over again!

All you eager beavers can click here to reserve your seats NOW, tickets are ‘pay what you can’.

So stay tuned as we keep you upto date with all things Noctium.

 

Charles

 

In the very, merry month of May.

Hello Noctium-ers, sorry for the lull in recent months, but hopefully these blogs will start to be more of a regular occurrence once I start getting my act together  *clambers up all of his loose pieces of paper, but then drops them immediately. There is an awkward pause…*

 

So what have we been up to lately?

Well, back in April we were lucky enough to have performed our new work in progress, The Woman and the Wobbulator, a story inspired by the life and work of Delia Derbyshire, as a part of the First Bite festival organised by China Plate. We were one of nine artists and companies performing at the mac in Birmingham which included, Jack AG Britton, Serious Business, Flickbook theatre, The Unhidden Collective, LaPelle’s Factory, Rebecca Atkinson-Lord, futuretheatre and Laura Ryder.

The day was split into two sessions, an afternoon and an evening showing, and we were the last of the afternoon performances.

Photos below of our performance, The Woman and the Wobbulator, photography c/o Arnim Friess

We felt very lucky and privileged to be a part of this event; to get to show our work and what we are about. It was also incredibly exciting to see that there are so many artists in the UK currently creating and producing work.

The midlands is a hub of creativity at the moment!

We are now moving forward with the new show, in time for another work in progress event later this year. We shall keep you posted on this as it develops but we are very much looking forward to it.

There’s no doubt in all our minds that this project will be our most challenging, but we are hoping we can do Delia Derbyshire justice, as a couple of weeks ago also saw the anniversary of Delia Derbyshire’s 80th birthday. To mark this special occasion to the iconic sculptress of sound, an evening full of electronic music performed by artists she had worked with and those who are still influenced by her work today, was put on at the Coventry Cathedral.

The event, Deliaphonic, was for one night only and artists such as Pete Kember from Sonic Boom and Howlround, showed off their musical talents and abilities all in the name of Delia.

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More recently we were accepted to be mentored by the fantastic Little Earthquake as part of their new mentoring program. Over the next year, they will be guiding us and Notnow Collective, the other successful candidates to be a part of this program, on how we can fully utilise our time and our skills as a company by parting their knowledge and wisdom onto us.

So, fuelled by tea, cake and biscuits we had our very first informative and post-it note filled meeting with them last weekend and we are very lucky to be learning from such a super, awesome and amazing company!

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So stay tuned as we keep you up to date with all things Noctium.

 

Charles

Berlin!

Hello all! Sorry for the quiet patch over the recent months, it almost felt like we crawled through January and February as the cold weather and Storm Doris darkened our doors, but now we’re in March and we are back! The days and are getting longer and warmer and that new show feeling is starting to bubble away nicely.

But what is the new show?

Well, as some of you may or may not know, we have been inspired by the life and work of Coventry born musician, Delia Derbyshire. You may not know her by name or sight but you definitely will have heard her music. She was a pioneer in electronic sound working with reel to reel tape and created the iconic theme tune for Dr Who and has inspired many of today’s artists.

(But she’s not the only woman to have worked with electronic music, see the other Pioneering women of electronic music.)

With our interest in Delia and synthesised and electronic music ever growing, this lead to the opportunity of Connor and myself heading out to Berlin for 2 weeks to work with and gain further knowledge from sound artist Wolfram Spyra and to create something to perform in a shopfront style space courtesy of Institut fur Alles Mogliche.

Being in a city with a vast history and culture was incredible, there was this sense that something was always happening. The instruments and gadgets that I got to play with opened up a whole new world of sound and music to me.

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I was hooked!

Everything instantly clicked and the essence of the show suddenly became more obvious to us. This notion of a Silent Disco, Synth Opera Rave was something that we could not get out of our minds.

The project we did out in Berlin revolved around the idea of splicing, and was a visual representation of how Delia worked, splicing reel to reel tape together to create her sounds.

The room was filled with pictures that we had edited.

Cassette tape hung from the ceiling.

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We took lines of text from books and made one long sentence that went around the entire room.

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Alongside that we also had a 15 minute music performance depicting different areas of Delia’s life and work.

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2 weeks gone in a massive Berlin blur.

 

But now this where the fun really begins…

We have just applied for our Arts Council funding and we are currently working towards performing at the First bite festival, run by China Plate, on the 22nd April at the mac in Birmingham.

We are very excited about this upcoming project and we can’t wait to see what the outcome will be.

So stay tuned as we keep you update with all things Noctium.

Synth-cerely (see what I did there?)

Charles

 

A Yuletide (b)log

Hello Noctium-ians (we’re still working on it) and Ho Ho Ho or Bah-humbug, depending on your mood.

That’s right, it’s nearly Christmas, so I thought that I would do a Christmas themed blog, which will be looking at how different cultures celebrate Christmas all around the world. Because I like Christmas, I enjoy the build up to it, and in general the day is pretty good. Spending time with your family, the food…all of the food.

 

 

 

OH MY GOD, THE FOOD!!!!!

Sorry, I think I passed out for a second.

I was going to concentrate on just one specific area such as other countries versions of Father Christmas, the food they eat or the cultural traditions that they have. Instead, this is a mixture of all that. I’ve been clawing through the internet and I have come across some funny, interesting and just down right strange traditions from all over the world and these are my favourite, in no particular order. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I did.

1) Iceland

The Yule Lads, apart from sounding like a great name for a boy band, are 13 mischievous creatures which have become a huge part in Icelandic Christmas tradition. They have been portrayed in various ways that have included gift-givers, pests and even bloodthirsty creatures who kidnap and eat children. (Who said this wasn’t going to be light-hearted?) But they are mostly known for playing weird tricks. One of the creatures known as Stekkjastaur, is said to walk on peg legs and harass sheep. (Well, we’ve all got to have a hobby). In the thirteen nights leading up to Christmas Eve, along with the Yuletide Cat who is known to eat naughty children, the Yule Lads leave gifts in the shoes of children who have been good, while children who have been bad are given potatoes.

2) Venezuela

It has become a tradition in the capital city of Caracas on the morning of Christmas Eve that all the roads are closed to cars, so people can roller skate to Mass.

3) Ireland

While most of us might leave Mince pies and a glass of milk out for Father Christmas (or maybe a Whiskey, if he’s been good) for the Irish it’s all about mince pies and a bottle of Guinness instead. They also use Guinness when making their Christmas pudding, it’s said that due to the high alcohol content it can last for months and even to next Christmas.

4) Czech Republic

“All I want for Christmas is…a shoe?” not quite the famous words of Mariah Carey’s Christmas hit but very apt for when it comes to Czech women’s love life and their unusual tradition. On Christmas Eve day Czech women will go out and stand with their backs to their house and throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the heel of the shoe lands towards the door, then she is to be single for another year. But if the toe of the shoe points towards the door, then it means that she should start making wedding preparations.

5) Italy

Much like Father Christmas, La Befana delivers presents to good children and leaves coal to those who have been naughty, the only slight difference being that she’s a witch and she rides around on a broomstick. (We’ll let it slide). She is often described as a kind woman, and is said to have given food and shelter to the three wise men, when they were on their way to visit baby Jesus. She’s also the best house guest you could ask for, as she is known to sweep the floor around the chimney on her way out.

6) Norway

Sticking with the theme of witches, in Norway it is an ancient belief that witches and evil spirits would steal brooms on Christmas Eve and ride around on them in the night sky. The solution? There is absolutely no cleaning to be done on Christmas Eve as all cleaning equipment is locked away. Oh, and the men fire their guns into sky to warn off evil spirits, just to be sure.

7) Japan

Nothing says Christmas better like the food; turkey, pigs in blankets, stuffing, parsnips. However, due to a successful advertising campaign back in the 70’s, KFC has become the food of choice for Christmas in Japan. Due to it’s high popularity, if you wished to sit in and dine at one of their fine establishments on Christmas, you’re going to need to make a reservation.

8) Ukraine

Instead of tinsel, Ukrainians decorate their trees in cobwebs. This stems from a legend about a poor widower who had no money to decorate her family’s tree and some very friendly spiders (ahh good old anthropomorphism) were so saddened by what they saw that one night, while the whole family were asleep, decorated their tree in gold and silver. From then on the family became prosperous, lucky and were never in financial trouble ever again. Therefore, Ukrainians cover their trees in cobwebs to signify wealth and prosperity for next year.

9) Germany

We all love a good game at Christmas and in Germany that well known classic, which we all love, involves hiding a pickle in the tree on Christmas Eve. Whoever finds it first on Christmas morning, gets another small present. I really hope it isn’t another pickle.

10) South Africa

We’re back to food again, my favourite part of Christmas if hadn’t mentioned, and if you wish to celebrate South African style then I recommend a fried caterpillar of the Emperor Moth kind. And you thought sprouts were bad?

11) India

The amount of Christians in India only comes to 2.3% but as India is one of the most populated countries in the world, that means a whopping 25 million people celebrate Christmas there. Thank goodness we have spare chairs in the back. Also, due to a lack of fir trees in the country, Indians use mango or banana trees as a substitute.

12) Canada

Did you know that there is an actual postcode area in Canada where you can send your letters to the North Pole? The rightfully named, HoH oHo. However, as it is not centrally addressed, thousands of volunteers help to respond to every letter, even ones sent in braille. Well done Canada, you win at Christmas!

 

There you have it. I hope you’ve all learnt something, as there’s going to be a test.

I’m kidding I would never hold a test so close to Christmas…it’ll be afterwards.

So from all of us here at Noctium, we hope that wherever you are and whoever you’re with this year, that you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.

 

Charles