Proto-type Theater

Proto-type are a company of multi-disciplinary artists led by Rachel Baynton, Gillian Lees, and Andrew Westerside.

We make and produce original work that is diverse in scale, subject and medium. Recently, this has included: touring theatre (Third Person: Bonnie and Clyde); site-specific performance (Through the Walls); a two-week long theatrical experience using pervasive technologies (Fortnight), and a multimedia concert-performance featuring a laptop orchestra and animation (The Good, the God and the Guillotine).

We have been making and producing work since 1997, in the US, the Netherlands, Russia, China, Armenia, France, Zimbabwe and the UK. Proto-type have been based in Lancaster’s Storey Institute (2006-2010), Manchester’s Northern Quarter (2010-2014), and have recently re-located to Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter.

Critics have called our work ‘an intriguing brush with altered reality’ (New York Times), ‘daring, experimental and theatrically engaging’ (Theatremania) and ‘enthralling’ (Zambezi News).

  • Image: The Good, The God and the Guillotine. Photograph: Proto-type Theater
  • #AMTSB © 2016, Proto-type and Adam York Gregory
  • Image: Whisper
  • Image: Third Person Bonnie and Clyde Redux
  • Image: The Good, the God and the Guillotine

Productions

A Machine they're Secretly Building

  • Duration:
  • People on road: 4
  • Freight: No freight necessary
  • Freight details: Most items can be transported via excess baggage with some items sourced locally.

Description:

 

Proto-type Theater
A Machine they’re Secretly Building
“I want you to know what’s happening…”
From what might be a news desk, an office, a bedroom, a bunker under a mountain or a theatre, two people - reporters, senators, freedom fighters, or just… well… concerned citizens like you - think about what it is to speak up, speak out, blow the whistle and lift the veil.
A Machine they’re Secretly Building charts a course from the Top Secret secrets of WWI intelligence (via the moon, 1972’s Chess World Championships, a disco in Oklahoma and the cafeteria at CERN) through to 9/11, the erosion of privacy, Edward Snowden and to the terror of a future that might already be upon us.
Proto-type have combined original text and classified intelligence documents with film from digital artist Adam York Gregory and sound design by Paul J. Rogers, to vent their frustration at the insidious machine of surveillance.
A Machine they’re Secretly Building is about how we got to the point where our governments are spying on us and how that’s changing who we are.
“Intelligent agitprop... a eulogy from the end of history”
“Think Adam Curtis meets Chris Thorpe meets Proto-type!”
- AUDIENCE COMMENTS

I want you to know what’s happening…

From what might be a news desk, an office, a bedroom, a bunker under a mountain or a theatre, two people - reporters, senators, freedom fighters, or just… well… concerned citizens like you - think about what it is to speak up, speak out, blow the whistle and lift the veil.

A Machine they’re Secretly Building charts a course from the Top Secret secrets of WWI intelligence (via the moon, 1972’s Chess World Championships, a disco in Oklahoma and the cafeteria at CERN) through to 9/11, the erosion of privacy, Edward Snowden and to the terror of a future that might already be upon us.

Proto-type have combined original text and classified intelligence documents with film from digital artist Adam York Gregory and sound design by Paul J. Rogers, to vent their frustration at the insidious machine of surveillance.

A Machine they’re Secretly Building is about how we got to the point where our governments are spying on us and how that’s changing who we are.

Intelligent agitprop... a eulogy from the end of history

Think Adam Curtis meets Chris Thorpe meets Proto-type!

- AUDIENCE COMMENTS

The Good, The God and the Guillotine

  • Duration:
  • People on road: 8
  • Freight: No freight necessary
  • Freight details: All materials can be shipped via excess baggage, assuming tables and projection surfaces can be sourced locally and that adequate sound provision is provided locally.

Description:

The Good, the God and the Guillotine is a multi-layered show which features sung performance, bold animation from Adam York Gregoryand, and a specially composed score played live by a laptop ‘orchestra’ MMULE (Manchester Metropolitan University Laptop Ensemble).

 

It’s an atmospheric, film-noir-like piece of music-driven theatre which crosses genres and artistic disciplines. It takes the form of an opera or concert, with a prologue, distinct songs, recurring themes and a dramatic conclusion, but borrows its style of delivery from spiky and boisterous gigs.

There are three singer-performers and three laptop musicians performing live against a backdrop of lights, projections and hand-drawn animations that call to mind pop promos and graphic novels.

This production is suitable to all audiences and would work well in either a theatre, opera or music programme.

Fortnight

  • Duration:
  • People on road: 3 (minimum), 4 (maximum).
  • Freight: No freight necessary
  • Freight details: All materials fit in excess baggage.

Description:

Fortnight is a two-week long, fully immersive experience based in the interactions and communications of daily life, through ubiquitous forms of technology. Up to 200 participants sign up to receive communications that are delivered to their mobile phones, email and home addresses; these messages contain a series of poetic nudges that encourage those participating to question their sense of place. Participants also receive daily invitations to visit locations throughout their city where they can pause to reflect on what it means to be here now.

Fortnight enables participants to interact with and perceive the world around them as the performance itself; the place where we act out our own daily lives. 

Wraparound work

Proto-type leads workshops, master-classes and training sessions for a wide variety of groups. To date, this has included professional performers in Busan (South Korea), Yerevan (Armenia), Dublin (Ireland), Harare (Zimbabwe) and undergraduate students in Bristol, Leeds, Crewe, Scarborough, Lincoln, Preston and Lancaster UK as well as Asheville (NC), New York and San Francisco, USA.

Proto-type are able to run workshops in devising, new writing and working with technology, and to create one-off performances with local groups. In addition, the company offers the following specific workshops:

 

Making Theatre

Age 15+ all skill/experience levels, max 25 participants Half and full-day versions available.

This workshop will introduce participants to techniques for creating their own unique performance material by drawing on their own stories and experiences.

 

Pervasive Theatre

Age 15+ all skill/experience levels, max 20 participants Half and full-day versions available.

This workshop exposes participants to techniques for using pervasive media, especially mobile phones, to create theatrical experiences. Participants will explore different formats of writing and will create small 'scratch' performances which can be developed after the workshop.

 

Video Foley:

Age 15+ all skill/experience levels, max 25 participants | Half and full-day versions available.

This workshop builds on the work of Proto-type’s Virtuoso (working title) and allows students to explore the use of live video in performance. Proto-type company members will introduce participants to the technology used in Virtuoso (working title), demonstrate the construction of perfect televisual images from fragmented live source material and lead the group in creating short performances using the technology.

 

Headphone Performance:

 Age 15+ all skill/experience levels, max 25 participants. | Half and full-day versions available.

This workshop includes a primer on the creation of live sound effects using the film technique ‘foley’ and will see workshop participants creating their own short performances using this technique. Participants will also learn how to use the headphone technology employed in Proto-type’s Whisper and will work in small groups to develop original material.

 

Using Technology in Performance:

Age 18+ artists and undergraduates, max 15 participants Full day

This workshop looks at issues of using media in performance and explores techniques for using live feeds, recorded video, screens, projections, televisions, the internet, GPS and other technology in the context of live performance. Participants will be exposed to case studies from Proto-type’s work and from the work of other practitioners and will create short performances of their own to conclude the workshop.

 

How to Give Feedback:

Age 15+ all skill/experience levels, max 20 participants | Short (1.5 hours).

This workshop is a primer for how to get and give constructive feedback when showing work in progress or completed performance work. It is most appropriate for practicing artists but can be adapted to work with university groups or colleges. Participants will learn about “critical response,” a technique developed by the American choreographer Liz Lerman, and will employ it to give constructive, useful feedback to each other.

The company is also available to teach devising and other less specialised workshops upon request and we are happy to create custom workshops where appropriate. Contact us at admin@proto-type.org to request a workshop.

Press Comments & Testimonials

"This is beautifully crafted stuff that has a broader relevance and audience than a traditional theatre company based in one city could manage."

Tina Jackson, The Metro (Manchester) 

“Keep an eye out for this adventurous group...”

 Jason Zinoman, Time Out NY

“…one of the more adventurous, innovative, and worthy cutting-edge groups that I know of.”

Martin Denton, The New York Theatre Experience

"Whisper is quite simply an extraordinary piece of theatre." 

Carole Gordon, Whatʼs On Stage

"...spare and strong, and has plenty to say about the madness of love, and about the fragility of conventional ideas of law and morality, faced by a stronger force, in a brutal world."

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman on Third Person: Bonnie and Clyde Redux

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Details

Artistic Director(s)

Rachel Baynton, Gillian Lees & Andrew Westerside (Wes)

Contact details

Gillian Lees
Co-Artistic Director

Lincoln, UK

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@Proto_type RT @mail_bird: Astounding theatre from @Proto_type last evening @the_spring with an audience including college students, telling us what we…
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@Proto_type @mail_bird @the_spring Thank you @mail_bird! We were so pleased to be able to come to @the_spring. Thank you for sp… https://t.co/FGnJoA1kB9
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