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Isolation Interviews: Robyn Whiteoak (DMU x Gecko)

Next up on my Isolation Interviews series is Robyn Whiteoak who is a De Montfort University Performing Arts student. We discuss the student's lastest project where they're working alongside the internationally renowned physical theatre company Gecko Theatre. Due to the current situation, the students have adapted their performance and made it virtual. It'll be premiering over on the YouTube channel on Monday 20th April at 7pm.

Q - Firstly, could you please introduce yourselves and tell me a bit more about yourselves and your backgrounds?
A - We are a group of 18 final year students studying performing arts at De Montfort University, Leicester. The course itself is extremely varied, meaning students have the opportunity to explore various aspects of performance such as voice, movement, tech and devising. We all specialise in these different aspects but as a year group, our main interest is physical theatre/devising original work. Throughout our three years of study, we have truly become one big family.

Q - As students at De Montfort University. How are you all finding this time of isolation?
- Isolation definitely seemed stressful and scary at first. Things started to move so quickly, with uni closing and our modules morphing and changing. However, our lecturers are so supportive and they’ve really helped us pull through these strange times. We’re just trying to remain positive and use all this time to be creative and work hard!

Q - Can you tell me more about the project you're currently working on?
- The project forms part of our degree, entitled performance company. We apply to get onto the module and work as an ensemble to create a performance from scratch, with an established theatre company or artist. We also take on different roles within the company, such as marketing (my role), stage management, project management and costume/props. This year, we were all so excited to hear it was Gecko. Throughout the course, Gecko has been an inspiration to us within our work, both in the making process and stylistic qualities. The module consists of three intensive weeks where we work with someone from Gecko to explore and devise, in order to create a final performance. 

Q - You've adapted your performance making it virtual as you're unable to perform it on stage. How much of a challenge was this?
- Due to the current situation, our previously live physical theatre performance has now become virtual. At first, the idea of attempting to create a physical performance through video calling seemed impossible! However, with the help of Chris from Gecko, our inspirational lecturer Rosie and of course, each other, we have managed to pull it together! The process involved working each day intensively, through video calls, meetings, video tutorials and exploring by ourselves. Adapting our performance was challenging but exciting, knowing that we were creating something entirely different from anything we had done before. It has proved to be such an opportunity for us, and other creative people, to produce amazing work and we are so excited to be part of that.

Q -Your performance will be streamed on YouTube from 20th April. Why should audiences choose to watch it?
-  Below you will find a trailer for our upcoming performance, as well as the full virtual show when it premieres on 20th April 2020 at 7pm. People should watch it because we truly believe it is unique and an opportunity for audiences to experience creative work in a way that they may not have before. We have worked so hard to pull this together and we just want to bring some positivity and creativity into a world that has become so surreal.

I'd like to thank Robyn for giving her time and for answering these questions and to wish all the students all the best going forwards. Please visit the DMU x Gecko Youtube page by clicking here where their performance will premiere on Monday 20th April at 7pm. You can also follow the projects Twitter by clicking here, their Facebook by clicking here and their Instagram by clicking here. You can find out more about Gecko Theatre by clicking here.

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