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Bristol researcher brings Fireworks to the Old Commonwealth Museum

Helen Cole, director of IBT13 and creator of We See Fireworks

Helen Cole, director of IBT13 and creator of We See Fireworks Oliver Rudkin

Press release issued: 7 February 2013

An art installation developed at the University of Bristol comes to the Old Commonwealth Museum next week as part of In Between Time 13 (IBT13), an international festival of extraordinary theatre, live art, dance, opera, feasts, talks, parties and public art happening in venues and public spaces across Bristol.

We See Fireworks – a light and sound installation formed from hundreds of voices gently unfurling in the darkness – was devised and created by IBT13’s director Helen Cole, a visiting fellow in the University's Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television.

The piece is an archive of living audience memories where funny, haunting, vivid stories of incredible performances gathered from around the globe remind the audience what lies at the heart of every theatrical experience.

Helen Cole said: "We See Fireworks, which was developed at the University of Bristol and now tours festivals and events around the world, is not only an intense audiovisual experience for audiences but an on-going piece of research.  It collects fragments of audience experience as it tours the world, and feeds these into the next incarnation of the installation ensuring hundreds of voices are heard as the work continues to evolve."  

Audiences are asked for memories of a moment of performance that has changed their life or stuck with them in some way.  This 'firework memory' could be a traditional memory, like a moment on stage at the theatre or it could be a dramatic or memorable moment from their own lives.  The best of these are recorded and edited into the installation.

The piece will run at the Old Commonwealth Museum (now called Brunel's Old Station) by Bristol Temple Meads Station from Monday 11 February to Saturday 16 Feb, 11 am – 6.30 pm, (admission free).

We See Fireworks is just one of over 50 artworks which will spill out from leading arts spaces (Arnolfini, Circomedia, Wickham Theatre) into Bristol's docksides, streets and alleyways during IBT13.  The festival involves more than 90 artists from all corners of the globe who will fill four days [14-17 February] with unique events, premieres and new commissions.

IBT13 is produced by In Between Time in collaboration with Arnolfini.  The Festival is funded by Arts Council England and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation with support from the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council.  We See Fireworks is supported by Bristol Temple Quarter Commissions.

In Between Time and the University of Bristol

Helen Cole created the In Between Time Festival at Arnolfini in 2001, as an international biennial of live art and future performance practices.  In 2009, she was invited to become a visiting fellow at the University of Bristol where she established In Between Time as an independent organisation.  In Between Time ran its offices from the University until 2012 when Arts Council England funding enabled the company to expand.

As part of the partnership between In Between Time and the University, Cole works closely with researchers at the University on projects such as the major AHRC-funded initiative 'Performing Documents'.  She also brings practice-based researchers and leading international artists to the Department of Drama and Wickham Theatre for public events and performances, and offers mentorships and industry placements to University students and graduates.

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