Whispers of Something NewOn May 10, 2020 by Jasmine Bowen
It was only about a week into lockdown when I messaged the team about an idea we had. We had already done a few live streams and workshops online, but I thought that there was a possibility we could do more.
An actual show? Online? Could we….is it even possible?
As usual, my amazing team responded with enthusiasm and eagerly began putting ideas into our office messenger system. As our fingers flew over the keyboard, we decided this was the perfect time to learn something new. As a historical theatre company, we did use technology to communicate with clients, market shows and plan travel, but that was all. Live streaming and interacting from our own houses was a whole new challenge…but we were up for it!
Whispers was born out of a discussion about folklore stories and how they came to be.
For the first one, we stepped back to the early 1800s in Ottawa, Canada. As the company was born in Ottawa, we thought it a fitting place for our first online adventure. What an adventure it was!
Daniel (as Antoine Robillard) the head of our French division, Joshua, our lead show designer, and I, headed out into the forest. We had a tripod, lights, mics and a fake camp fire. As the sunset, we set up while maintaining social distancing, and waving to those who were walking their dogs. We did a sound test with Ian, our associate artistic director, who had to mime his approval over video because we couldn’t hear him once the lav mics were connected to the phone (side note: we are good at charades!). We messaged Jeremy, our head script writer, for final notes and then at 8pm sharp, we turned on the live feed.
We were blown away by the response. Over 50 people logged on to watch and interact with the story of 2 travelers lost in the wilderness. They voted on which stories to hear and what to do with Kay (me!) the mysterious thief who may be not quite what she seemed.
On the Monday after the show, we began to plan a whole new season of Whispers. We allowed the audience to pick the time period this time, via social media voting, and they picked the roaring 20s!
This time, we decided to create mini-episodes, each with hints of the season finale, if you will. Dorothy Livesay (aka Alecia), Frank Plant (aka Sully) and Arthur Sicard (aka Ian) all made an appearance in short episodes, before Harold “Doc” Oakes (aka Joshua) and Pegi Nichol Macleod (yours truly) got into a mysterious speakeasy in the finale!
We learned a lot from Whispers! In my house, “Friend” (also known as Book and Gram, if you joined the speakeasy) has become a permanent staple, ready for our next adventure.
And what is our next adventure? I’m glad you asked! We wanted something different, something that we could never do on a regular tour. We loved the social media live interactions, but we missed seeing the faces of our audience.
After searching our minds and the endless resources online, Ian came up with a brilliant idea:
We are leaving the wilderness and the speakeasy to sail the high seas! That’s right, our immersive adventure hit, Round Table, is boarding the RMS Carpathia. Titanic fans may feel the name rings a bell. This is the ship that rescued the Titanic passengers. On May 16th, at 3pm EST, we invite you to step back in time! We are only opening 20 spaces for this adventure, and we’d love to have you come along.
Details about the experience can be found at: https://livehistoryshows.com/blog/events/round-table-international-waters/
We hope that you all attend this adventure, but if you can’t make it, don’t worry! Stay tuned for more adventures on sea and land coming up soon!