A book by Russell Hoban, adapted for the stage by Red Earth Theatre, and music composed and performed by us!
We were lucky enough to work with Red Earth Theatre on their show 'Soonchild' which toured the UK during Winter 2019!!
Red Earth create accessible shows for the D/deaf community and we were commissioned by them to create the musical score for the show, and also to perform said score on tour with them which was incredibly exciting! We were on stage playing, and will be involved with all the action as our placement is crucial for access!
Our newest album 'When The Raven Comes Calling' features some of the music we created for Soonchild!
As well as integrated onstage music with the piece of theatre, there was a variety of access channels, including In Ear Monitoring System, British Sign Language and Creative Captioning. Along with use of Sign Song and shadow puppetry, this multi layered concept of completely integrated theatre is genuinely innovative and very exciting!! As far as we were aware, this level of D/deaf accessible musical theatre hadn't happened yet, so the whole thing is literally amazing!!
During a Research and Development period during 2018, kindly supported by Arts Council England, we worked with Red Earth and took advice from Music and the Deaf in order to create an accessible music score for the show. This period massively influenced our writing, and has had a huge impact on how we view music. We have learnt a lot about how D/deaf people can access music, through visual placement of the musicians, facial expression and movement, vibrations and instrument frequencies to name but a few, and it is amazing to realise that there is a way that everybody can access music, and that even hearing people can access music in ways that they don't expect!
We therefore feel that it is our responsibility as musicians to improve the access in our general performance, and we are really passionate about doing so. The Guardian wrote in 2018: 'With one in six people suffering from hearing loss in the UK and around one in 1,000 children born profoundly deaf, the lack of accessibility to live music for deaf people is a significant challenge, and deaf fans believe too little is being done to serve their needs.' We are trying to do something to change this.
Here is Red Earth's description of SOONCHILD:
'Dig out your snowshoes for an Arctic Adventure with live music and songs, 3D and shadow puppets, creative captioning, integrated sign language and song, plus the cosmic brilliance of the Northern Lights.
Set somewhere north of the Arctic Circle, Soonchild is the story of a shaman known as Sixteen Face John who feels out of step with the modern world. John’s wife is expecting a baby, but the Soonchild refuses to be born until she can hear the World Songs – special music that is essential for the world to exist.
So, John sets out on a quest which takes him through many life-times, and thrilling encounters with a constellation of cool characters and animal spirits – including the most magnificent of all Polar creatures: the Ice Bear. John must find the World Songs for Soonchild and save the world, before it’s too late.
So big-hearted, this show will melt an iceberg.
Soonchild sparkles with Red Earth’s dynamic performance style, puppetry and physical comedy. All wrapped around with exquisite folk fusion music from Threaded and the glorious light patterns of the aurora.'