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Graduate Tic Ashfield: Composing a Soundscape for National Theatre Wales

6 May 2020

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Ripples, part of the College’s NEW:2020 season, has been reimagined and recorded using the original RWCMD cast, for an online production – thanks to National Theatre Wales + Sherman Theatre Network Play Readings initiative, in collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Arts.

Graduate and Sound Designer Tic Ashfield was commissioned to write a new soundscape for the production. She tells us more about creating music from home for a brand new way of performing plays:

Tic at her home desk – with her ‘producer’

“Having not been on the previous production it was slightly intimidating but also a real thrill to be asked to create music and sound for a show in such a short amount of time. At the start of the process I read through the script a few times, trying to absorb as much of it as I could before chatting with Matthew, the director.

The great thing was that he has already done the show before and so he was very clear on where he wanted music and sound, the kind of sonic aesthetic that he was looking for and importantly, what the function of the sound and music was.


The Creative Process

The process was strange yet familiar. I joined a Zoom based read-through of the script, something that felt familiar and yet so unusual to do it online! I always find read-throughs hugely helpful in mapping out where there should be musical support both in scene and in transitions between scenes.

I feel like I don’t truly get a sense of a work until I’ve heard it read out loud by the actors so these are always very important for me! I got to writing the music as quickly as I could. After my initial creative chat with Matthew I created a ‘master project/track’, a piece of music which outlined the soundworld and main themes etc.

Then I went through the play chronologically, composing music and sound for key moments and then mapped the whole show out to script in Qlab.

Plotting sessions over Zoom was another new experience for all of us! Fortunately, I’m surrounded by a fantastic stage management team as well as Dewi Jones who is implementing the technical aspects of the show.”

Tic has created music and sound for numerous projects including work for film, TV, theatre, dance, animation, installation and educational outreach projects. Among her many commissions and collaborations she has worked with BBC, Fiction Factory, Creative Assembly, National Theatre Wales, The Royal Court and Welsh National Opera.

One of her latest projects is with National Dance Company Wales, which is streaming live on Thursday 7th May.

Follow the link to find out more:

Tic is a creative team member at both John Hardy Music and Winding Snake Productions and has led music workshops for companies like WNO, working with young people from junior school age up to sixth formers. She also lectures in Composition with Technology at the College.

As a composer and sound designer she focuses on using a combination of found sound manipulation and sampling, synthesis and instrumental writing to create bespoke soundworlds, often within collaborative settings.

Keep up with Tic’s latest news on her website:

Read more about Ripples online, and about RWCMD’s Composition course on our Study Here pages.

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