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The Flying Bedroom: Collaborative Immersive Theatre Project

4 December 2020

Filed Under:

Design for Performance

Just before the March lockdown Firefly publishers invited the College to adapt one of their childrens books through a collaborative music/drama project.

Choosing The Flying Bedroom by Heather Dyer brought together student designers, composers and musicians to create a blend of puppetry, music, song and movement to inspire young people – and so, the collaborative immersive Flying Bedroom Theatre Company was born.

Faced with the possibility of shelving their brand new project until lockdown had finished, they decided to buckle up and get on with the flight:

‘Their work is a beautiful example of creative collaboration and community engagement, and their collective mission is to inspire, support and entertain,’ said Head of Music Performance, Kevin Price.

‘It’s a joy to support them, and to know that their work will continue to grow, develop and thrive.’

The Flying Bedroom Company

We asked the Flying Bedroomers how it all started:

Flying Bedroom rehearsal - the students stand around the stage, one at the front with a model of a bed with a puppet in it, one with a cello, and the others singing

‘The Flying Bedroomers built an unbreakable and unique bond with each other over lockdown. Separated by the virus but connected by a passion, we’ve worked hard to produce something spectacularly magical in preparation for the day that un-socially distanced theatre resumes. For many theatre companies it will be a case of finally hitting play after a long pause, but for the Flying Bedroomers it’ll be the start of something totally and utterly new.

For that reason, the greatest level of care was taken in the making of this show, and it is very near to our hearts.

Elinor the puppet is held by a student, looking out from her bed at a student dressed as an Astronnaut

Elinor and the Astronnaut

The project is designed for touring and outreach in schools and venues around Wales and was originally intended to form part of a Family Day at College in November. We decided to go ahead with an internal showing of the work for an invited RWCMD student and staff audience to give us with verbal feedback at the end of each performance.’

The Musical Director

‘It’s been such a positive and enjoyable experience to write music for and be part of The Flying Bedroom Company,’ said composition student Natalie Roe who is currently in Finland as part of the Erasmus scheme.

‘Despite being in lockdown in our separate houses all over the UK we still managed to work together remotely and I was able to workshop my musical ideas and hear them instantly.

‘The process consisted of exploring fragments of music and themes for each scene which I brought to the performers by playing ‘together’ over zoom.’

‘We then each recorded our own part which I layered together to create a track for each scene. As the play then developed we moulded these tracks to fit the correct durations and staging.’

The Designer Puppeteer

‘Design-wise it was also a completely different process because the performance was being created at the same time as the show was developing,’ said Design for Performance student Ruby Brown. ‘On top of this we’ve obviously implemented social-distancing to ensure it’s a safe show, and that’s meant the design has changed so much from the initial drawings.

‘I’ve always been interested in devising theatre and working with a company to create a story.

‘It’s been a challenge but I’m proud that we have been able to produce work with restrictions in place, and I’m excited to see what the show will become without them!’

The Actor Musician

‘We’ve become so tight as a group of six that I can trust that everyone has my back at all times,’ said percussion student Mary Johnson.

The company in rehearsal, dressed as pirates, circling round the puppet Elinor in her bed

Pirates! – the Flying Bedroom Company in rehearsal

‘There’s a lot of improvisation, which keeps me on my toes. Every time I perform I get to play something slightly different, because we have learned the music from memory. Combining this element of surprise with acting really makes this a unique performance.’

‘We have worked collaboratively, whether in a rehearsal room or over a zoom call: we move as an ensemble, we connect with each other and we just have a good time doing it!’

The Actor Musician

‘This year has given me a lot of time for self-reflection,’ said violin student Chloe Dickens. ‘I really love playing in a symphony orchestra, and of course this year we haven’t been able to do that. It made me think about what it is I really love about that experience, and I realised it’s being a small part of a much bigger complete thing. And I’ve now found that again by being part of a start-up theatre company.

We’re so lucky to have the time, opportunity and support to explore these different options and discover new passions.’


And news just in – The Flying Bedroom will be appearing at Show Face Festival later this month:

With huge thanks to all in The Flying Bedroom Company

Beatriz Viña-Miller – Design for Performance
Ruby Brown – Design for Performance
Natalie Roe – Composition
Mary Johnson – Music
Michael Needle – Music
Mischa Jardine – Music
Chloë Dickens – Music

All photos: Sebastian Lewis – Actor

Next year the Flying Bedroom project will visit Galeri and Theatr Clwyd, as well as tour local schools, supported by the Gaynor Cemlyn Jones Trust.

Follow the Flying Bedroomers on their exciting journey @FlyingBedroom, and on Instagram, Flying Bedroom 

To find out more about studying at the College go to our website.