Gareth designed and mixed the sound for this new short film, Home, made by 59 Productions and Richard Curtis. The film explores the notion of what it is to have a home, or to be without one, and is tied into the launch of the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It was shown to an audience of thousands in at the Global Citizen concert in New York's Central Park and was broadcast on BBC1 and MSNBC.
Working with 59 Productions, Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin created a sound design to accompany 59's projected artwork celebrating the launch of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which was projected on the side of the United Nations building in New York this September. We also provided modified versions which were used for broadcast on BBC1 and MSNBC.
After 5 years of workshops and experiments Complicite's The Encounter has opened Edinburgh's International Festival. The project has taken me further than most - myself, director/performer Simon McBurney, photographer Chloe Courtney and guide Paul Heritage spent 5 days in Brazil in 2014 staying with a community of Mayorunan's, the tribe who feature in the story of Amazon Beaming, which this show is based around - hearing their stories and travelling into the rainforest to record it's sounds. Several hundred mosquito bites later those recordings form the bed for the show. Since then I've been binaurally recording Cessna aircraft, various mosquito colonies at the London School of Tropical Medicine and leading a merry band of volunteers around Epping Forest - though perversely I got more mosquito bites in Epping Forest than I did in the mosquito colonies.
Photos by Gareth Fry, Chloe Courtney and Simon McBurney
It's all very well having lots of binaural recordings to play in the show but they mean nothing without headphones to listen to them through. Most shows that use binaural sound go down the wireless headphones route, but I didn't feel the quality was up to the needs of this show. Further experiments ensued to develop a wired headphone system that could deliver the sound to over 500 people, one that could do weekly touring with a variety of different auditoria and seats. Custom hardware was manufactured by a team of sound engineers and seamstresses across the country, and the show requires the installation of several kilometres of cable, ably installed and managed by Joshua Robins, Shaun Clark and Andrew Kirkby. Sennheiser have very kindly provided us with HP02-100 headphones to use for the show.
Whilst the headphone system requires a lot of preparation, The Encounter is also a devised show - the script came out of rehearsals as a process of experimentation and refinement. In fact our press night in Edinburgh marked only the 5th time we'd ever run the show from start to finish. The show is and will remain in constant flux so we can change and refine the story as we go. To do this we have an unusually large sound team. We have Helen Skiera operating microphones and loops - busking with Simon the different voices and microphones he will use and looping them, alongside Simon's onstage looping controls. We have Ella Wahlstrom operating and Pete Malkin, design associate on music and fx, playing in and riding the level of the music, sound effects and voice-overs to the headphones and wireless speakers around the space. Between them they can respond fast to changes in the show, whether pre-arranged or as they happen during performance. One of the large parts of the many weeks we've spent making this show has been about learning how to respond to Simon, to anticipate and to lead with sound, so that together we can act as one, and the division between storytelling and sound design are non-existent.
For me this show started out in a rehearsal room five years ago with rudimentary technology as we explored the ideas that would form the show. We've harnessed the technology so it becomes invisible - but far from inaudible! - and indivisible from the process of telling the story.
★★★★ Time Out ow.ly/QP8Py
"jaw-droppingly sophisticated sound design"
"nature, technology and theatre all straining cacophonously at the possibilities of what they can be"
★★★★★ The Daily Telegraph ow.ly/QMvpo
"What you hear has the intimacy of someone whispering in your ears, as if snuggled up beside you. But, more than that, thanks to an array of sonic gadgetry ... the effect is fully immersive – so that you hear sounds from all sides, conjured with disconcerting pinpoint precision."
"perturbing, polyphonic paradise."
"we too are taken into a synapse-altering space, floating free of modernity’s plastic trappings. Does that sound like a far-fetched claim? Honestly, with this head-turning, spellbinding show, hearing is believing."
★★★★★ The Independent ow.ly/QMvzV
"A must-see - or perhaps I should say, a must-hear."
★★★★★ Financial Times ow.ly/QMvHG
"a rich and intricate soundscape ... this one-man show bursts with colour and life, a seamless blend of technology and storytelling."
★★★★★ The Scotsman ow.ly/QMvLH
"a complex, beautifully-balanced and almost infinitely inventive stream of live and recorded sound, delivered to the audience on headphones,"
★★★★★ The Herald ow.ly/QMvX5
"sound designer Gareth Fry ... [has] integrated a dazzling technical display into McBurney's journey ... in an astonishing theatrical feat where discovery is all."
★★★★★ Variety ow.ly/QMw6S
"Gareth Fry’s design piles up layers of sounds — recorded interviews, foley effects, a soundscape of McBurney’s home study. The effect is a soundcloud of a process, in which fact and fiction, past and present, research and production intermingle, spinning a story out of the air."
★★★★★ The Stage ow.ly/QMwgg
" the performance is transferred from the stage deep into the heads of the audience (literally, or so it feels). ... his whispers move around the inside of your head: the way stories are heard at night by a child on the way to sleep, ... Advanced technology and storytelling are married to take a great yarn deep into its roots"
★★★★★ WhatsOnStage ow.ly/QMxlA
"This extraordinary show is a sonic blast and a half ... Sometimes you catch yourself turning around in your seat, so convincing is the wrap-around aural babble of voices, insects, crackling fire, rushing rivers."
★★★★★ The British Theatre Guide ow.ly/QMwpy
"McBurney and his hidden cohorts create some amazing visual and more particularly audio effects ... sounds that initially emanate from his actions begin to reverberate and take on lives of their own."
★★★★★ Edinburgh Guide ow.ly/QMwPj
"a vividly evocative soundscape with its myriad of voices and music revolving in our mind."
★★★★ The Guardian ow.ly/QMwvJ
" In a solo performance made with many people ... he pulls the thread of a story from out of the noise of contemporary western life and the sounds of the jungle to create a meditation on interconnectedness, perception and time."
"McBurney’s piece is a Chinese whisper of a show from a far-distant world that is delivered straight into the audience’s head using binaural technology and headphones."
"the technology combines with McBurney’s dense, complex storytelling to lure us deeper into the thickets of the imagination where time is not just one dimension, where there are many different kinds of language and where jaguars hunt."
★★★★ The Times ow.ly/QMxdt
"this revelatory new one-man show from Simon McBurney and his company Complicite, can make you hear the world through new ears".
Find out more at Complicite's website.
Edinburgh International Festival
8 – 23 August
8 – 12 September
Bristol Old Vic
18 – 20 September
Warwick Arts Centre
8 – 11 October
12 February – 6 March
17 – 19 March
I am very pleased to be able to announce that I am designing the sound for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. It will be opening at the Palace Theatre next year, and it is a reunion of most of the Let The Right One In creative team. Plus music by the amazing Imogen Heap.
I did the sound design for this animation for Oxfam, discussing coal pollution, climate change and overpopulation. Animation was by Joseph Pierce and the other geniuses at 59 Productions. Music for the German and French versions was by Jeff Beal (House of Cards), and for the UK version was by Origamibiro. The English version is narrated by Simon Pegg, who sadly I didn't get to meet as was busy in Prague.
In 2014 I spent a few days wandering around the Glastonbury Festival with a binaural head and a bunch of other microphones. Not to record the music, but to record the rest of the festival. I was there with the V&A Theatre & Performance in a first wave of archiving Glastonbury. As well as this we knew we were going to be producing an exhibition for the Prague Quadrennial.
On May 27th the exhibition opened in Prague, featuring a simultaneous quadrophonic soundscape over speakers and a binaural soundscape over headphones!
"its world pulses with otherworldly undercurrents, beautifully sustained by Gareth Fry’s sound design" Ben Brantley, New York Times
"Gareth Fry did the sensational sound design." Ben Brantley, New York Times
"Gareth Fry's soundscape sends a menacing pulse through the action that resolves into the thump of a frightened heart." Susannah Clapp, Observer
"Accompanied by Gareth Fry’s evocative sound design, the production constantly teeters on an anticipatory edge, toying with the film’s horror origins but converting it to a more fitting level of suspense for the stage" Ian Foster, The Public Review
"t's as unexpected, and as unusual, as anything on Shaftesbury Avenue in recent years, with ... a soundscape by Gareth Fry that sets new standards in atmospheric scariness." Michael Coveney, WhatsOnStage
"There’s an air of wistfulness, longing and loneliness to John Tiffany’s appealing, occasionally ethereal production, which is underscored by a thrillingly haunting soundscape from Gareth Fry." Fiona Montford, Evening Standard