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The Biography of a Text – The Spoils

Project Background

The Spoils began in 2007 as a musical stage play written by Steven Dykes (Rose Bruford College American Theatre Arts Programme Director) with a score composed by Paul Englishby and commissioned by RBC graduate company, The Shady Dolls. The production was revived in September 2009 as part of the Arcola Theatre’s “Grimeborne Festival”.

In 2010, The Spoils entered a new development phase forming the basis for a simultaneous live and on-line performance exploring the technological and dramaturgical relationship between text, music, space and live streaming video. This strand of the work was developed as an RBC research project with the support of Knowledge East, the business-focused network of the nine major universities in East and South East London, and in collaboration with NXT (New Cross Theatre), Shady Dolls Theatre, and the RaveMedia team at Ravensbourne College.

A “proof of concept” version of the piece was performed at Rose Bruford College’s Come Together Festival, Symposium 2010.

Play Synopsis

A dilapidated Manor House requisitioned by an army of occupation; its ground-floor crudely adapted into temporary offices and interrogation rooms, its cellars into makeshift holding cells. One empty space overlooking the grounds has been converted into a recital room, in which female soldiers have been pressed into performing for an apathetic audience of soldiers. Access to the upper floors is restricted.

A music-loving army official, assigned the menial task of interrogating the low ranking secretaries of a defeated regime, finds his idealism sorely tested by women whose survival has been determined by their refusal to compromise.

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