WIP: Work in Progress was an accumulative one night only event held in Source Park, Hastings, the largest underground skate park in the world. We were commissioned by the Root 1066 Festival to create a closing event in a venue of our choice and chose the newly opened Skate Park due to it’s scale and the unusual nature of the space, which included the opportunity for the audience to look down on the performances allowing them to play with perspective and perception. WIP traversed the length of the park starting at one end and finishing at the other, encouraging the audience to move with the performances. We devised and directed all performances presented during the event, which threw up many technical challenges over the 6 months of preparation and rehearsals due to the scale and nature of the venue.

Source Park is housed in what was formally a Victorian baths which originally opened in 1878.

On entering the space the audience were taken back in time with a field recording of a public swimming baths playing over the installed soundsystem, the visual element, featured in the largest of the bowls in the park, was a projection mapped animation of water gently rippling, giving the appearance of being full of water in the centre of the park. This evoked memories for a few of the attendees as the venue was still used as a swimming pool up until 1967. We researched the patterning of the pools original floor and recreated it for this introduction to the performances.

The first performer of the evening was well known and loved local street performer Noel Wilson, who has been playing his accordion in Hastings town centre with his dog Snowy by his side for over 15 years. We presented Noel against a backdrop projection of a park to a static audience, in order to appreciate the haunting sound of his accordion enhanced by the venues unique acoustics, rather than pass him by.

At the rear of the park a collaboration between percussionists Fritz Catlin (23 Skidoo), Simon Charterton (The Higsons/ Near Jazz Experience) featuring John Pope also known as the WooWay Allstars followed next. We commissioned the percussionists to use the park as an instrument so after a couple of weeks of early morning rehearsals (before the park opened) they performed a 20 minute set which saw them utilise every inch of the ‘Street’ section of the park using a whole array of objects including brooms, brushes, sticks and irons to bring the area to life, with contact mics picking up the subtleties of the sounds they were making heightened by fx pads.

Simon and John moved in to position at the middle bowl of the park and took up their instruments, as the bowl filled with the image of St.Leonards on Sea’s front, Micheal Smith already in his place above the projection accompanied by a soundscape created by Fritz for ‘Sound of the Sea’. We hired drone company Drone On to record the walk along the front from St.Leonards to Hastings to accompany a commissioned piece by writer/ artist/ performer Michael Smith. We asked Michael to reflect on his first year as a Hastings resident and imagery it has provoked. The full version of Michael’s performance is below.

The final performance of the evening came from a collaboration between Riz Maslen (Neotropic) and three pro riders from Source Park. We commissioned Riz to make a piece of Musique Concrète using only sounds of the bikes on and off the surfaces of the park. Riz spent time underneath the bowls recording the sound of the BMX’s hitting the wooden structures and whirling round the basins, documenting the sonic relationship between the park and the riders and then constructed a 15 min track to accompany a performance by pro riders Leigh Neal/ Tony Winter and David Brunger.

Technicians/ production:
Rigger: Mark Perrin/  Audio Engineer: Darren Morris/  Audio Technician: Marley Cole/  Craig Crouch @DroneOn/  Light and Audio install: Ryan + Lewis and staff @Select AV/  Production assistance: John + Julie @Joule Arts + Events

Special thanks to:
Polly Gifford and staff @Root1066
Marc + Rich, Matt and all staff @Source Park
Graeme Furly/ Geoff @Mystic Lights/ Remzi @Nazir

Filming: Indiana Hamilton Brown and ZEROH/ Edits: ZEROH/ Photography by ZEROH Drone filming: Craig Crouch