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VELOCITY LAB

In 2012, Powell created Velocity Lab, which linked professional creative teams in different regions of the world – London, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin and Singapore – to develop new material for stage, film and television. By using broadcasting and telepresence technology, this cross-border collaborative lab enabled artists to interact with other artists of various cultures as well as access remote audiences via the Internet. For more info: http://timewavefestival.com/velocity-lab/

Velocity Lab MethodologySee coverage from Broadway World.

Exploring a new methodology for content development, Velocity Lab developed 10 projects over a three-month period – September 30 to December 16, 2012. Rehearsed readings were scheduled between the five cities on a weekly rotation.

The lab’s primary objectives were to:

  • Encourage vigorous dialogue and exchange across cultures;
  • Provide a safe, risk-taking environment and international creative community for writers with the support of professional directors, dramaturges, actors and other fellow writers;
  • Develop new works that exhibit original voices and stories reflecting the author’s culture;
  • Support material from diverse styles and in various stages of conception;
  • Expose new work and talent to audiences across borders via digital technology; and,
  • Build a bridge between development and production by exposing submission-ready material to artistic directors, producers and creative executives. As the fulcrum between East and West, London presented four projects. The other cities presented two projects each. Writers were matched with directors and casts from different regions to promote cultural exchange. For example, the London hub worked on a piece by a New York-based playwright; the Los Angeles hub presented a British TV pilot.

Velocity Lab aimed to develop material in three mediums – stage, film and television – and did not discriminate between the mediums. From our perspective, strong dramatic narrative holds water irrespective of the medium. Playwrights can write screenplays; screenwriters can write plays. The overarching goal of LoNyLa was to empower artists to transit between mediums seamlessly as well as between geographic regions.

Each project (rehearsed reading) was broadcasted live over the Internet to the other cities. An interactive feedback session was conducted between the cities via video conferencing, which created an instantaneous feedback loop.

This development process enabled the writer to receive script notes from diverse groups – i.e., local and remote audiences – in real time. Given the time zone differences between East and West, Velocity recorded projects and posted them online for 24/7 access.

Velocity assigned a director and a dramaturg to each project. We scheduled the project for a rehearsed reading/broadcast in the hub that would lend the greatest benefit to the writer. For example, a British writer wanted to forge stronger ties to the New York theatre community. An American writer preferred to work with a British cast on a new play.

Velocity Lab Broadcasts and multiple-city feedback loops took place at the following spaces:

London: “Campus” – Google’s vibrant new complex for the digital startup community in Silicon Roundabout (Shoreditch). 4-5 Bonhill Street, London EC2A 4BX

New York: New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Acting. 721 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Los Angeles: Esperanza Productions On The Paramount Studios Lot. 5555 Melrose Ave, Lucy 102, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Singapore: New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia. 3 Kay Siang Road, Singapore 248923

Berlin: English Theatre Berlin. F40 Fidicinstrasse 40, 10965 Berlin

VELOCITY LAB GALLERY

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Velocity Lab 1
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