Alex McLean is a well-known artist, musician, researcher, and coder based in Sheffield. He is the creator of Tidal Cycles, free software for writing music, and is one of founders of live coding and the algorave phenomenon.
Alex actively builds communities in the areas that interest him, and in this episode we talk about some of the events, festivals and groups he’s been instrumental in developing, including Algomech and Dorkbot London.
He’s also an academic researcher on the Penelope Project, and we discuss his particular interest in the seldom-acknowledged connection between weaving and modern technology. Alex explains the loom punch cards aren’t the interesting bit – it’s the interference patterns we should be focussing on.
This episode includes a live-coding demo. If you want to download TidalCycles and try it yourself, the code Alex was working with is:
Nathan Geering is a dancer, teacher and innovator known for his work with visually impaired people. He has created dance that’s accessible for visually impaired people to both watch and participate in, and has begun to develop a beatbox shorthand system as an alternative form of audio description for movement. Nathan was the Artistic Director for the Special Olympics in 2017, and has a great TEDx talk online which I recommend watching as a follow-up to this podcast.
In this chat, we discuss how Nathan’s kung-fu background helped him get up to speed when he started out dancing for the first time in his twenties. We also talk about his projects and achievements, the importance of presentness, how to create your own success, how technology contributes to depression and anxiety, and how an awareness of the body has helped him to overcome fears through developing a physical curiosity about them.
Maggie Nolan is a consultant and trainer, bringing techniques from improvisation practice into businesses. She launched her agency Start With A Yes over a year ago, combining years of experience of teaching and performing and applying them in a fresh context – to business.
In this chat we discuss the improv scene in the UK, how long-form improv works, and the range of reactions to ‘applied improv’ – particularly when it turns up unexpectedly in your office.
We also chat about the differences between teaching children and adults to “yes, and”, some of the many problems improv can solve in corporate workspaces, the triumphs and struggles of women in the comedy world, and more.
Sara Green is a dancer, choreographer, movement director and film-maker. She’s collaborated with artists and other performers across theatre, film, fashion and dance. Her recent work includes Richard Ayoade’s vignette for Radiohead, short film The Entertainer starring Toby Jones, and Anita & Me, a world premiere for the Birmingham Rep.
In this chat, Sara talks about the differences between working with dancers and non-dancers, and explains how she communicates movement to actors who don’t have a dance background. We also ponder ways of embodying science through movement, discuss Sara’s history and unique physicality, and talk in particular about the Manchester International Festival commission she’s created, Superposition.
Ben Moor is a seasoned and innovative storyteller with multiple Edinburgh shows under his belt – mostly one-man shows. Ben’s work is sensitive and often surreal, as he challenges the audience to follow him on journeys through worlds peppered with delightful ideas.
We chat about Ben’s shows, the benefits of doing Edinburgh runs, how the Fringe has changed between generations, how to close the gap with audiences, where ideas really come from, how to learn lines, and more. We also leaf through his enormous file of ideas!
Sophie Rochester is a creative entrepreneur of significant standing, appearing on numerous lists of top business people in her industry. She is known for always being one step ahead of industry trends, and taking her ideas in bold and ambitious directions.
Sophie has a background in publishing, and founded The Literary Platform: a consultancy and online magazine that bridged digital and storytelling, and investigated the lessons of this union.
An advocate of both making and learning, Sophie’s latest venture is Yodomo.co, a start-up committed to delivering the joy of making through online video.
Katie Day is the Director of Birmingham-based theatre company, The Other Way Works. She creates exciting and innovative experiences for small, highly-engaged audiences, and often deploys technology in interesting ways. Her work often uses the real world as the set, with productions set in hotel rooms, car parks and even the audience member’s home. Katie’s latest production, A Moment of Madness, will be showing at Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) from the 2-4 August.
Amongst other things, we discuss her lifelong love of making experiences for others, the role of imagination, the therapeutic effects of theatre, and why it makes sense to overlap performance with reality.