Thursday, 22 October 2015

When Alice DJ'ed at Wonderland...

The other weekend, I was transported into a fabulous adaptation of 'Alice in Wonderland' at the Solstice, Peterborough, to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the novel. I was honoured to be asked to curate a series of tracks to set the mood throughout the daytime and night time activities. 'Wonderland' was a collaboration of over 20 artists, including the nationally toured 'Circa69' and their virtual reality experience, 'The Cube', as well as live painters, acoustic artists, dancers, bands and spoken word performers. Local musican, Paulo Morena was also one of my highlights, he entertained everyone by playing several instruments at once, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the other acoustic performances throughout the day. In addition, we were fortunate enough to be treated to some visual delights at a 'Mad Hatters BBQ' installation, curated by some very talented artistic interns as a part of the local youth arts network, 'Emerge', and my friend and professional actor, Ross O'Dell. And who did I go as? Alice, of course!

The Emerge installation was a key point for me, as I have been working with them in my day job in our city centre incubator centre. We recruit three artists on a paid contract every 6 months as a part of the 'Peterborough Presents...' Arts Council funded programme, where my role is to then support them to work in an established arts placement relevant to their practice (usually outside of the city in bigger cities, like London). We also deliver a bespoke business training programme to them, to assist them on their journey towards becoming sustainable artists. Generally they can be from any artistic background, but this time we've recruited three visual artists, so they were all put to the task of creating some impressive displays!

Musically, this was a real challenge for me, because using new styles of music that I am not used to means that learning how to work with it and create something can be hard to master straight away. A few months ago I encountered a similar experience when I was asked to DJ a 1920's Gatsby party. To be honest, initially I had no clue how to do this, as as great as 1920's style music is, I didn't think it would get this particular crowd onto the dancefloor. I used this as an opportunity to learn and open my eyes to new types of music that would work. Electro swing anyone?

For this particular request I decided to create several mixes to fit the ambience and theme of the day, ranging from trip hop, to electronica, tech house and glitch house music. Check out one of those mixes below!

Overall I think the organiser, Nucleus Events did a fantastic job and it was amazing to see a local event that had more to it than just the usual run of the mill activity produced by the 'Peterborough Presents..' project.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your feedback!

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