I spent this morning at Dundee Rep at the media preview of the forthcoming National Theatre of Scotland’s (NTS) adaptation of the Swedish vampire love story, Let The Right One In.
Eve Nicol ‘Digital Associate & tweeter’ for NTS (@NTS_Eve) tweeted last night for a handful of bloggers to come along and join the press and TV crews for scene previews and interviews with the cast with the aim of widening audience reach through social media.
The play looks absolutely stunning – a forest of silver birch trees have been brought from Perth – Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane (Macbeth was another recent successful production for NTS). I could drop in literary references (just did) and talk (badly) about the beautiful but uneasy set, the passionate but dark relationships between generations, but I’m going to talk about Service Design.
The multiple ways of experiencing the Let The Right One In is a great example of enabling different people to engage on different levels with a common event.
The NTS worked with Dundee games design company Quartic Llama and Dundee Rep to produce an app Other which leads users in a dark location based game around the city of Dundee. Content for the app was generated by the National Theatre of Scotland’s Learning department and community groups, secondary school pupils and students from the University of Abertay, Dundee College and Dundee University, to source Dundee-inspired stories, games, music and short films.
The NTS, Dundee Rep and their partners have developed a beautiful ‘service blueprint’ of a service that:
- creates awareness through traditional and new media channels and via co-design of components (stories, app etc.) and not least of all the unsettling poster with the bleeding eyed child which has stared out at school children across Dundee from posters, buses and flyers.
- enables various ways of joining – professionals and ‘amateur’ reviewers given equal access, participants in the development of the stories and apps publicising and attending performances, gamers using the app, plus incidentals of interactions caused by ‘touring’ the city using the app. Additionally, there is the international online community, the Infected, who are afficionados of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, and the films on which the production is based. They are involved in the NTS production on a virtual experience level – several members of this community have arranged a scheme with NTS, where they nominally buy tickets for the theatre production, which are given to school students in Dundee for free, and the purchasers are sent Dundee production merchandise for their collections.
- the experience develops over multiple channels, social media, in the theatre, playing the app, reading reviews, sponsoring tickets
- users leave with a positive experience – the story, merchandise, community
And I haven’t mentioned what a fantastic, and non-starry experience interviewing the cast was…
Mike Press (@mikepress) opened in character as Jonathan Ross, with a question to Lorraine McIntosh about the challenges of meeting expectations of those who have read the book and seen the films. McIntosh (below, right) discussed how the depths and darkness of the relationships between the characters played out differently in the theatre, with the proximity of the characters allowing a more sympathetic approach to the darkness and seeing the deep love in the murderous relationships.
Angus Miller’s (below, left) story of being expelled from Dundee High School, going on to Craigie High, Dundee College and then the Drama Centre in London was a parable of just doing what you believe in. Martin Quinn (below, centre in the lead role of Oskar) will have Dundee teenagers beating down the doors to the Rep Theatre. You can get tickets here.
I’m not a theatre reviewer, I’m a lecturer in Service Design at DJCAD, Dundee University, and guess what guys, next Thursday’s lecture on Service Blueprinting is going to talk a lot about Letting The Right One In. This is what we do.