Anglia Ruskin's Festival Week branches out!

Published: 25 May 2012 at 10:14

Students take to the great outdoors for innovative music and drama performances

Anglia Ruskin University’s annual Festival Week in Cambridge, run by the Department of Music and Performing Arts, is breaking new ground this year with mobile sound walks and site-specific performance as part of their programme of events.

Sound walks are location-based works experienced using headphones either with an mp3 player or mobile phone, and are intended to be heard in a specific place.  The works range from audio guides to mini-dramas, experimental documentaries and ambient soundscapes, with listeners guided by a map.

Third year BA (Hons) Creative Music Technology and BA (Hons) Music students taking the Radiophonica module have made a number of imaginative group works featuring locations close to Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus, including the River Cam and the Mill Road Cemetery.  Each work explores different approaches to drama and place, from gothic horror, to natural disaster and street crime.  

The project is sponsored by Visualise, Anglia Ruskin’s public arts programme, and is a collaboration with Enrique Tomás of   The noTours Android mobile phone software enables sounds to be triggered by location using GPS technology, allowing listeners to take the walk at their own pace.

Senior Lecturer in Creative Music Technology, Dr Tom Hall, who has supervised the students’ projects said:

“Sound walks are an emerging genre of public sound art, so it was exciting to collaborate with noTours to enable this project. Students responded with imagination and ingenuity, the fruits of which you can now enjoy.”

The mobile sound walks will take place on Thursday, 31 May (1-5pm) with a talk by Enrique Tomás and Dr Tom Hall at 12pm in Lord Ashcroft Building 028.  

Meanwhile, Drama and Performing Arts students are also exploring the great outdoors as part of their graduating projects at Wysing Arts Centre in Bourn, Cambridgeshire. 

Members of the public are invited to join the performers as they encounter, explore, re-imagine and recreate the landscapes and environments around them through stories, texts, soundscapes, movement, surprise and suggestion.  This afternoon event (2-7pm on 7 and 8 June) offers the opportunity to picnic, relax and explore Wysing’s beautiful rural setting.

Student Rob Wells said:

“Wysing Arts Centre is a magical setting where visitors will be able to enjoy contemporary performance in nine acres of beautiful countryside.  The audience will be able to explore the site along with the performers and experience a very different kind of theatre.”

Fellow student Pamela Jenner said:

“Taking performance out of the traditional theatre setting and into the countryside has been both challenging and enormous fun, and has given us the opportunity to experience a new dimension to the concept of devising.  We have discovered that wind, rain, sunshine, flying insects and even barking dogs can have a major impact on performance!”

For the full programme of Festival Week events, please visit