Saturday 10 November 2018 – Wednesday 2 January 2019

Returning to Waddesdon Manor for a second year, Guildhall School of Music & Drama Production Artists have been commissioned to create installations, inspired by the Manor’s art collections, as part of Waddesdon’s annual festivities: Christmas Carnival, Saturday 10 November – Wednesday 2 January 2018.

Projected onto the façade of the 19th-century Stables, in the grounds of the Manor, the wintry tale unfolds through three sections, featuring characters from an extraordinary manuscript in the collections at Waddesdon, the Ballet Royale de la Nuit. This document contains the sets and costumes of an all-night ballet danced at the French court in 1653, in which the young King Louis XIV appeared for the first time as the Sun King. It has its own music and libretto, written by Isaac de Benserade and composed by Jean de Cambefort, Jean-Baptiste Boësset, Michel Lambert and others. The eight-minute projection is one of three sections that the Guildhall School of Music & Drama have created, along with an outdoor audio trail and a family-friendly immersive walk-through sculptural tunnel of light.

Dan Shorten, video projection lead at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama commented, “We’re so pleased to have been commissioned by Waddesdon Manor as part of their Christmas celebrations once again. Our Production Artists are regularly engaged for high-profile public facing work using the latest technology. They provide a professional level of service each time and this mindset is cultivated from the very beginning of their training. Our artists are very excited to be working closely with the team at Waddesdon to create something spectacular for the festive season.”

Pippa Shirley, Head of Collections and Gardens at Waddesdon commented, “We are delighted to be working again with the talented young students from the Guildhall School. It has been so exciting to explore the collections with them, and see what inspires them, and how they respond. They look at Waddesdon with fresh eyes and individuality, and, through use of the most up-to-date technology have created a digital spectacle completely in the spirit of the Ballet de la Nuit, which was after all designed to amaze, delight and impress.”

The show has been created by three students on the BA (Hons) Video Design for Live Performance and three students on the BA (Hons) Production Arts programme with support from Shorten and Jon Armstrong, Lecturer in Lighting Design & Technology. As part of their research, students visited the Manor to explore the collections and went on to digitally map the Stables to enable the projection which requires six large format projectors for 170 square metre façade and created a bespoke soundscape to accompany the audio trail. In addition, the music heard throughout has been composed by musicians at the Guildhall School, led by Head of Electronic Music Mike Roberts, and recorded by alumni and current students at the School. The installation runs throughout the daytime and evening, and will be seen by more than 100,000 visitors.


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