Yesterday I spent several hours in a really cool recording studio in a basement in Armley doing a voiceover for a new show (not mine, someone else’s).
It was a slightly chaotic experience with small children running overhead and me trying not trip over my words too much or stand on the large, sheepskin rug of a dog that kept planting itself at my feet, but I really enjoyed myself. It felt good to be involved in a creative project again…
This one is called Roseville. It’s a promenade performance piece on Roseville Road which intertwines the stories of the past and
present, what we see on the road today and the people who lived and worked there years ago. It’s about Leeds, how it has changed and all the different people who have shaped it. The primary narrative is about five generations of a fictional family called Rose but it is based on real accounts collected from the people the creative team met during the development of the piece.
This immersive experience for everybody is created by A Quiet Word and mixes live and pre-recorded performance and dance, and is accompanied by an exhibition in the New Roscoe pub, where the walk begins.
Where do I fit in? I am The Voice of The Road. I am the storyteller, setting the scene, giving the audience instructions through their headphones and sharing stories from the past.
It’s a bit of a new experience for me. I don’t think I have ever done a voiceover before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been taken on the walk so I knew the rough shape of the piece, I had read an early version of the script so I knew some of the stories I would be sharing but I wasn’t sure of how to convey ‘roadness’.
Let’s not get in to any puns about me having a ‘gravelly voice’ now.
Alison Andrews, the project leader, was with me and we had talked about how the road is not necessarily a passive observer. It has a shared history with those who have lived on it and over time they have made a physical impression on it – there’s a beautiful line about how the road is like a blackboard, covered in faint traces. It has to convey a sense of knowledge and worldliness. I tried to focus on sharing the stories, and being rooted. As part of my role is to guide, I also tried to convey warmth, a fondness for the people in my stories…
I hope I did Alison and Matthew Bellwood’s beautiful words justice.
It seemed to go pretty well, bar a few expletives and belly-rumbles. Alison and Gideon, our sound producer, were very patient with me. We were finished in good time and treated to freshly made Coconut Macaroons! Now my part in this collaboration is over. The raw sound file has been handed over to the Roseville tech team to edit in all the pauses for the action, so the whole track runs to the correct time.
It’s always weird hearing your own voice back but that is only part of the soundtrack the participants will hear. There will be ambient sound, not to mention the real-life sounds of Roseville Road as we travel it. It’s a complex piece with so many different elements, like life. I can’t wait to see the finished product in it’s entirety.
AND the tickets are free. So you should come and see it too.