Low-tech multimedia

There will have to be a few changes to this presentation.

I said last week that my job is to get rid of all the boring bits in the Industrial Revolution, and stick to the stories of inventors and things blowing up. Thing is, when we are talking about inventions there sometimes have to be some technical details: for example, it is all very well me explaining that James Watt made steam engines useful, but if I don’t explain the reason why a Watt steam engine is different to the previous design, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The reason, of course is that Watt introduced the condensing chamber, a simple but revolutionary addition that…

You’re drifting off already, aren’t you?

So last week I decided we’re going to have a multimedia presentation, or to put it anther way, I’ll be drawing pictures live as I tell stories. This is partly because I have an aversion to high-tech solutions to just about anything, but also because this is a live storytelling evening, so I want to make the drawing live too. If I draw a steam engine, all it takes is a few extra lines to show the changes that altered history, and we can move along before people start snoring…

No pictures of alligators though, sorry about that…

History, without the boring bits…

Books_BWThe research is done, I’ve read my books, the useful bits anyway: I won’t have time to explain the importance of the new banking system or the repeal of the Calico Act, which I suspect will be a relief to all. That’s kind of the point anyway: this is a storytelling evening, not a lecture: people come to hear about jealousy, love, exploding steam engines and people being fed to alligators, not long rambling essays and dates.

Unfortunately people who write history books don’t seem to think this way, so I’ve been digging through acres of paper. I think the current ratio is about fifteen laws and two chapters on banking for one Alligator…

The final straight…

Apologies to George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel...

The new poster: click for a big version…

I’m coming to the final stages of preparation for the Industrial Revolution project: today I sent the posters and postcards to be printed, which is a great relief, and I’ve found time to adapt them for a couple of header images: if you click on the picture above one will appear sooner or later.

More importantly I’ve decided which stories will be included, and which stories won’t, -which is a far harder decision because I want to include all of them- what order to put them in, and now I’m working on making them understandable, exciting, and interesting.

There are some great stories which I’m really looking forward to telling: some are funny, some quite incredible (The incident with the engineer and the alligator comes to mind) and some are simply tragic reminders that the changes were not welcomed by everyone.

All these stories now have to be packaged together, told, retold, and timed so I don’t go over the promised 90 minutes, and presented on the 4th and 11th of July. See you there. If you were at the last presentations and you enjoyed it so much you want to come again, don’t forget to bring a dozen of your friends…

New Workshop: ‘Macbeth’

Macbeth front small text“Shakespeare reloaded: Macbeth” is a journey for students and others who are studying Shakespeare in English. The workshop starts with a look at why Shakespeare wrote ‘Macbeth’ (Hint: It pays to write what your sponsor wants to hear) why the witches were so very important to the audience and the king, and ask “Where did the rest of the play go?” After this we go through the play, focussing on the important scenes and discovering hidden meanings (and comedy) in the text.

If the school wishes to go further, this can lead to hands-on workshops with writing assignments and role play in English and German. The goal of the workshop is a safe, fun, non-embarrassing session to help students gain a deep understanding of the story in both languages.

The original design of the picture featured a  dagger shape in the ‘blood’ but this looked too nice and controlled so I changed it to the ‘splatter’. Not overdoing this effect was possibly the hardest part: there’s a lot of blood & violence in ‘Macbeth’, but not that much…

More news on ‘steam and pirates, the industrial revolution evening, next week…