An historic cinema brought to life by sound designer Aurelia who re-imagined the cinema’s original 21-piece orchestra in an installation combining historical references with immersive sound technology. Paignton Picture House opened in 1914, is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Europe. In its early days it featured a 21-piece orchestra, with each member paid a guinea to perform.
Drawing on archive materials of Paignton Picture House Trust and local memories, Aurelia created a new site-specific work, inspired by the original accompanying orchestra, transporting audiences into an Electric Sound Palace. The work featured the Torbay Symphony Orchestra performing music from Beethoven and Shostakovich. Where the 21 piece orchestra once was, we installed 21 loudspeakers.
In collaboration with The Media Workshop we re-introduced the live element, creating a “playable” orchestra which the audience controlled with their seats!
Sound Designer’s Scoop
“It was really exciting to experiment with interactive “playable” tech for this project. We wanted to reintroduce some tension into the cinema which is typically a very controlled performance space. As with most audience participation this became something of a social experiment. Arduino switches programmed into 100 year old cinema seats. ” (Chris Timpson).