Matthew Sommerville

Quintessence of Dust by Matthew Somerville

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I have always been interested in the hustle and bustle of the theatre, such as everything that goes on literally behind the scenes in the weeks and months before in order to make the work of art that I see as a member of the audience on a particular night. It’s one of the reasons I set up Theatricalia – – to record details of as many productions as possible, letting people see the history of people, places, and productions as they each move through the theatre world.

With the advent of the World Shakespeare Festival, I thought it would be interesting to be able to see an overview of the productions involved in the Festival across the country. As I’m a web developer by profession, I naturally wanted this to be a website-based data visualisation – one that as well as an animation showing the overview, allowed people to interact with it and find out more information about the events covered.

From the Shipwreck Trilogy in Stratford-upon-Avon and London at the Roundhouse, Forests at the Birmingham Rep, or Y Storm (The Tempest) at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, my work provides a summary of the Festival productions and associated events.

Matthew Somerville is a web developer based in Birmingham, working for mySociety on sites such as FixMyStreet and TheyWorkForYou. After finding it hard to discover what other productions the brilliant actors of the RSC Histories Cycle had been in, he set up as an open, editable, repository of theatre productions. It currently contains almost 24,000 productions, dating back to the sixteenth century production of Julius Caesar at the Globe.”

Quintessence of Dust is one of three myShakespeare commissions from Caper.


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