On Monday 2nd July 2012, Ravensbourne hosted the I, Cinna event I mentioned in a previous blog post. This brought together the talents of students from a wide range of course backgrounds, as well as providing a rich collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Cisco, educational network provider Janet, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The event was based around a film of a play by Tim Crouch, who has produced a series of works that pull out minor characters from Shakespearean classics and tell their stories. I, Cinna (The Poet) focuses on a character from Julius Caesar, Cinna (The Poet), and recounts his struggle with words and their relation to political strife. Ravensbourne students shot and edited the film of the play, using a 4K RED digital film camera to produce an entirely professional piece of video.
But the event was so much more than just a film of a play you can watch over the Internet. The I, Cinna film was embedded into a live studio event hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, who chaired a discussion with Tim Crouch, the film’s actor Jude Owusu, and popular children’s author Malorie Blackman. This live TV studio production was entirely run by Ravensbourne students using Ravensbourne facilities.
Streaming into secondary schools across the UK via Janet’s servers, the event was watched by nearly 9,000 students. Their teachers had used the materials available on the I, Cinna microsite (www.icinna.org.uk, which is no longer publicly accessible) to prepare their students for the experience. This site was designed and built by Ravensbourne students, according to the specification provided by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The site was also the focus of the live event.
During the play, students were invited to write their own poems, and the microsite provided a space where these could be uploaded, displayed, and viewed. The microsite also hosted a live instant chat engine, which could be used during the event to send questions to the panel for the post-film question and answer session. Also during the event, which received rave reviews from teachers and students alike, Minister of Culture Ed Vaizey watched proceedings alongside students at the Phoenix school in Shepherds Bush. His feedback was very positive indeed, and the project was featured in a long article in the Evening Standard.
This was a huge collaborative project, and at times a massive strain. But the event was an incredible success, and illustrates what is possible when different media are blended together, and also the capability that Ravensboure has to stage an event of this magnitude. You can still watch the film of the play I, Cinna (The Poet) on the RSC’s website, although the original microsite has had to be removed for contractual reasons.