This week, we spoke to our Senior Lecturer and Technical Director Andy Hurst about his work here at Canterbury Christ Church University, and his personal research.

 

What is your teaching specialism?

Much of what I teach relates to technologies for theatre and live performance. Lighting, sound and projection are fascinating and creative areas of performance practice and it’s great working with students who are keen to explore not only the supporting role that these elements can have in live work, but also the creative and aesthetic impact that great design work can bring to any piece.

What made you want to start teaching here at Christ Church?

I started as a sessional lecturer teaching at the Broadstairs campus delivering modules in live sound and computer based music production. Not long afterwards the University decided to start a Performing Arts degree based in Folkestone and somehow they found out that I used to work in theatre and I was duly dispatched to teach on the new programme. Then someone then took pity on me and gave me a full time contract.

What kind of research do you do outside of university?

All of my research is within the University! I’m currently exploring the ways in which projected light can be used as a scenic device. I use a lot of theatrical haze and data projectors all controlled through iPads. Using these tools have an installation piece called On Slow Violence that will be presented as part of the International Projections Festival at the University of Kent later this month (19th and 20th March). It’s an interactive piece, so people can come along and play with it.

http://www.kent.ac.uk/projections/news/index.html?view=252

How do you feel this work influences your teaching?

I’m keen on pushing the creative role that technicians can play within the development of live performance work. Traditionally, lighting and sound have played a submissive role to the live performer on the stage and I’m trying to push the technology more to the foreground. I really like working with technicians who may think they have a purely functional support role in the work that they do. I try to show them that they can be creative and produce standalone work in their own right.

What would you say to any prospective students coming to Canterbury Christ Church?

Christ Church has such a community feel to it. The Creative Theatre Production students that I work with are a tight knit bunch and I see them all very much as a crew, working with and supporting all of the live performance that we, as a School, produce. It’s a very active, vibrant place and my advice would be to get stuck in as much as you possibly can; SU societies, choirs, instrumental ensembles and student run performance companies all exist to make time here really engaging. As the old adage goes, the more you put in, the more you get out.