Blackout Immersive to run at PLASA Show 2019
Friday, 23 August 2019
blackoutsocialmediawebtwitterpost1024x512pxBlackout is appearing at the PLASA Show (15-17 September, Olympia London)
UK - Blackout, an immersive installation designed by Mig Burgess to raise mental health awareness, will be presented at the PLASA Show from 15-17 September at Olympia London.
After an initial run at Guildford School of Acting earlier this year (see LSi June 2019), the project, which fuses cutting-edge technology, art, theatre and education, will visit the tradeshow as it gears up for a nationwide roll-out.
Blackout aims to give visitors a rare insight into the mind of someone with bipolar II disorder by utilising light, sound, video and vibration, creating a sensory journey into the mind of a bipolar II patient who transitions through a hyper manic and manic low episode.
The experience has been created for a single viewer and lasts six minutes. Entry is free, but those wishing to attend need to choose a preferred date and time through this booking form.
Burgess, a lighting tutor at GSA and an experienced production LX, has suffered from the disorder for most of her life.
She says: “I’m a creative - it is far easier to express my feelings through art than through words. I see Blackout as much more than just a design installation. I want to provoke more discussion around the topic of mental health in this industry, and beyond. I want to encourage people to be honest about their mental health, to talk about it and be open. It’s only through discussion and openness that we can educate others to understand more, and be more understanding.”
The creative team behind Blackout is a collective of recognised professionals, including theatre director Simon Anderson, award-winning video designer Finn Ross, Paul Burgess of Sadler’s Wells and sound engineer Zoe Milton.
The installation has been experienced by 250 industry professionals, young people and mental health experts at its launch at the University of Surrey and has received significant support from the industry, including from key sponsor Robe Lighting who provided the initial funding and the brand new T1 fixtures and Cycbar 15s for the installation. The installation has also been realised thanks to the support of Blue-I, Hawthorn, HD Pro Audio, Light Initiative, ETC, MDG, Nocturnal, Shure, Stage Sound Services, and White Light.


“It’s been lovely to see the industry pull together non-competitively to support this project to promote mental health awareness,” concludes Burgess. “Our industry has been slow in acknowledging the effects of mental health and there has never been any significant research for this industry in this country about how it affects people who work in it.”
To address this, Dr Paul Hanna, senior lecturer and research director in clinical psychology at University of Surrey, will be conducting industry-specific research alongside Blackout at the PLASA Show in a bid to understand the attitudes to mental health problems and how to improve support. This research has been commissioned by PLASA, PSA, the ALD, the ASD and ABTT.

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