Wedgwood Institute Monologues
The 'Wedgwood Monologues' is a Heritage Lottery funded project in partnership with the New Vic Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent. The project was also partly funded by the Princes Regeneration Trust and Newcastle Borough Council.
Moonbrushed Media has been lucky enough to be a main collaborator and training provider on this very exciting project. We have been responsible for delivering all the filmmaking training to the young participants as well as overseeing both production and post-production.
Participants were trained using a variety of professional filmmaking tools so that they were able to bring their writing to life in the most creative way possible.
Images from the premiere screening held at the New Vic Theatre, March 10th 2017
This project has focused on young people from Stoke-on-Trent researching, writing and filming a series of monologues which are based upon real people and events.
The project came about after discussions with young people about the local area and its history. They felt disconnected from their own heritage and roots although many of them were interested in history. The group wanted to learn about the buildings in the area and several of them had walked past the Wedgwood Institute and wondered what it was or ignored it completely. They did lots of research into the building and its history over the years before they finally visited the Institute and were amazed at the size, atmosphere and grandeur of parts of the building which was reflected in their responses. The young people were suddenly able to appreciate the part that this iconic building had played in people’s lives.
It was wonderful to meet people who had connections with the building during our oral history sharing event. The group had been asked to reflect on the processes of sharing stories, about questioning and techniques to get the most interesting responses. They enjoyed gathering stories that made the spaces come to life.
Working with a spoken word poet and a writer, provided fantastic opportunities for the group and a way to use the inspiring stories they had collected. Before the filming day, they were taught about filming equipment, techniques, setting the spaces and creating atmospheres. This was something that most of the young people had never experienced before and gave them a whole new perspective on drama.
The Wedgwood Institute
The Wedgwood Institute was built in the 1860s as a place of arts and science education for the working population of Burslem. The Grade II* listed building has an elaborate terracotta facade with panels detailing the processes of pottery making and a life-size sculpture of Josiah Wedgwood, in whose memory the Institute was built.
Over the years, the Institute has been used for many different purposes including a public library, an arts school, a museum and a technical college. However, with changes in Health & Safety laws
in the 1990s, much of the building became unsuitable for modern
use. When the library finally closed in 2008 the fabric of the Institute was already deteriorating and its future was uncertain. In 2010 it was listed as one of the top 10 most endangered Victorian buildings in the country.
In September 2015, the United Kingdom Historic Buildings Preservation Trust, with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, completed the first stage in the Institute’s restoration, opening
up several rooms for public use. During the past twelve months, a programme of events and projects have taken place within the Institute to bring its history to life and explore, test and imagine new uses for this landmark building.One of these projects was The Wedgwood Monologues.
Lights, Camera, Action!
Click here to jump straight to the behind the scenes video.
One of the major aspects of this project was providing the young participants with professional media training on all aspects of filmmaking. The team worked with David from Moonbrushed Media, who delivered the training and oversaw both production and post-production of the films.
The team were introduced to a plethora of professional film equipment and were not only taught how it all worked, but how best to select and use different pieces of equipment to achieve a desired look. The team looked at how choices of lens, lighting and camera movement impacted on the overall feel of the scene.
Prior to filming, the whole production team travelled to location to get inspiration for their scripts, as well as to conduct a full location scout, documenting every last detail of potential filming spaces. They measured rooms, took lots of photographs and considered how ambient lighting and sound in each space might impact on filming.
Once the scripts were written, actors were cast in the roles. The directors worked with the actors to hone their performance. Each film team made decisions about suitable costume, set and props.
The filming took place on a very cold weekend in late November. There was a jam-packed and very complicated schedule to stick to. On set, the production team needed to be responsible for costume and make-up, making decisions about set dressing, directing the actors and monitoring continuity and the script - whilst the technical team focused on rigging lighting and recording sound.
Once filming had finished, the team started the long process of post-production. Each film team received extensive training whilst at the same time making creative decisions about their monologues. The groups looked at editing, colour grading (creating a distinctive visual ‘look’ for each film) and selecting a suitable musical score.
Original Funding Pitch Video
In order to secure Heritage Lottery Funding for the project, we produced a short video explaining the intentions and goals of the project. Below is the original project pitch video.
A poem inspired by the Wedgwood Institute and performed by the production team. This film is a visual record of the building before its regeneration.
Set in the 1970s, a young student is chatting up a girl in his class by regaling her with a tale of his drunken friend’s antics.
Set in the modern day, this film is about a young woman who is revisiting the Wedgwood Institue. She becomes angered when someone says that they don’t like the building.
A painter from the 1970s writes a letter to his ex- girlfriend which brings up many repressed emotions.
Set in the 1950s. Whilst a girl is sat patiently waiting for an interview to be a librarian, she observes the passers-by, commenting on their presence.
Dead But Not Forgotten
The daughter of an ex- student at the Institute reminisces on the life of her deceased father.
‘Folded Aprons’ tells the tale of a girl snitching on her fellow classmates, who are stealing pots from the factory floor by hiding them in their aprons.
‘The Book’ is a timeless love story told from the perspective of an aging book, whilst he observes the decay of the library.
Behind The Scenes
The production team document their journey in creating the Wedgwood Monologues.
Drop us a line...
If you have any comments regarding this project, please do visit our contact page for details about how to get in touch - or feel free to leave us a Facebook comment below.
We offer special thanks to West One Music Group for kindly allowing the use of their amazing orchestral catalogue for use on this project.
This project represents a wonderful display of the young people of Stoke-on-Trent getting involved to discover their rich local heritage. We're backing Stoke-on-Trent's bid to become the next City of Culture!