- Created on Tuesday, 05 April 2011 15:20
PERFORMING ARTS students from South Devon College have used interactive mobile technology to tell the story of a local Victorian murder mystery.
Eliza Gepson, a 26-year-old mother of four, was found floating in the River Dart in Totnes on September 17th 1866. She was last seen on the evening before at the town's Oxford Inn.
Now, eight degree-level students, studying for a Foundation Degree in Performance Practice and Events Management at the College, have teamed up with the College Media department to create ‘Cold Case 1866’, a "theatrical audio performance" based on Eliza's story and the hunt to find her killer. The script, written by student Louis Brzozka (19, from Torquay), was inspired by an article about Eliza by historian Jill Drysdale.
The project is being overseen by Emma Whittaker, a lecturer in digital creative media at the college, who is using it to research interactive mobile technology.
"We wanted to do an interactive narrative, so people had a choice how the story progresses, like a choose-your-own adventure story,” said Ms Whittaker, “We also wanted to write a location-based story with lots of different possible avenues. This story had so many good characters that offered those possibilities."
Scenes from the audio play are available to download via a smart phone app or as an MP3 file, and the ‘Cold Case 1866 app’ is even available on the Apple app store as a free download.
On Saturday 9th April, 2pm – 5pm the students will perform live at key locations in the story around Totnes, absolutely free of charge. These include the Mill Leat, where Eliza's body was found, the Lord Nelson pub, where bodies found in the river were stored in the cellar, and the Royal Seven Stars hotel, where the inquest was held. At each location members of the audience will be expected to download and listen to the relevant scene and then interact with the actors to get clues to help them solve the mystery.
"Interactive stories offer a different kind of immersion in the story. It's as if it comes into your physical space. It meets the desire for virtual reality talked about today. Mobile technology as a group activity is a growing tool," said Ms Whittaker, “The group want the audience to be as broad as possible, and there is even a twist in the tale I just can’t reveal. We're very excited about the performance; we really want people to engage with it."
The event starts at 2.00pm at the far end of Totnes Train station, right hand side of the tracks, next to the finger post.
For more information on Degree Courses at South Devon College, validated by the University of Plymouth, call free on 08000 21 31 81