This project is supported by Il-Premju tal-President għall-Kreattività
The Christmas Pantomime is the yearly tradition for many families; it is that special time of year where they get to enjoy a theatrical experience with their loved ones. However, nobody has stopped to ask the question about its accessibility. Nobody, that is, until this project idea came up to create a pantomime targeted towards a visually impaired audience and society at large.
From the beginning, the aim was to create a show where everyone would have the same experience, leading the team to make the decision that the show would be in pitch darkness. It felt superfluous to create a performance that still needed visuals in order to enjoy its full experience; the team looked at the impairment not as a limitation but as a world of possibilities.
The team have chosen to use binaural technology which records sound using an especially built microphone, arranged with the intent to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation for the listener to actually feel like they are in the centre of the action with the performers. This effect is often created using a technique known as "dummy head recording", wherein a mannequin head is outfitted with a microphone in each ear. Binaural recording only works using headphones, meaning that every member of the audience will have their individual set of headphones during the pantomime. This idea of a three-dimensional or "internal" form of sound has also translated into the useful advancement of technology in many things such as stethoscopes creating "in-head" acoustics and IMAX movies being able to create a three-dimensional acoustic experience.
The Panto in the Dark will be performed between 19 and 23 December 2018 at Planetarium Hall, Esplora.