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DSM Productions delivers live virtual theatre tour for Collingwood Learning

DSM Productions delivers ‘Smashed’ a global underage drinking awareness project, virtually, to 16.5k students across UK & Northern Ireland for Collingwood Learning, all from our streaming studio in Wakefield.

Smashed! Virtual Tour 2021 was delivered over a 7 week period to a total of 79 schools over 98 sessions and to a grand total of 16,510 students… VIRTUALLY.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the live event landscape and one of the areas affected is in the education sector, not just through disrupted lessons but also forcing touring theatre productions to be either postponed or cancelled. Collingwood Learning have been delivering live, in school productions of their ‘Smashed’ project for a number of years now, to over 1 million young people, but the pandemic brought that to a complete standstill. As part of a Global Drinks Manufacturer’s corporate social responsibility programme, Collingwood Learning have written & produced a touring production designed to engage secondary school pupils into really looking into the dangers of underage drinking. From friendship and relationship problems, alcohol misuse, injuries and more serious impacts that underage drinking can have on a person’s life.

We were initially consulted back in March 2021 with a brief to deliver a 2 month (including rehearsals) virtual tour from our studio in Wakefield. The directors had a vision of how they wanted to take a physical tour and bring it into this new, digital age & we were more than happy to throw some ideas into the mix. Following a site visit from the creative team at Collingwood we were able to find out more of their vision and with that we were then in a position to quote. The bid came down to 2 companies, ourselves and another production company and fortunately we were successful in winning the contract. The details were finalised, contracts exchanged and the creative juices started flowing.

Up until September 2020 our studio space was 2 unused offices and a kitchen area. Having a middle of the night idea, our Managing Director decided to convert this space into a purpose built, 56m2, TV, film & streaming studio – ideal for music performances, photography, filming and streaming in a bid to diversify further during a time where IRL events were a no go. We brought in one of our trusted lighting designers and the build began. A 6m x 6m ground stacked lighting grid was installed and the studio was lined with heavy wool serge drapes. A total of 28 moving profile & wash heads, Chamsys lighting control, Blackmagic ATEM video control, Allen & Heath sound desk and Sennheiser radio microphones were all used for the production along with Panasonic FullHD broadcast cameras and Chroma/Green Screen technology all in a COVID-secure environment. We pitched our ideas to Collingwood and they loved it! Not only did we provide equipment and the technical knowledge we also built pieces of set that would become an integral part of the studio both visually and practically.

Throughout the tour there were MP’s, police forces, education ministers, stakeholders & of course the schools themselves tuning in to watch a live, 1 hour programme consisting of a 30 minute show followed by a 30 minute interactive workshop. The creative team at Collingwood Learning hit the nail on the head with the format – the students enjoyed it, the teachers enjoyed it and the entire tour was a success! During the 2 months we received some really good feedback from Collingwood and their global social responsibility client and we knew we had done it! We had taken a physical theatre tour and brought it onto a digital stage… in less than 3 months.

Technical Team

Production & Technical Manager: Daniel Smith

Lighting Designer: Keith Harper

Stream Director: Joey Warrington

IT Support: Bellingham IT

Graphic Design: Collingwood Learning


For more information about the Smashed Project head on over to:

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