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Ben Ringham: More theatre shows should be driven by sound design

Ben Ringham and Indhu Rubasingham at the h100 Awards. Photo: Hayley Farr Ben Ringham and Indhu Rubasingham at the h100 Awards. Photo: Hayley Farr
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Ben Ringham has argued sound design should take a more prominent role in the theatre creation process.

The sound designer and composer also said he would like to see traditional boundaries between the director, writer and designer on shows broken down.

He was speaking at the h Club in London’s h100 Awards, which celebrate innovation in the creative industries, where he and brother Max Ringham won the theatre and performance category.

They were recognised for their work over the past year, which include Anna at the National Theatre and Berberian Sound Studio at the Donmar Warehouse, both of which were driven by the sound design.

“I would [like to see more stories led by sound] but I would also like people to understand that sound is a much bigger thing than just the discipline of trying to put on a musical. [It can range from] what we did with Anna, to very difficult technical challenges,” Ben Ringham said.

“It’s about breaking down the constructs [of director, writer and designer] and understanding that of course you have plays where there’s a director, a lighting designer and a sound designer, but there are others where you can have a different outlook.”

He argued that leading a production with sound could provide a different perspective, adding: “Theatre is a text driven art form, but you can tell a million stories with sound.”

Artistic director at London’s Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham, who was one of the judges of the theatre category, agreed there is more scope for sound-led productions in theatre.

She said: “It’s about innovation and challenging the status quo. For sound to lead the process as opposed to the writer or the director is really interesting and exciting.

“Absolutely [it can open up new perspectives] and make theatre more accessible and enjoyable.”

Sound designers Ben and Max Ringham: ‘Directors and audiences are more sound-literate now. It’s brilliant’

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