Although better known for his sound design work, Mic has worked as a projection Designer for over 20 years. Here is a small selection of his output.
The Final Vision (2012)
Mic designed this large scale projection installation in ‘The Dark Arches’ under Leeds City Station. It projected the interior of Frank Matcham’s Edwardian shopping paradise, The County Arcade, now branded The Victoria Quarter, on to the dark and dank tunnels that carry the River Aire under the railway. The Installation was part of Overworlds and Underworlds curated by The Quay Brothers for the Cultural Olympiad.
……..the most arresting sight of all, a visually astonishing light show which magically transforms the brick arches into the shopping arcade where our journey began. Fast-flowing river water becomes a tiled floor. It’s simple, but jaw-droppingly effective.- The Art’s Desk
Almost hidden right at the end of the dark arches you could see a tightly packed huddle of people all staring at something but it was unclear what. I wedged my way in to the very densely packed throng but could see nothing but pitch black with the rushing sound of water, then magically the most incredible projection appeared that wrapped round the arches and illuminated the space underneath. It was like a flooded cathedral or a ballroom of a titanic like ship and totally took the breath away. I could have stayed there gawping at it for a long time but the throng of people wanting to look meant that I needed to make some room. The projections were created by Mic Pool, I have no idea how he has done them but they were the highlight of this amazing day.- Into The Orchard.com
Der Ring des Nibelungen. Royal Opera House Covent Garden (2004-2018)
Mic has designed projections for two productions of THE RING CYCLE, both for Keith Warner, The first for New National Theatre Tokyo, and this production, which created the 4 operas between 2004 – 2006, and then presented complete cycles in 2007, 2012, and 2018. With sets by the late Stefanos Lazaridis, I created all the projected content in a co-design with Dick Straker.
“….director and designer give us something really breathtaking when the swirling waters of the Rhine seem to coalesce into a projection of a spinning globe: the ultimate prize for those with power and ambition” – The Independent
and there are moments of theatrical magic in Das Rheingold: the faint light of the gold in the first few bars of the prelude, its bursting brilliance, and the flexible net of blue light that suggests the waters of the Rhine; the toiling Expressionist shadows of Alberich’s still invisible work-force; the solarized cloudscape beyond the windows of Wotan’s black marble palace- The Independent
Bullet Tongue. Big House Theatre Company 2018
Director: Maggie Norris Video Designer: Mic Pool Set Designer:Zia Bergin-Holly Costume Designer: Paulina Domaszewska Lighting Designer: Michael Harpur Sound Designer and Composer: Ed Clarke
One of the great challenges of projection design is to be able to work across a broad range of organisations and budgets. Having completed the 2018 revival of Der Ring des Nibelungen, for The Royal Opera, with all the budget, staffing, and technical resources a major international opera house can provide, my next project was a promenade production for The Big house, a project that works with young people who have been through the care system and are finding life difficult. They provide a platform for them to participate in the making of theatre and to have their voices heard.
Mic has created projection designs for many theatre based social projects, including work at The Big House and at Only Connect, a project for ex offenders, and youth at risk of involvement in crime, The aim is always to create work of a high standard regardless of budget and resources and in this environment, you are always working to achieve the best results possible, using far more limited equipment, and frequently creating content and assets that on a larger production you would consider to be outside your normal areas of expertise and might sub contract to others. For Bullet Tongue I shot and edited a ‘Drill Music’ video as well as creating a multi room projection design using basic office projectors. This video was shot entirely on location, on an iPhone. WARNING: EXPLICIT LYRICS.
The Play was revived in 2019 as Bullet Tongue Reloaded with new cast members, and the drill video remade, this time as a night shoot and incorporating a more authentic editing style.
Mission to Mars. Unlimited Theatre/ Polka (2010) Touring (2011)
Director: Jon Spooner Aerial Choreography by Layla Rosa Designer: Rhys Jarman Lighting Designer: Ben Pacey Sound and Video Designer: Mic Pool Original Music by David Edwards
Photographs © Max Alexander 2011
Scuffer. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (2006)
Directed by Alex Chisholm • Designed by Emma Williams • Video Design by Mic Pool • Lighting Design by Malcolm Rippeth.
Projections on sculptured surface with concrete finish for Mark Catley’s play.
This Video shows all the main video looks and transitions. For copyright reasons it has no soundtrack.
“Towering above and around it all, a whirling, glittering star in its own right, is Mic Pool’s fantastic video design. From the moment designer Emma Williams’ stark back drop (as if for an early 20th Century Eastern European production of Hamlet) morphs into vertiginous high rise flats, Pool’s technomagic suffuses the action with Leeds: a garish blousy old tart with a loot-tarnished heart” .- British Theatre Guide
“….Mic Pool’s astonishing video projections that conjure an entire city as it races by.” Guardian
Death of a Salesman. West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (2010)
Directed by Sarah Esdaile • Designed by Francis O’Connor • Projection Design by Mic Pool. Music Composed by Simon Slater • Sound Design by Mic Pool •
Demo reel of main projections and transitions composited on production still. Photograph © Keith Pattison
Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah. Adapted for the stage by Lemn Sissay
West Yorkshire Playhouse (2013)
Another collaboration with designer Emma Williams and director Gail Mcintyre for the World Premiere of this play.
Mic Pool’s grainy, urban video design helps the shanty dwellings and piles of suitcases provided by designer Emma Williams to function as a conflicted African border zone, a UK extradition court and all points in between. Gail McIntyre’s pacy and impressively seamless production…. – The Guardian
….It’s a great set. Torn wire net fences, the back of a tatty brick building which is itself almost scaffolded by dozens of battered suitcases (upon, around and beneath which the energetic cast scamper like randy squirrels). Windows in the building are adaptable, letting onto terrace houses, bus stop, whatever. And, holding it all, a black velvet sky which is sometimes splattered by stars and once becomes the apparent source of drifting snowflakes………give McIntyre a handful of thespians and she somehow creates a family of dedicated actors who appear to have worked together forever. It’s a stunning gift and its application is a joy to behold. – British Theatre Guide
Singin In The Rain West Yorkshire Playhouse, National Theatre, UK Tour.
(1999-2003) Olivier Award Winner for Outstanding Musical Production 2001.
Directed by Jude Kelly, Design: Huntley Muir, Choreography: Stephen Mear. Video:Mic Pool and Ashley Clough.
This was my first really large scale theatre projection design. Our concept was ambitious. We were going to parallel the journey of the characters in the musical, in mastering the art of making talking pictures, by learning virtually from scratch, in 5 weeks, how to master all aspects of digital video production to produce 120 minutes of content across three screens and be able to tightly cue it to the dramatic action and music. We had fairly rudimentary video facilities at our disposal and more enthusiasm than knowledge of how to achieve many of the effects. Theatre Playback software was still in the early stages of development and with Ashley Clough we devised our own playback systems to present a triptych of screens, with animations of drawings provided by the design team of Huntley Muir together with live action footage of the cast and all the film sequences required in the action of the musical. I probably learned more about video in that 5 weeks than I did in the next 15 years.
Here’s a partial reconstruction of the video design for Act 1. A lot of the transitions that were rendered live in the show appear in this video as hard cuts, as the software used to produce them no longer runs on current computer systems.
For copyright reasons this video has no music on it, although you will occasionally hear the click tracks and guides provided for the conductor to keep the live orchestra in sync.