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Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular


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In January I was lucky enough to be asked on board the production of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. The show celebrates the iconic BBC sci-fi series of Doctor Who and toured Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Auckland. Having previously worked for Andrew Kay and Associates Pty Ltd the producers of the show, I was brought on board to capture live performance images of the Adelaide production. Both Andrew Kay and Associates Pty Ltd and the marketing team at BBC required images of the show to use for press releases and on social media accounts. So on Thursday the 22nd of January I flew to Adelaide with my photography assistant Shaun, to kick off the four-day adventure that was the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular.

The show took place at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and the cast preformed two shows over the weekend. I was granted access to watch the dress rehearsal, which ran over the Friday and the scale of the production, with the amazing monsters and talented musicians that were involved blew me away. After being introduced to the cast and crew, Shaun and I were then led backstage to get an idea of how the show would pan out and from this information we worked out the best locations to take photographs from. Andrew Kay and the team at BBC wanted me to capture the grand scale of the overall event but also wanted close up shots of the live performing monsters. As there was a matinee and an evening performance, both with a break for the interval, I mapped out four shooting locations that would give me the best angles.

Saturday came and finally it was the day of the live performance and you could feel the excitement buzzing in the air. Shaun and I arrived at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, two hours before curtain call and we noticed there were already a queue of dedicated fans in amazing cosplay, and it sunk in how truly loved and admired Doctor Who was to so many people. The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular really does give the fans a great opportunity to appreciate the series incredible soundtrack, as it was originally recorded by a full symphonic orchestra. For the first performance of the tour, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra would be led by conductor Ben Foster, who has conducted more than 100 episodes of the Doctor Who series. Along with the thrilling live performance of music from the show, a series of edited clips from the last few seasons of Doctor Who are projected on a huge screen behind the orchestra. This I believe adds to the emotional impact the music has on the crowd. The on-stage presence is completed by the host Peter Davison, who is the fifth doctor for the TV series, and does a wonderful job interacting with the crowed throughout the show. A number of performers during the show, also lurk in the aisles and on stage, dressed impeccably as monsters from the tv series, delighting and thrilling children and adults as Judoon, The Silence, robotic Cybermen, Silurians, The Teller, a couple of Ood, Daleks and many more.

So as the first show began, Shaun and I had taken up a location towards the left side of the stage on the balcony section, to get shots of the arena and overall performance. Then during the intermission we swapped to the opposite side of the arena. Overall I captured some great shots of the arena as the show has some incredible lighting effects. Of course it wouldn’t be any kind of Doctor Who related event without the monsters, and so my focus was on the live action for the evening show. For the second performance Shaun and I based ourselves on the ground floor and were given permission to move around the arena throughout the performance. This task proved a little challenging however as we had to be conscious not to block audiences views or be in the way of the choreographed monster routines. Throughout the show the monsters prowl the stage and also pop up all over the venue, delighting and terrifying children in equal measure. The BBC really wanted some shots of this crowd interaction, however in most cases the monsters were very dimly light, without spotlights. But I was able to get a few good shots and both Andrew Kay and Associates Pty Ltd and the team at BBC were pleased with the end results.

The reviews of the show were great, including the rest of the performances around Australia and New Zealand that followed. The team involved in the Adelaide production were all amazing and made Shaun and I feel very welcome. This was a really exciting project to be apart of and it was wonderful seeing the audience react so strongly to the performance (especially all the fans in costume). If you’re a fan of the Doctor Who series and missed out on the show, I strongly encourage you to get tickets next time the tour is back in Australia.

If you are interested in seeing some published articles of the show featuring my images follow these links:

WA Today News

The Music.com.au

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