The Red Couch Project

Posted on September 27th, by aka wendy in Findings. No Comments

This project was funded by the ReDesigning Theater Seed Grant

The Red Couch Project is a student-run production collective that captures the arts at Stanford in an online video series. The project utilizes mass media to publicize upcoming artists while simultaneously preserving the intimacy of a living room concert.

From the Producer:

Project Goal: To experiment with two things:
1) Two different kinds of performance artists collaboratively improvising off one another. We recorded a session of a cellist, a guitarist, and dancer improvising off one another in an empty yoga studio: “Hues and Calm.”
We also did another session with a jazz pianist/singer and a dancer in the, entitled “Looking for a Villain.”


2) To explore the perspective of a performance artist while he/she/them is performing, using several GoPros all recording at one time. We did this with a couple who did an Acro Yoga routine, you can see it here:


In my mind, the first goal was wildly successful. I really had no idea what I was doing when I came up with the idea, but I was careful about choosing artists that I thought would work well together. I also made sure to get them connected so they could meet beforehand at get a feel for each other. I think this helped tremendously in getting them to feel comfortable performing with each other. I was also incredibly lucky to find some amazing spaces to film the performances in.

As for the second goal, working with GoPros was more difficult than expected. Due to the nature of their lenses, they were essentially unusable indoors because they performed poorly in low light. It was also difficult to tell exactly what you were filming because I didn’t purchase the optional attachable LCD screen that you can stick on the back of it. I think we got some cool shots with the acroyoga video, but I wish I had had more time to try other forms of performance art.


For both of my goals, each of the participants had a ton of fun and said they had never performed in a situation like that. They also were very impressed by the level of quality of the videos.

Next Steps:

A lot of the equipment for the Red Couch Project was borrowed. I worked hard early in the year to establish trust with Kimball Hall (to use their microphones) and CCRMA (to use its digital recorder), as well as with friends who were kind enough to lend me their amazing cameras. Since I’ve graduated, all of those resources are gone for me now, so unfortunately I have no access to high quality equipment. If the opportunity presented itself for me to get my hands on some equipment in the future, I’d love to pick it back up!

Theater Seed Project: Danny Smith

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