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  • Writer's pictureBeth Wardell

A year in review with sound artist Matthew Tuckey.

This is a guest blog from Matthew Tuckey, a Sound Designer and Sound Artist who works across theatre, music, installation, podcast and film. He was a 2019 NORTH supported artist. A full bio of Matthew's work can be found at the bottom of this blog post, or on his website.


Matthew Tuckey


Photo credit: Corrie Livesey


I am a Sound Designer and Sound Artist, I also work in location sound for film and TV production. The distinction between sound design and sound art is an interesting topic of discussion, but for my own purposes I broadly differentiate between work that is made in service of a collaborator (such as a director or curator) and their creative vision/design brief as being sound design, where as I am a sound artist when working on my own independent projects or am commissioned to create a standalone sound piece.

Either way, my universal and constant motivator is always exploring the world we live in through sound and trying to encourage others to enjoy an increased engagement with their acoustic environment.


2022...


2022 was quite an interesting year for a variety of projects, the pandemic pushed me into new and exciting creative directions and forced me to engage with an increasingly broad spectrum of storytelling with audio technology.


Theatre project highlights included being associate sound designer for Luca Rutherford’s You Heard Me working alongside an incredible composer and sound artist called Melanie Wilson, I was sound designer for Woven Nest’s work in progress performance of Worlds Apart which we will be further developing in 2023, and I’ve just recently finished working on a new version of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice directed by Maria Crocker for Christmas in Northern Stage’s ‘Epic Space’. The Epic Space is made by removing the acoustic panel wall between Stage 1 and Stage 2 which is a really exciting and challenging space to work in as a sound designer.


Christmas shows are my annual excuse to pull out the ‘silly sound effects’ library and an opportunity to collaborate with a great creative team to make something really magical that you know will be a seasonal highlight for many schools and family audiences!


Last year also saw me working on a broad variety of short films and TV productions as a location sound recordist. An unusual highlight being working with the Environment Agency on a number of their projects where I’ve been able to learn a lot about ecosystem management and definitely influenced my field recording work as an artist. Another highlight in this field was working on Open Clasp’s Us Too: Alisha’s Story directed by Katja Roberts, a short film focussing on the experiences of women with learning disabilities who have reported rape and/or sexual assault. Open Clasp’s vision for the piece is brilliant and there’s some crucial changes to be affected by it.



Photo credit: Freida and Matt


A project that I am particularly proud of this past year has been in development for over four years. Early 2022 I received a second Arts Council England Project Grants award to continue working on The Rime, a sound art installation that explores what it means to live in close proximity with the sea. It blends field recordings of underwater and above water environments in and near Amble and Warkworth Harbour with original orchestral and choral music composed by Katie Doherty and performed by the Northumberland Orchestral Society and Amble Harbour Light’s Community Choir. It’s a deep dive into exploring the world around us through sound events, both imagined and experienced.


The ultimate ambition for The Rime is to tour the installation to rural coastal communities and install in spaces at the heart of these communities. I’m still learning how to produce my own work and this vision for The Rime is sometimes quite intimidating, so I’m hoping to continue building support for the project in 2023 and collaborate with organisations who know what they’re doing when it comes to touring ambitious artworks to rural communities.


The new year kick starts with a trial install at The Institute in Cambois so I am very much looking forward to seeing the first audience reactions to what we’ve created. To find out more about The Rime please visit the Digital Scrapbook .


I’ve got another intimidating project coming up in 2023 which will definitely stretch my skills in actively encouraging access to creative and professional audio careers.


I’m also kick starting the year in collaboration with Northumberland based folk artist Katie Doherty on November Club’s new digital musical commissioned by The Space to explore themes around women’s rights using Northumberland born suffragette Josephine Butler as inspiration. You can follow my work online by visiting www.matthewtuckey.co.uk



Matthew Tuckey's work as Sound Designer includes The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Northern Stage); Josey -working title, Repeat Signal, Lost Found and Told: New Tales for Northumberland (November Club); World’s Apart, Roaming River (Woven Nest Theatre); Wolf! (Kitchen Zoo/Northern Stage); joey (Gobscure/Greyscale Theatre); Smoke & Mirrors (Molly Barrett/Enchanted Parks Gateshead); Floorboards, Trolley Boy, Walter (Alphabetti Theatre).


His work as Sound Artist includes The Rime (sound installation); An Audio Diary in Binaural, January 2021 (piece for headphones); South Bend (05-06/20) (EP); Fed Up, Foodbank Histories Project (Newcastle University Oral History Unit & Collective).


His work as Associate Sound Designer includes You Heard Me (Luca Rutherford); When the World is Loud (Mortal Fools); A Christmas Carol (Northern Stage); Oh No, George! (Can't Sit Still); Stella (Filskit Theatre).

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