Ben Samuels, Artistic Director of Limbik, is an award-winning writer, producer and director. His genre-defying work extends from visual storytelling and music theatre to immersive audio and film, and celebrates ensemble, collaboration, and internationalism.
Ben is one of the first Watershed Fellows in Residence as part of the MyWorld Ideas programme. He will spend seven months in residence at Bristol Old Vic from January 2023, embedded in the digital presentation of Complicités forthcoming production 'Drive your plow over the bones of the dead'. This is a practical Fellowship that will develop approaches to digital presentation of theatrical performance, focusing on liveness, immersion in digital formats and connecting live and digital audiences.
Ben will use his time embedded at Bristol Old Vic to enable the theatre to further develop its on screen experiences, with the aim to better deliver a sense of connectedness and magic to audiences at home.
I'm really excited to explore new ways to translate and transpose live performance into digital space. I have been a fan of Complicité's work for 20 years, and Drive Your Plow uses an exciting combination of theatrical languages and technologies. I'm super interested in the biometric research aspect of the project as well, and looking at how that research might inform our understanding of the relationship between live and digital experiences.
This Fellowship in residence is part of the MyWorld IDEAS programme led by Watershed. The IDEAS programme encourages responsible forms of innovation and actively explores points of crossover and connection. The MyWorld Fellowships in Residence are aimed to support a period of short future-facing work injecting experimentation, ethics, and depth to a strand of technological enquiry.
For Limbik, he writes, directs, and produces at the intersection of live performance and immersive digital technology. Fatherland (2019) broke new ground in its use of real-time motion capture and immersive virtual reality technology in live theatre. Recent Limbik projects include Rebel Rabble (2022), an outdoor site specific performance featuring a 3D spatial audio soundscape in the woods, and All the Water in the World (2023), a one-to-one performance on WhatsApp.
Limbik's work has been supported by Creative XR, Innovate UK, Arts Council England, and Nesta.
Ben's short story “The Garden,” a text-based story for smartphones accompanied by a 3D soundscape, was featured on BBC Taster. He is contributing a chapter on spatial audio to a forthcoming volume on XR Performance.
Work in film and television includes Screenwriter for Gaël Le Cornec’s short film, “Beasts of Burden,” Production Manager for her film “Ana,” and Assistant Producer for Native Voice Films’ Channel 4 Documentary series, “Rights Universal.”
Alongside his professional work, Ben has worked extensively in Universities and professional actor training programmes as a Visiting Director, including Rose Bruford College, the London College of Music, and the Drama School Mumbai. He recently joined the Curatorial team of Unrehearsed Futures, an international series of public conversations about the uses and practices of theatre pedagogy.
Ben received his BA in Postcolonial Studies from Brown University (USA), and received his MFA at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA), where he was supported by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship for Theatre Arts.