Yorkshire-based arts organisation Manasamitra is returning to the stage this summer after a year of cancellations due to the pandemic. The Sound of Tea – a multi-sensory celebration of the tradition of tea across different cultures – incorporates musical performance and digital technology, creating a unique performance each time.
The Sound of Tea, will be performed exclusively at York’s National Centre for Early Music on 17th June, incorporating live music mixes with lighting and soundscapes, participatory tea rituals and cutting-edge digital technology, which is used to capture and reflect audience responses in real-time.
Creator and musician Supriya Nagarajan uses her experience of synaesthesia to explore the interplay between sound, sight, smell, taste, and touch. The Sound of Tea will also feature a number of unique interactive digital tables, developed by Professor Mick Grierson from the University of Arts London (UAL). This technology will allow the audience to influence the performance, resulting in a bespoke performance every time.
The Manasamitra team developed the show with assistance from tea consultant Beverley Wainwright, alongside actress and cultural educator Fenfen Huang who will undertake a demonstration of a tea ceremony as part of the performance.
The show premiered in early 2020 in London, however the remainder of the tour had to be postponed due to national restrictions.
Excited to get back on stage, Supriya said: “Our team is incredibly happy to be able to bring The Sound of Tea to a live audience again after a lengthy postponement.
“The last year has been incredibly difficult for musicians and performers and we are so excited to be able to get back on stage and interact with audiences in a live capacity. Despite the recent challenges, I am immensely proud of the industry’s resilience and determination, it truly has shone through during the pandemic.
“While a lot can be achieved via online platforms, nothing will ever compare to the experience of attending or performing a live show. The energy and atmosphere simply cannot be replicated digitally.
“The whole team has worked extremely hard to bring this project to life in a fully immersive way to capture the story of tea and its role in different cultures, as well as exploring the fascinating phenomenon of synaesthesia.
“Individuals who experience synaesthesia may see sounds or hear colours, providing a multi-sensory experience. The Sound of Tea will embody that harmonious relationship between the senses, shared to a general audience.”
Supriya will take centre stage for The Sound of Tea alongside Duncan Chapman on flugle horn, electronica and digital management, James Cave on piano, Marc Layton-Bennett on percussion and Fenfen Huang as dancer and tea celebrant. Belgium-based flutist, Karin de Fleyt is unfortunately unable to join the team in person due to ongoing travel restrictions, but her music will be incorporated into the performance.
Tickets are available now via the National Centre for Early Music: www.ncem.co.uk/events/sound-of-tea.