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Terrarium project secures funding for North Yorkshire tour

Posted on 1 June 2012

Phd composition student Jon Hughes, in partnership with choreographer Simon Birch and a team of distinguished arts practitioners, has secured major backing for a new performance event called Terrarium. The project has support from, among others, the North York Moors National Park and Yorkshire Dance, and has recently been awarded a grant from the Arts Council.

Jon, Simon and the team are creating Terrarium in celebration of this year’s North York Moors National Park’s 60th anniversary. The piece will initially be performed in July and August 2012 in different locations across the Moors, and also at festivals in Leeds and Hull. 

Terrarium is for two dancers, and will be performed in the landscape inside a specially made four-metre high transparent dome. The sound will be provided by a powerful 30 metre diameter ambisonic speaker array - 8 independent weather protected speakers arranged in a ring around the dome. Each speaker will use its own independent channel, and will work as part of an ambisonic array, which is a very effective surround sound system. With this setup, Jon will be able to create an exciting sonic experience for the audience, who will be free to roam around inside the 30-metre ambisonic array, immersed in the 3D sound field. 

The music is created from a combination of sound recordings captured from the North York Moors and instrumental recordings. Jon has been working with past and present York students to create the soundscape for the piece. He has had recent recording sessions with Violinist Val Pearson, Cellist Min Song and Percussionist Martin Scheuregger using the MRC recording and mixing facilities. 

Jon is using the ambisonic set up in the mrc studios in order to mix the material, using ambisonic panners and decoders written by music department staff members Ollie Larkin and Dave Malham. He also plans to use motion-tracking software in combination with X-Box's Kinect motion detection system in order to use the dancers movement to control aspects of the soundscape and integrate them within the musical texture.



  • June 21st: Culture Shock Festival Hull (workshops and short preview performance for young people)
  • July 15th: Big Dance 2012 Leeds Millennium Square (20 minute preview)

North York Moors Tour

  • 1st August: Wykham Abbey 
  • 2nd August: North York Moors Visitor Centre, Danby
  • 3rd August: Sneaton Castle
  • 4th August Kirkleatham Hall
  • 5th August: North York Moors Visitor Centre, Danby
  • 8th August: Rievaulx Abbey Terrace
  • 9th August: North York Moors Visitor Centre, Danby
  • 10th August: North York Moors Visitor Centre, Danby
  • 11th August: Kildale Showfield
  • 12th August: Rievaulx Abbey Terrace

The creative team for the project has been assembled by choreographer Simon Birch.

Choreographer and project director: Simon Birch


Designer: Becs Andrews

Composer: Jon Hughes

Producer and Project Management: Sarah Shead at Spin Arts