Special effects produced by a Horsforth-based lecturer feature in the Sam Mendes production of King Lear.
The production, now showing at The National Theatre in London, includes special CGI weather effects produced by Leeds Trinity University radio lecturer, Bob Walmsley.
Bob, who is also a 3D animator, radio presenter and journalist, was approached to work on King Lear by West End/Broadway projection designer Jon Driscoll.
The pair had previously worked together to produce CGI effects for the Tim Rice musical From Here to Eternity, which includes a depiction of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbour. Bob specialises in creating CGI explosions, smoke and fire effects which were needed for the musical’s finale, and Jon approached him after seeing his work online.
Bob said: “Most stage plays and musicals now have videos, images and animations projected onto onstage screens, which allow the audience to see special effects that would be impossible with old-fashioned sets.
“Jon and I worked together on From Here to Eternity for two weeks in September and were very pleased with what we created. The explosions play a prominent role in what is a hugely powerful and exciting climax to the show.
“In December, Jon approached me again to produce some very special CGI weather effects for a particularly powerful scene in the King Lear production. Although I was getting to grips with my two-week-old daughter Dora, my wife and I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of working with Jon again, especially on such a high-profile Sam Mendes production, so I agreed.
“So over the Christmas period I juggled my baby duties, University marking and designing these special effects. I can’t remember what sleep is like and my body clock is all over the place, but it’s definitely been worth it to be part of such an exciting production made by such an impressive and talented group of people.”
King Lear premiered at The National Theatre on January 16 and is already sold out, but it will be screened live in cinemas across the UK – including all of Leeds’ multiplexes – on May 1.