Putting the Nation on Stage

Meet the Creatives: Benjamin Pierpoint

June 7, 2019

We spoke with Benjamin Pierpoint, sound designer for our upcoming production of GIRL IN THE MACHINE (20 – 29 June).

What drew you to Girl in the Machine?

For me working in theatre is all about the creative collaborators and families you develop, so to be 100% honest the key initial reasoning that drew me to this gig was the ability to continue the development of these creative relationships with Claudia (dir.), Benjamin (LX), Ella (set/cozzie) and Chantelle (cast), along with working for the first time alongside Brandon. After reading the play it was the freedom I would be able to explore within the design of this show. Melding the sci-fi/futurism with the humanistic relationship.

Can you give us insight in your creative process is in designing sound for Girl in the Machine?

I work very much from a place of responding to the elements provided to me by the director and the other designers/collaborators. After those initial convos and presentations (side note: Ella and Bennie Brockman are making magic) I begin by throwing everything I have at the universe we are creating and then take to it with, depending on my initial work, either a hatchet or scalpel to mould the sound to create a layer of the universe that will both consciously and subconsciously work with the audience to provide sonic depth.

What is your relationship with new technology? Are you an early adopter?

Ha. Ah most likely a mid-level. Definitely not first. But definitely not as bad as my grandparents.

Where did you take inspiration for the sound from for this production?

Everything is still constantly shifting though Ella’s design is definitely currently the most defining inspiration I’m working from.

What has been your career trajectory?

I kind of came to theatre in a round about way. I studied classical music at the Sydney Conservatorium but when I left I was definitely burnt out and didn’t touch an instrument for 4 years. I ended up working in and managing music venues across Sydney. One night a theatre director overheard me playing a piano after one of the bars had shut and asked me to compose for their show (funnily at Riverside) and then it has just grown from there. Alongside all the theatre work I also manage a couple of contemporary artists including Ngaiire, Little May and Wallace. So that always keeps me busy.

What has been a career highlight for you?

All the personal career highlights are the ones I mentioned above about developing and creating with my creative theatre family. External to that there have definitely been a couple of key shows that have moved my practise to new heights. Angels In America, Home Invasion, Jess And Joe Forever, Metamorphoses, Dry Land, A Little Piece Of Ash and everything with Clockfire would definitely be high on that list. But to be perfectly honest I have learnt valuable tools and craft development from every show I have worked on, regardless of how hard it may have been at the time. I really can’t separate the shows when talking about the generosity of the directors, designers, actors, playwrights, stage managers and production crews I’ve been lucky enough to work and learn alongside.

What are you working on after GITM?

By the time I get to GITM I would have already worked on 10 shows between Feb and July. So definitely planning on taking a break. Keep your ear to the ground though as there will definitely be new music coming from some of the artists I work with. And keep your eyes peeled for some super exciting 2020 project announcements that are currently penciled in the diary!
About Ben

Ben is a theatre maker, live performance producer/director, composer & sound designer. The recipient of a Sydney Theatre Award for his work on Metamorphoses(Apocalypse), Ben began composing & sound designing with Clockfire Theatre Company as an artistic associate in 2013, collaborating on their shows The Grief ParlourA Hunger SuiteThe Natural Conservatorium for Wise Women & we, the lost company. Other credits include Angels In AmericaDoubt: A ParableLady TabouliAsylum (Apocalypse), Jess & Joe Forever(Sugary Rum), Fierce (Mophead), The Girl/The Woman (National Theatre of Parramatta), Black Birds (The Joan), Dry Land (Mad March Hare/Outhouse Theatre),Degenerate Art (Redline Prod.), The MaidsExtinction Of The Learned Response(Glitterbomb), A Little Piece Of Ash (JackRabbit), Home Invasion (An Assorted Few), You Got Older (Mad March Hare) & Cyprus Avenue (Empress Theatre).
Since 2015 Ben has worked with NGAIIRE on multiple projects including as film producer – Once/Diggin’, film director – Diggin’ & producer of her touring live show. He also works in the management teams of the internationally acclaimed indie darlings Little May & the future-soul vocalist Wallace.

20 – 29 JUNE
RIVERSIDE, PARRAMATTA