Artist spotlight: Chris Heslop
Each month, Reading Theater Project trains its spotlight on an artist or volunteer who helps make the work we do possible. This month’s featured artist is music director Chris Heslop, whose works have been featured in recent RTP productions like the Five-Minute Fringe Festival and In Nature’s Studio.
What is your role with Reading Theater Project?
A: Music Director
What is your theater background?
A: Most of my theater background is with Reading Theater Project, but have also done numerous theatrical works with Yocum Institute for Arts Education and Berks Opera Company.
What are you working on now?
A: I am scoring a documentary film for Schott Productions which is presenting a history of Berks County. I am preparing for a performance for a Yocum Institute’s “Jazz for Kids,” which will be largely improvised and rather experimental in nature. I am always thinking about what I can do next for Reading Theater Project….I have a few ideas.
What is your favorite RTP project and why?
A: Our 5-Minute Fringe is always a favorite of mine. I enjoy the challenge of not just composing, but thinking in a more theatrical or mulit-disciplined way. This past year I composed a somewhat random musical piece but augmented it with movement, dance, and I even constructed props. The process inspired several other ideas that I am looking forward to developing for future projects.
What do you enjoy about working with RTP?
A: I most enjoy the collaboration. I am inspired by listening to other participants, each with their own ideas and expertise. I hope they benefit from my varied experiences as well.
What is your dream theatrical gig?
A: My dream theatrical gig would definitely include opera, in one form or another. I also enjoy the challenge of augmenting plays with music, with the goal of pushing the play’s message forward. An experimental element would also be involved in my dream gig; that is, pushing the boundaries of what is music, what are instruments, and even what are performers (can a machine be an actor or dancer?).