Fusion of art and science earns national award nomination for DMU professor

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) professor has been named a national finalist for her work on a unique collaboration of art and science, working with internationally renowned dance-circus company Motionhouse.

Charge is a performance that uses dance and spectacular acrobatics, combined with 3D digital projects, to explore how electrical charge sparks human life.

Professor Sophy Smith, director of DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies, wrote the score for the piece in collaboration with composer Tim Dickinson. Now their work has been shortlisted for the finals of the Creative Innovation in Sound category of the UK’s Theatre and Technology awards.


Charge is a multi-media show drawing upon the work of Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft and her team from the University of Oxford and her book, The Spark of Life, which explores the effect of electricity on the human body.

Theatre company Motionhouse worked with Professor Ashcroft and her team to develop the piece, which was premiered in October 2017 and has since been performed on tour around the UK and Europe. It has been seen by more than 22,000 people.

Professor Smith said: “It’s fantastic to get recognition for this work, which is so indicative of the work we’re doing at the Institute of Creative Technologies. Since the Institute opened in 2006, we’ve been bringing together technologists, creative practitioners and researchers across discipline areas to develop truly innovative transdisciplinary creative technologies practice and research. This project is a great demonstration of this transdisciplinary practice, and to be a finalist in an award for Creative Innovation is a great testament to our work.

“Knowledge exchange and public engagement are both central to the IOCT, which is why this project, exploring alternative routes to impact and engagement for science research, was so exciting”.

The Theatre and Technology Awards aims to “embrace our digital age of theatre, celebrating the people behind the scenes who enhance the theatrical experience.”

* DMU part of pioneering team to shape how audiences see live performance 
* DMU to help train next generation of arts and humanities researchers
* Interested in DMU? Book onto our next open day

Winners are voted for by critics and the public. They will be announced on Sunday October 20.

Charge sees six performers use the highly physical dance and spectacular acrobatics, interspersed with 3D digital projections, to delve deep into the human body and to bring to life the incredible story of energy in our lives.

Motionhouse has created a page packed with video interviews and onstage footage aimed at school children to explore the science that inspired the show.

Digital projections create a world on stage where dancers and images interact seamlessly, bringing to life stories of energy in our own bodies and humans as energy manipulators.

Charge is the third element of Kevin Finnan’s ‘Earth Trilogy’, developing on themes explored in Scattered (2009) and Broken (2013) about our relationship with water and the Earth.

Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019

Search news archive

DMU Clearing
News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events at DMU

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.