Babble by Replay Theatre

Babble has been developed in collaboration with local Belfast nurseries and follows on from Replay’s highly successful early years piece,WOBBLE (created in collaboration with Assault Events in 2011).

A vocal wonderland made from live voices and video, Babble is performed inside Replay’s brand new special Bubble – a magical new portable indoor performance space.

With music by award-winning composer, David Goodall, this unique adventure for babies promises to delight our very youngest audience members!

Replay Theatre always push me.  The sets and performances that they create are so different to normal stage productions.  The biggest thing is often available light.  The BABBLE performance would be performed in a specially constructed metallic half sphere.  The main light inside the space was LED and projected video.  Whilst there was plenty of light to see what was going on there was no where near enough for a camera.

But due to the way theatre works i had to adjust my way of working to it rather than the other way round.  I immediately said that despite the lack of light i would not use flash.  I never use flash during theatre work anyway but it was so dark that Replay presumed i would have to use flash.

Another factor why i could not use flash was of the audience!  Little babies and toddlers tend not to like direct flash very much so that was probably the main reason why i would not be using it.

Times like this make me thankful i managed to get my hands on a Nikon D3s.  By modern standards it is an ageing camera but in my opinion it still can beat and stand up to more modern Nikon DSLRs when looking at noise control at high ISO.  Yes we have the D4, D800, D600 and even the D3x but the D3s is still one of Nikons best low light performers.  Most of the images in this post were shot at ISO4000 and above with the aperture usually sitting around F2.8.

You cant do this kind of photography if you dont like or get on with kids.  Its as simple as that.  I do lots of work with Save The Children and over the years i have learnt how to work with kids to make sure they dont panic or run away when i turn up with my camera gear.  The way i approached Babble was no different to other shoots with children.  I was at Replay HQ for two performances of Babble.  Most of the first performance i spent on the mats with the children soaking up the performance.  When the children stopped paying attention to me thats when the camera came out.  Because they were not looking at me and paying attention to the space and performers i could get much natural images.

Another challenging aspect of Babble was the circular space.  No matter were i sat or stand i was constantly on the move.  The performers were constantly moving around the space so i had to look where they were going as to not get in their way.

Read more about this performance over at Replays website.


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