Stephanie Ridings – The Fear Of Fear

All photographs: Graeme Braidwood Photography

The Fear of Fear is a piece of new writing by theatre maker Stephanie Ridings. It was commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre, supported by Arts Council England and The Sir Barry Jackson Trust and was produced by Pippa Frith. The show was directed by Sarah Myott-Meadows, I designed sound and set and lighting design was by Ben Pacey.

A mysterious figure haunts an untamed Scottish island. No one is immune to the heightened campaign of fear and terror she pours onto those who cross her path. But what does that fear actually feel like and how did wanting to create a scary ghost story mean I ended up 60 meters underground in a watery cave?

The Fear of Fear wrestles with the emotion to try and understand what makes us afraid and why it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.

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In researching this show, writer and performer Stephanie Ridings undertook a number of fear inducing tasks including caving, a zip wire ride and attending a seance. The work is a response to her investigations into fear and follows an episodic structure where Ridings recounts two parallel stories, the caving experience and a visit to Branhill on the isle of Jura to write the script.

The sound design helps to create the two worlds with authentic cave sounds recorded during the caving experience and a subtle naturalistic soundscape of Barnhill cottage and surrounds. Both worlds are heightened with abstract design elements that reference horror/thriller movie soundtracks and the fantastical imagery of some scenes.

Here are some sound design excerpts:

The Fear of Fear premiered at Warwick Arts Centre Studio, 3rd & 4th October 2018.

The Fear of Fear creates some undoubtedly spooky moments, using music and lighting to create suspense. The feeling that something terrible is about to happen never quite leaves you, at least not until you leave the theatre.
Pablo Sandomingo Adams – The Boar