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It Felt Like A Kiss

Manchester International Festival, Punchdrunk, BBC, Adam Curtis and Daman Albarn.


May- July 2009


Quay House, Manchester


Creative Director: Felix Barrett

Sound Designer: Stephen Dobbie

Music By: Daman Albarn

Lighting Designer: Euan Maybank

Video Content: Adam Curtis


Sound Equipment, Show Control, Video Equipment Supplied by The Stage Management Company (UK) Ltd


Lighting Equipment Supplied by: White Light Ltd




Deep within an empty city centre office block, archive film, installation design and music combine with the disorienting whirl of a fairground ghost train.


It Felt Like a Kiss told the story of America's rise to power in the golden age of pop and the nightmare that came back to haunt us all.


The production won Punchdrunk the Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Special Entertainment.


The whole system was overseen by SMC Technical Direcor Jezz Hellens, assisted by Peter Hargreaves and was THE hottest ticket in town during it's run.


Stage Management Company were commissioned to supply, install and operate various audio, show control and video playback systems through all 5 floors of this immersive experience. The audience is taken in groups of around 10, at 10 minute intervals, through a series of disorientating, atmospherically-lit rooms over 5 floors and through a basement area devised as a series of caged walks, turnstiles and tunnels in what proves a rollercoasting of visual and emotional experiences.  The whole film is shown in a "Prom Room" where the audiences can linger to watch it in its' entirety, where it is also split across a total of 36x CRT Monitors ranging from 4" to 14", 4x 50" Plasma Screens and shown through 11x Projectors from 2000 - 5000 ANSI Lumen and 22x 28" Barco Cubes making full use of vision splitters, mixers and convertors as well as 2x Vector Control Systems with DMX Switch contro and a multitude of Control cable.  A continuous soundscape, including an earthquare floor provides a disconcerting backdrop and there are some surprises hidden along the way too!  No less than Thirty One seperate sound installations feed approximiately 130 speakers across systems which vary in size and type. A general 100v line system running throughout the building is complemented by "specific" systems ranging from d&b Q and E Series Loudspeakers, Nexo and HK Contour Systems, several powered effect monitors from 30w to 250w and a few home cinema systems discreetly hidden around the route.  5x Show magic AV Vista systems with full backup were supplied to control the multiple Audio, DMX and Video streams consecutively to multiple room spaces. The largest system controls four main "Zones" split to a total of 39 individual rooms and outputs four individual video streams to 60x dimmer channels and 8x seperate audio streams simultaneously.


"I've never seen a more ambitious, elaborate example of site-specific work."


Benedict Nightingale, The Times


View the full Adam Curtis documentary here: It Felt Like A Kiss