John Avery – Sound
John is a sound designer, recordist and composer for theatre, dance, film, and gallery installations. His commissions and collaborations include work with Tim Etchells, Forced Entertainment Theatre, DV8, Belgrade Theatre, Wendy Houstoun, Fiona Banner, Vincent Dance Company, Hugo Glendinning, Oslo National Theatre, Kate McIntosh, Elmgreen and Dragset, and documentary with people such as Melvyn Bragg, Jonathan Dimbleby and Michael Palin.
I have been working with sound for more than 30 years on a wide range of arts and travel docs, dance films and gallery installations. This ‘longevity’ means I’m able to combine current digital practice and know-how with analogue approaches and a highly tuned ear that marries attention to detail with dependable calm.
Having worked all over the world on both singles and series with some of the most renowned doc makers: Jonathan Dimbleby, Michael Palin etc. I’ve mic’d up knights, MP’s, distinguished scientists, Turner-prize artists, renowned musicians, presidents, royalty and peers of the realm as well as children who’ve never been filmed before – with a quietness and confidence that allows the busiest or most nervous contributor to feel at ease as the camera turns over.
As well as observational, run-and-gun and precisely scripted factual programmes, I also have experience of location and studio-based recording on dramas for both TV and cinema. I’m also a composer, nowadays mainly for theatre (Forced Ents, DV8, Kate Macintosh) and with the industrial-funk band HULA. I believe experience is valuable.
Key credits (not necessarily most recent)
‘In So Many Words’. Sound Installation by Tim Etchells at Lân fan taal for the Obe Pavillion in Leeuwarden European Cultural Capital 2018. Recording & Programming.
“What Can. Sound Installation by Tim Etchells. KunstFestSpiele, Hannover. 2018. Recording & Programming.
‘In Many Hands’: Kate McIntosh. Performance. Sound Design. 2017.
“Unstill” Composer/performer. Live performance with projection by Hugo Glendinning. Oslo National Theatre Oct 2016 & Leeds Juncture Dance Festival 2014.
‘Real Magic’. Forced Entertainment Theatre. Dir Tim Etchells. 2016
‘The Ostrich Boys’. Belgrade Theatre Coventry. Dir. Tony Graham. 2016. Composer & Sound Design
‘All Ears’: Kate McIntosh. Performance. Sound Design and Sound Technician. 2014/15.
‘Stand Off’. Sound Installation by Tim Etchells. Sound Design, recording and editing. 2015
‘Spoken Out’. Sound Installation by Tim Etchells. Sound Design, recording and editing. 2015
“Just Like Larry Wallis” Theatre/Performance by Drunken Chorus. Composer. 2014/15.
“Some Patterns of Current Dance. SoundInstallation by Lucy Cash/Straybird.
Sound Design and recording. 2015
‘Picture of Sound’. Vlatka Horvat for Croatian radio. Recording and edit. 2014
“Non Correspondence” . Tim Etchells/Lara Pawson. for LIFT Festival, “After A War” at BAC June 2014. Sound Recording and Post.
“La Noche Oscura Del Alma.”. Theatre/Performance by Drunken Chorus. Composer/Sound Design and performer. 2013
“Violent Incident”. Arnolfini. Tim Etchells Jan 2013. Sound Recording and Post.
‘The Coming Storm”. Forced Entertainment. Dir Tim Etchells. 2012/13. Sound Consultant.
“Table Top Shakespeare”. Royal Shakespeare Company. Dir. Tim Etchells. Nov 2012. Sound.
‘Room For London’. 2012. Art Angel. Fiona Banner’s “Heart of Darkness”. South Bank Centre, London . Sound and dialogue playback.
Tim Etchells’ “Unsound Method”. South Bank Centre, London. Composer.
‘Happy Days in the Art World’. A Play by Elmgreen and Dragset. Autumn 2011. Sound Designer.
‘What On Earth’. ArtsCouncil/Gulbenkian. Series of 6 artist films. Dir. Various. 2011. Sound Superviser
For Forced Entertainment Theatre as Composer/Sound Designer
‘The Thrill of it All’. Dir Tim Etchell’s. 2010/11
‘Void Story’. Dir. Tim Etchells. 2009. 2014.
‘Nights In This City’, ‘Dreams Winter’, ‘Showtime’, ‘Break In’, ‘Speak Bitterness’, ’Club of No Regrets’, ‘Emmanuelle Enchanted’ and 10 other composed soundtracks since 1984.
‘Nightwalks’ and ‘Frozen Palaces’. Also with photographer Hugo Glendinning, DVDs for ‘Photo 98’.
For DV8 Physical Theatre as Sound Designer.
‘Can We Talk About This?’ DV8 Physical Theatre. Dir. Lloyd Newson. Sound Editor. 2011.
‘To Be Straight With You’. Winter 2007 and Sept 2008. Sound Design.
For Unicorn Theatre as Composer
‘Billy The Kid revival’, 2011 ‘The Twin Stars’, 2008. ‘Billy The Kid’, 2007.‘Granny and the Gorilla’, 2003.
‘Beauty and the Beast’. 2002. ‘Red Red Shoes’, 2001 (first run at The Place, second at Royal
Opera House Linbury Theatre in 2002. Barclays Theatre Award Nomination 2002). All directed by Tony Graham.
For choreographer Wendy Houstoun as Composer
‘Desert Island Dances’, 2006. ‘Just Don’t Know’. Jerwood Choreography Award. 2004. ‘48 Almost Love Lyrics’. 2003. Other shows include: ‘Happy Hour’, ‘Flaunted’, ‘Daunted’, ‘Haunted’ and ‘Feted’, the latter was a Royal Festival Hall/Greenwich Dance commission, performed outside at Canary Wharf.
For Vincent Dance Company as Composer
‘Fairy Tale’. Theatre for Children and ‘Broken Chords’, 2005 ‘Punch Drunk’. 2004.‘Let the
Mountains Lead You to Love’. 2003. ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’. In collaboration with Dada Von Bzdulow Theatre (Poland) 2001.
‘Caravan of Lies’. 2000. ‘On The House’. Live performance and simultaneous film projection, 2000.
One-off commissions include:
‘Starfucker’. Commissioned by Opera North for the Resonance season, 2004. Composer.
A piece for 3 Sopranos, tape and film. Text by Tim Etchells.
‘The Snake Sheds Its Skin’ Opera Factory. Dir. David Freeman. 1998. Sound Designer.
‘Take Me To The River’. Royal Festival Hall/Greenwich Dance Agency commission. 1999.Composer.1 hr boat trip from Greenwich to the Royal Festival Hall with text by Iain Sinclair.
TV and Film Commissions include:
‘The Time of Their Lives’. BBC Storyville. Dir. Jocelyn Cammack. 2009. Recordist, sound designer & composer. Best Film at Brazil Women’s International Film Festival.
‘3 Minute Wonder – Darwin’s Originals’. 6 short Artist films for Channel 4. 2009. Sound Mix.
‘First Black Britains’. Sweet Patootee. Historical documentary. BBC. 2007. Composer.
‘South Bank Show: The Wilsons’. Arts Doc. Dir. Susan Shaw. 2004. Composer.
‘The Bone Orchestra’. SciArt film, The Wellcome Trust. Dir. Jocelyn Cammack. 2003. Music/Sound Design
‘Bodies of Water’. Dance film. BBC. Dir Jocelyn Cammack. 2003. Music/Sound Design. Filmed in Iceland.
‘Piano di Rotta’. Dance film for Arté, France. Dir. Jocelyn Cammack. 2002. Music/Sound Design.
‘Relativity’. Short drama for ACE. Faction Films. Dir. Virginnia Heath. 2001. Music/Sound Design. (Winner Pris UIP Berlin International Film Festival, 2002 for ‘Best Short Film. Winner ‘Best Film’, Drifting Clouds International Short Film Festival, New Zealand).
‘Better or Worse’. Lifesize Pictures for Film Council, YHA. 16mm. Dir; Jocelyn Cammack. Jan 2000.(Palm d’Or Nominee, Cannes Film Festival 2000. Winner Best Short Film Chicago, Gijon, Reus and Pris UIPFlanders International Film Festival, Best Short Kodak/BAFTA North. European Film Academy Award Best Short Film Nomination 2001). Recordist & Sound Designer.
‘DIY’. Lifesize for C4. 16mm doc. Dir. Tim Etchells/Hugo Glendinning. Recordist, designer & composer. Golden Spire for Best Short Documentary at Hotdocs, San Francisco International Film Festival 1998.
‘Diary of a Dancer’. TX BBC2/Illuminations. 16mm doc. Dir. David Hinton. Sound designer & composer. 1997.
Sound Recording Selected Film & Television credits:
Regular recordist on The South Bank Show for ITV and now for Sky Arts since 1999. My first Southbank Show was ‘Nightmail 2’. Dir. Tony Harrison & David Thomson, a new
interpretation of W.H. Auden’s 1936 Post Office film, shot on location throughout the UK in ‘01/’02.
Programmes include: ‘Royal Shakespeare Company’, ‘Kevin Spacey’, ‘The Da Vinci Code’, ‘Eric Clapton’, ‘Ronnie Corbett’, ‘Nick Park’, ‘Damien Hirst’, ‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘John Rutter’, ‘The Darkness”, “Ruth Rendell’, ‘Paul Abbott’, ‘Adam Phillips’, ‘Khaled’ and many more.
‘The Passion’. BBC. Dir. Rupert Edwards. Film of Michael Sheen’s production of The Passion in Port Talbot Wales . Senior sound recordist. Easter 2011.
‘Youssou N’Dour’. Dir. Archie Powell. Recording of live performance at The Barbican and at Studios in Dakar Senegal . Recordist. March 2011.
“Circus” Cryin’ Out Loud. Dir Deborah May. Throughout 2012. Sound Recordist.
‘INFRA’ Wayne McGregor’s first piece for the Royal Ballet, Dir. Dominic Best. 2008.
‘Classical Britannia’. Dir. Fran Kemp, 2007.
‘Castrato’. Dir. Fran Kemp, 2006.
‘Alfred Brendel at Seventy’. Doc. Rosetta Pictures/BBC. Dir. Mark Kidel. 2001.
Regular recordist for BBC Classical Music and The Proms.
Regular recordist for Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
Regular recordist at Sadlers Wells. Dir. Deborah May for DVD Dance.
Recordist for video artists Jane and Louise Wilson:
‘Unfolding the Aryan Papers’, BFI Southbank commission, 2008.
‘The Silence is Twice as Fast Backwards’, Annual Contemporary Art Exhibition at Sudeley Castle, 2008.
‘Buran’ and ‘Star City. Two Video Art Installations, 2003.
Filming behind the scenes of the Russian space program including the launch of the crew of the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
‘Gamma’. Video Art Installation. Dir. The Wilson Sisters. Turner Prize Nomination, 1999.
‘Russia: A Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby’. BBC. Dir. Jamie Muir. Filmed on the road from Astrakan to Volgagrad (Stalingrad) in 2007. Recordist.
‘Walks in Literary Britain’. ITV Arts and Features. 4 programmes. Dirs. Jonathan Levi, David Thomas. Shot on location throughout Britain in 2007. Recordist.
‘The Neo-Con Case’. Brook Lapping for PBS (USA). Dir. Mick Gold. Filmed in Russia and Bosnia, 2006.
‘Surveillance’, Blue Blood Films/FulcrumTV. Feature film. Dir. Paul Oremland. 2006. Mixer.
’12 Books that changed the World’. Melvyn Bragg. 4 programmes for ITV Arts and Features. 2005/6. Recordist.
‘The Story of ITV’. Melvyn Bragg. 5 programmes for ITV Arts and Features. 2004/5. Recordist.
‘Adventures of English’, Melvyn Bragg. ITV, 4 part series. Filmed in India, USA and UK, 2002/3. Recordist.
‘Smokey Dives’. Double Exposure/BBC4. Dir. Ian Denyer. A road trip into the history of British jazz with musician George Melly. 2001. Recordist.
‘Crazy Diamond’. Otmoor Productions. Music Doc. Dir. John Egerton. 2001. Recordist.
A profile of the Pink Floyd musician Syd Barret.
‘The Facemakers’. Living Proof. BBC/Century Films Doc. Dir. Katie Bailiff. 2000. Recordist.
Filmed in USA, closely following the operation to rebuild a child’s face.
Winner, US Circle of Excellence Media Awards, 2001. Finalist, New York Film and TV Awards, 2001.
‘The Management: Colonel Tom Parker’. Channel4/VTVC. Dir. Chris Bruce. Recordist.
A road trip through USA following the trail of Elvis Presley’s manager. Filmed in 2000.
‘Chunky Monkey’. Open Road Productions. Hi Definition feature film. Dir. Greg Crutwell. Mixer. The first feature to be shot on Sony’s Hi Definition video format. 2000.
Sound recordist, designer and composer on a range of 16 and 35mm films between ‘94 and ’99, including:
‘Own Goal’. BBC/Pagoda TV. 5 programme drama series. Dir. Jocelyn Cammack. Recordist.
BAFTA Nomination for Best School’s TV Drama.
‘Prometheus’. Dir. Tony Harrison. Channel4 Feature. Holmes Associates. Mixer. 1997.
Shot on location in UK, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.
MA Sound Production. Leeds Met University 1992.
Associate Member of Performing Rights Society, member of Musician’s Union.