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Shannon Harvey

MY Story

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MY Story

I was born in Boulder, Colorado to creative parents. My early years were enhanced with many opportunities to perform, learn about technology and, by the age of two I was already known as a seasoned storyteller. My time was split between my parents who lived on opposite sides of the planet. My mother found many ways to encourage my formal education, artistic interests and travel. She taught me how to bring creative ideas into reality. Holidays were spent with my father in Australia. He shared his fascinating musical interests like recording Aboriginal song lines in Arnhem Land. He taught me how to dream. Both my parents supported me in following my interests, talents and dreams.

 

As a teenager and into my early 20’s I envisioned my career would be in opera as a singer. This led me to Carnegie Mellon University for training and performance. Following an unfortunate vocal injury that left me mute for 2 years, I took time to see which creative passion and new direction I would take.

 

I moved to Australia and joined a circus as a mute strongman clown. I worked with lots of kids and some adults learning juggling, clowning and acrobatics. I produced and filmed two big-top shows. Spaghetti Circus Pirates (2006) used a real-time generative video set extension comprising three 20 ft. video rear projections screens behind the set. It was an extraordinary experience.

 

I came back to the States and completed my Bachelors Degree in Drama and Music and Masters Degree in Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon. My Masters thesis focused on technical theatre and the integration of video game workflows into live theatrical productions. These concepts still fascinate me. Each project I do builds on the original thesis, refining and bringing me closer to their realization.

 

In 2007 I relocated to the UK to do an internship at Philips. I worked with the amBX team developing an immersive lighting controller for real-time audio and video, and effects for cinema, video games and installations. This was the forerunner to the intelligent lighting controllers we use today. In 2010 I joined United Visual Artists in London to support the eventual growth of the product formally known as D3 by Disguise. I worked with them as a lead on technical sales for two years.

 

I left Disguise when I saw an opportunity in project work as an operator and workflow consultant. An opportunity to work at Backstage Academy (University of Bolton) led me to Wakefield to work at Production Park. There I was the course leader and a senior lecturer for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Live Visual Design and Production. I have trained over 60 students in advanced skills for 3-D media servers and real-time content creation techniques. I also became the head of research for Production Park, supporting the largest scenic company for concert touring in Europe. (Brilliant Stages—now TAIT) There I worked with the integration and technical workflows for video, automation, lighting and scenic design.

 

In August 2019 I launched my own consulting business, Creative Alchemy 2...It gave me opportunities to work on major projects across the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe before the pandemic brought our industry to a standstill. It has given me time to reflect on the work I’ve done over the years: shows and instillations in theater, opera, circus, heritage, art museums, concert tours, formula one garages, building media facades, TV, film and advertising. Since the start of Covid in February 2020, my work is shifting in a different direction. It is moving toward a more creative production, focusing on the advancements in virtual production and extended reality. The interest now is utilizing the technology to create and develop new methods that can be used in different applications to tell better stories. Creating ways to enhance audience participation, perspectives and experiences at lives events has peeked my interest and attention.

 

My life is greatly enriched by my children, Amelia (10) and Finn (8). They constantly remind me of the freedom of seeing through the eyes of a child, the joy of play and the power of imagination. I have a lot to learn from them.