Forth Valley College students help Stirling Old Town Jail to reopen

A group of talented students have spent much of the coronavirus lockdown helping a tourist attraction to reopen.

By Jonathon Reilly
Thursday, 16th July 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 12:43 pm

The team, who all live in the Falkirk area, study sound production at Forth Valley College (FVC) and were invited by Stirling Old Town Jail to work on its background sound and tour narration.

The attraction’s creative director, David Kinnaird, contacted Barry Frame, a sound production lecturer at FVC, in January to ask if any of his students would like to get involved in a project recording actors’ interactive voiceovers and sound effects.

His offer was one the group was never going to turn down.

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Back row: Forth Valley College sound production students Claire McFarlane and Erin Marshall with lecturer Barry Frame. Front row: students Keir Hall and Fraser Reid alongside Stirling Old Town Jail creative director David Kinnaird.

First year HND students Erin Marshall (18) and Claire McFarlane (27), of Falkirk, and Keir Hall (18) and Fraser Reid (22), both from Larbert, jumped at the chance to get involved and were invited to tour the jail in February to get a feel for the atmospheric tours and performances that bring the attraction to life for visitors.

Two days later they were in the recording studios at FVC’s Stirling campus working with David to record the new tracks and script.

The students – supervised by their lecturer Barry – have now completed the project while working from home and using it to contribute to their coursework during lockdown.

In that time they have produced all 43 audio tracks needed by the Old Town Jail, despite software limitations, and have made use of online Zoom meetings to work as a team.

The Old Town Jail will only use audio recordings to begin with then the interactive audio will be introduced when social distancing is relaxed.

David said: “Having worked with Barry on a number of projects, I knew he'd bring a fresh set of ears to the project.

“The FVC students share his energy and invention and I have been excited to see and hear what they made of my scripts.

“I am really pleased with the result and can’t wait for the time when the Old Town Jail will be open to gauge the reaction of the public.”

Geoff Morrison, head governor of the Old Town Jail, said: “This is an exciting time for Stirling Old Town Jail as we can finally unveil our refurbishment and bring visitors back to experience the ultimate in both security and escape!

“We have been immensely proud of the team’s achievements over the last few years in putting the jail back on the map and the input from the team at Forth Valley College has been instrumental in enabling us to build upon the continued success of the attraction.”

Student Fraser Reid said: “I was really excited to be a part of the project. It helped us as students to take part in a professional recording with real actors.

“The project also contributed to our portfolios to help us once we leave the course. We are all very thankful that our lecturer Barry allowed us to have this opportunity.”

Fellow student Erin Marshall added: “The group and I were really excited to be working on the project with Barry and David.

“It was a really great opportunity to expand our knowledge of sound in a realistic space and to then see how it’s received by an audience.

“It’s something very different and it’ll be a great piece of work to go towards extra credit at college!”

FVC lecturer Barry said: “I have known David for many years and am so grateful to him for offering our students the chance to work with the Old Town Jail.

“This has been a great opportunity for the students to showcase their skills working on an exciting live industry project.

“It has also opened their minds to new avenues of work available to sound engineers in a multimedia-driven economy that is constantly expanding.

“The students have demonstrated to themselves and their client that they can work to a high level in a professional environment.

“They have all done very well and I am sure it will benefit them enormously and am very proud of them for taking on this project.”

Colin McGeoch, curriculum manager in FVC’s Department of Creative Industries, said: “I am delighted that our students were given the opportunity to become involved in such an interesting and exciting project.

“Through participating in this work, they have broadened their knowledge and skills and gained valuable experience in emerging sectors of the industry. I’d like to thank the Old Town Jail for inviting our students to be involved in this project.”

To find out more about FVC’s Sound Production courses please call 01324 403000 or visit www.forthvalley.ac.uk.

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