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Further to my post the other day about David Bintley’s incredible new version of Cinderella, we find that BR are actually producing a second version!  The same score, on the same scale and with the same ambitious production values… but with a very different choreographic team.

Following on from the hugely successful Ballet Hoo! project, BRB are working with local youth groups in the exciting project “Ballet, Birmingham and Me” (or BB&Me for short) to create this second version of Cinderella.

Follow the trial and tribulations of this amazing projects at BB&Me.

Working with CMS: Content Management System

In today’s web world any kind of design, which is going to be continually updated with content, needs a CMS. This database stores your site content and allows the site admin to work with an interface which means you can then add, modify and remove content at your will.

Although a CMS can be designed and programmed specifically for a site it is necessary for you to first consider the type of CMS you are looking to work with. Free website platforms such and Drupal, Joomla and WordPress are available. Although a cheaper option maybe attractive you must match the best CMS available according your requirements – just because it looks cheaper in the short run doesn’t mean it will be over time.

The Relationship Between CMS and Design Brief

A problem we often come across when designing and working with clients is the relationship between the CMS and your design brief. I have begun to think why you shouldn’t specify your CMS as part of your design brief. With some potential clients we can sometimes find the first problem we come across is that the amalgamation of the brief for the technical side (content management system [CMS] and the customer relationship management [CRM]) with the design itself. To solve this problem you should assess these as two separate items and each should be approached separately.

A good CMS will support just about any design that it is thrown into the mix and any designer should conversely also be able to work with most CMS. In regards to implementation, we would always carry out all of the associated work anyway and it should be our main job to make sure the CMS templates correctly implement the design.

Of course it is also possible that over time we can see multiple designers working on a project, even on different parts of a sites design. So by having the technical infrastructure independent to the design company itself can give you much more flexibility. If you are attempting a much larger revamp of the site, why switch your CMS?

Keep the CMS at the Top of the Design Process

We should always put the CMS at the top of the design process; it is imperative that this is done first, before any of the design work. Lay the groundwork of the project with your CMS from this the rest of the design should flow. This is so that the CMS forms the foundation of any website allowing the website process to be much more productive.

Birmingham Royal Ballet published their planned productions for the Birmingham Hippodrome today and you can find the listing here.

What is great, for us, about this is that it shows some of the new features in Masque Repertoire (our content management system for the performing arts), allowing all the information about a production to appear on one page together with links to the booking pages on the theatres web site. Take a look at the Romeo and Juliet page to get the idea.
This is just the first phase in our redevelopment with lots more features being added. We have worked closely with BRB for several years to develop a system that is easy to use and quick to update when you have more information to impart.
From a technical point it has been a fascinating challenge to get the underlying database structure correct and then to build the web program to bring this all together into the web pages – depending on what’s coming up performance wise this might generate 1,500 pages or more – and is handling about 5,000 page views a day.

Yesterday I was visiting Birmingham Royal Ballet and was fortunate enough to catch a rehearsal of ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café. I have to confess I was amazed: The music was at times haunting others inspirational; the costumes were stunning; and the use of a simple but evocative sets and lighting set the whole thing ablaze.

So what’s it all about? Well to borrow the description from BRB:

Simon Jeffes and his Penguin Café Orchestra provided David Bintley’s inspiration for ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café, his witty and poignant look at man’s effect on the world around him. A morris-dancing flea, a ballroom-dancing ram, a sleepy rat and a woolly monkey are among the animals featured.”
A performance to experience. It is on at various locations throughout the UK as part of BRB’s Pomp and Circumstances suite – click here for more info.