Leeds lecturer’s CGI skills help give the Bard a boost

Leeds Trinity University radio lecturer, Bob Walmsley
Leeds Trinity University radio lecturer, Bob Walmsley
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A Leeds lecturer has helped to give The Bard a boost with some computer-generated effects.

Animator and radio lecturer Bob Walmsley was approached to create digital images for Sam Mendes’s production of King Lear.

Bob, who is a tutor at Leeds Trinity University, has created specialist weather images for the production which is currently showing at The National Theatre.

The radio presenter and journalist was asked to work on one of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies by West End and Broadway projection designer Jon Driscoll.

The pair have previously produced effects for the Sir Tim Rice musical From Here to Eternity, which includes a depiction of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbour.

Bob said: “Most stage plays and musicals now have videos, images and animations projected onto on stage screens, which allow the audience to see special effects that would be impossible with old-fashioned sets.

“Jon and I worked together on From Here to Eternity for two weeks in September and were very pleased with what we created.

“The explosions play a prominent role in what is a hugely powerful and exciting climax to the show.

“Jon approached me again to produce some very special CGI weather effects for a particularly powerful scene in King Lear.”

And the new father managed to juggle caring for his two-week-old daughter with creating the digital effects for the production.

He said:“Although I was getting to grips with my daughter Dora, my wife and I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of working with Jon again, especially on such a high profile, Sam Mendes production, so I agreed.

“So, over the Christmas period I juggled my baby duties, University marking and designing these special effects.

“ I can’t remember what sleep is like and my body clock is all over the place.

“But it’s definitely been worth it to be part of such an exciting production made by such an impressive and talented group of people.”

King Lear premiered at The National Theatre on January 16 and is already sold out.

It will be screened live in cinemas across the UK on May 1, with showings at all of Leeds’s multiplexes.

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