Nfld. & Labrador

Interactive mobile app Bannerman Quartet launches this weekend

A new app allows a smartphone user to have an interactive experience in one of the province's oldest and most historic parks.

New app brings a fictional twist to a stroll in Bannerman Park

Author and playwright Chris Brookes of Battery Radio is the creator of the Bannerman Quartet app. (John Gushue/CBC)

A new mobile app has been created to allow a whole new interactive experience in one of the province's oldest and most historic parks.

The audio app, Bannerman Quartet, is the brainchild of Chris Brookes, a veteran documentary producer and owner of the Battery Radio production company.

A park stroll like no other. 4:40

Brookes said the project grew from Inside Outside Battery, an app that was designed a couple of years ago. It takes a person on an interactive journey from Battery Road to the North Head Trail.

"Well, the Battery thing is an app that you walk through the Battery, and GPS triggers voices as you go through. It's non-fiction," said Brookes. 

"Almost magically, a voice triggers in your earbuds, and you're right there at the spot where this person is describing — so I thought — what if we do that with fiction?" 

Brookes told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show that he approached writers Michael Winter, Sara Tilley, Megan Coles and Joel Hynes, and asked each of them to write a short story about Bannerman Park.

"So we have a quartet of short stories set in Bannerman Park, four characters, read by people like Allan Hawco and Petrina Bromley," he said. 

"So as you walk through the park, you can follow the route of one particular character, there's a little map on your phone, or you can just wander around. And as you pass the spot where an event in the story happens, it'll trigger the story." 

Broken hearts and a Dear John letter

Brookes said each of the four Bannerman Quartet characters is going through a life crisis.

"There's Iris, who has taken her best friend's little boy to the playground. But she's going through a breakup, and so she gets involved in texting and suddenly she looks up, and the kid's not there," he said.

"If you walk anywhere near the playground with this app, you'll encounter Iris madly tearing around, desperately looking for the little boy named Harry."

Brookes said as you approach the park's famous bandstand, you're likely to bump into Michael Winter's character.

"He's a sad sack named Sam, and he's fearing that he's going to get a Dear John letter by the time he gets to the clock there by the bandstand — and of course he does."

Bannerman Quartet is already available on iTunes, and officially launches Sunday at The Ship in St. John's at 8 p.m.

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