Royal Shakespeare Company to stage performance using virtual reality technology

Tom Horton, PA

The Royal Shakespeare Company is to stage a live performance using virtual reality technology.

The performance is titled Dream and is based on William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The play will be staged in a virtual forest and motion sensors on the actors will see them interact with their surroundings and the audience during the performance.

(Stuart Martin/RSC/PA)
(Stuart Martin/RSC/PA)

The production had originally been scheduled to be staged as a live performance in the spring, however the gaming technology will be used to bring it to audiences amid disruption to the theatre industry caused by coronavirus.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said: “What’s brilliant about Dream is the innovation at play.

“An audience member sitting at home influencing the live performance from wherever they are – that’s exciting.

“It’s not a replacement to being in the space with the performers but it opens up new opportunities.

“By bringing together specialists in on-stage live performance with that of gaming and music you see how much they have in common.

“For instance, the RSC’s deep understanding of scripted drama combined with Marshmallow Laser Feast’s innovation in creative tech brings thrilling results.

(Stuart Martin/RSC/PA)
(Stuart Martin/RSC/PA)

“The story is king, whether you are a gamer, or an audience member. Stories haven’t changed, but the way we engage audiences with them has.

“Shakespeare was our greatest storyteller and it’s brilliant that we get the opportunity to use one of his plays to discover what could be possible for live performance.”

The production is being staged in collaboration with the arts event Manchester International Festival, art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Tickets for the 50-minute performance go on sale at midday on Monday ahead of the first show on March 12.

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