XR / IMMERSIVE
WHY ARE THEATRE-MAKERS WORKING WITH XR/IMMERSIVE TECH?
Theatre makers are spatial storytellers. We use the dynamics of space - movement, agency, presence, light, sound - and the space itself, as storytelling tools. At its core, XR is a spatial medium. 360 cameras, game engines, virtual production volumes, and augmented reality interfaces all create spaces. As a result, theatre makers are very well placed to work in these new 'performance spaces' as we innately understand how use them to tell stories.
WHY IS VR THE BEST IMMERSIVE TECH FOR THEATRE MAKERS?
There are several reasons VR is the best entry point into immersive technology for theatre artists and organizations.
VR is essentially an inverted theatre-in-the-round. The audience is at the very centre of the experience and the story happens around them (and above and below them in some cases).
Theatre makers - from directors, actors to writers, etc - instinctively get VR once they've explored it.
VR is the most developed and accessible of the XR trifecta. Headsets are suitably advanced and 360 cameras and platforms like Unreal Engine allow you to learn the creative underpinnings of VR storytelling with minimal barriers to entry.
360 content is supported by YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook - you can share, and possibly monetize, your creative output easily and effectively.
The cost of equipment to create VR is decreasing as headset adoption is increasing.
Beyond storytelling, VR can be used in amazing ways by set, lighting and sound designers for pre-visualisation and for marketing and audience development innitiatives.
For these reasons and more, I stepped into the realm of storytelling with VR and immersive technology seven years ago.
Theatre-makers have huge contributions to make in this new storytelling space; a space influenced by video games, film and theatre. Theatre-makers, like me, have taken seats at the proverbial XR/Immersive table and are now helping to shape this exciting new storytelling frontier. I encourage more of you to pull up a chair.
XR = Extended Reality: includes virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and mixed reality (MR).
Immersive = deep absorption or immersion in something. This is a foundational feature of XR, spatial audio, virtual production and video games.
BEHIND THE SCENES ON TOSCA VR
A peak into the making of our production of Tosca VR and the various approaches to shifting an opera from a traditional theatre space into a location-based virtual performance space.
"My experience is that the best ideas come when a creative vision is married to technological innovation. Relative Motion are a great example of that. They have a real understanding of storytelling and audience agency, developed through many years of theatrical expertise, and a sure-footed approach to virtual reality. To scale, immersive technology needs more engaging and exciting content of the kind that Relative Motion are delivering."
Phil Jones, Managing Director, Wired Sussex
"Their ability to deploy more traditional immersive theatrical techniques such as how to choreograph people’s attention around a space provides a really valuable asset in terms of spatial storytelling. That, combined with a truly audience-first attitude, means I always look forward to seeing the immersive stories they choose to tell."
Joe Bell - Sideburn Panda