Between Worlds

October 1, 2015
Mark Lochrie

Authors: Paul Egglestone, Dan Dixon, John Rogers
Abstract: This report is an account of the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture funded Digital R&D project between Punchdrunk Theatre, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and researchers from the University of the West of England, Bristol, the University of Dundee and the University of Central Lancashire. This project aimed to test whether an online interactive experience could be created that in some way matches the quality of the physical and visceral, live experience that is at the heart of immersive work. The experiment would attempt to join two audience members together to experience a coherent, shared storyline.
One physically present in the space of Sleep No More, one online, remotely on a laptop or other computer.

This research is of benefit to the wider sector because at present there are several ways of digitally capturing live performances, but very few, if any, ways that audiences can digitally interact with the work. While there is an increasing audience appetite for two-way interaction with theatre, this is by-and-large limited to the live experience of presence. The audience need to be in the room in order to interact with the show. As the appetite for interactive and site-specific work grows, and various aspects of this work move into mainstream theatre, this research could provide significant evidence for a growing part of the sector that has a desire to connect to audiences not just in the room but across the web. So, the idea of a digitally expanded theatre experience is at stake in this work. Can we achieve more with digital than merely extending the size of the auditorium using a broadcast model?

Where: NESTA/AHRC Report
Publication date: 31/05/2012
Document: pdf