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RSC and MIF offer a future for interactive performance

Jamie Morgan in Dream. Pic: RSC Photographer Stuart Martin
Jamie Morgan in Dream. Pic: RSC Photographer Stuart Martin

Theatre, music and ground-breaking technology will combine next month in Dream – a glimpse into a possible future of live performance inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The live performance is set in a virtual forest lit by the glimmer of fireflies, where audiences are invited to explore, meet characters Puck, Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Moth, and take a journey into the eye of a storm.

Created during the pandemic, Dream, which runs from March 12-20, uses real-time motion-capture technology so audiences can directly influence the live performance – wherever they are in the world.

Audiences will experience a new performance environment by way of mobile, desktop or tablet via the website, and performers will react and interact with the online audience as a dynamic soundtrack adapts to the narrative in real time.

The work has been created by the Royal Shakespeare Company, with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and the Philharmonia Orchestra, as the culmination of a major research project, Audience of the Future. The project is one of four Audience of the Future initiatives supported by the government.

The 50-minute online event will be a shared experience between remote audience members and the seven actors. Audiences can choose to buy an Audience Plus ticket for £10, which lets them take part and directly influence the world of the actors, while those who don’t wish to take part can watch with a free Audience ticket.

Gregory Doran, the RSC’s artistic director, 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. By bringing together specialists in live performance with that of gaming and music you see how much they have in common.”

Digital Director at Manchester International Festival Gabrielle Jenks, added: “Audience of the Future has been an invaluable space for world-leading organisations to consider the future of virtual production and understand the opportunities and challenges of working with real-time technologies.”

Booking is now open here


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