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Press Release: Funding Support for Digital Stage Production

2nd May 2019 by Morven Macbeth

imitating the dog, one of the UK’s most original and innovative performance theatre companies is one of 20 teams selected to take part in this year’s CreativeXR programme.

The northwest-based company has been making ground-breaking work for theatres and other spaces for more than 20 years. Their work, which fuses live performance with digital technology, has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people in venues, outdoor festivals and events across the world. Their recent production, Heart of Darkness, has toured to 13 venues across the country and will tour internationally in 2020.

This latest project will see the company use ‘mixed reality’ technology for the first time to enhance the audience’s experience. Europe After the Rain will be an original immersive theatre production. The piece will tell a personal story of a broken romance, set against a backdrop of the last fifty years of European history.

imitating the dog Co-Artistic Director Simon Wainwright said: ‘We are thrilled to be selected as part of the Creative XR programme. It’s a great opportunity for us to test out some new technical approaches, supported by the brilliant team at Digital Catapult. We will be experimenting with mixed reality techniques that are often used in film, mixing real footage with a virtual environment, but we want to test out using similar techniques in real-time, for a theatre show. We expect the end result will be a mixed reality production for an audience to experience collectively.’

CreativeXR supports new forms of creative content enabled by immersive (virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR)) technology. The programme provides access to immersive facilities and industry mentors, and gives teams a platform to focus on R&D to create riskier, content-driven projects, opening up novel ways of engaging audiences and telling new stories.

Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult​ said: “CreativeXR is all about encouraging the development of new formats leading to new markets for cultural applications of immersive technologies. As a new medium, the ideas and approaches that can succeed are as likely to come from edges of contemporary art or from more commercially focussed industrial design. This year’s cohort is an inspiring combination of inventiveness, tech ability and commercial approach.”

Francis Runacres, Executive Director of Enterprise and Innovation, Arts Council England​, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Digital Catapult again on a second round of CreativeXR. This year’s cohort show a huge diversity of ideas in projects combining artistic experimentation with technological innovation. Building on the success of CreativeXR’s first year, these prototypes show the teams pushing even further to explore the potential for immersive technologies to create new forms of creativity and cultural experiences.”

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