Creative organisations collaborate to win key investment

January 16, 2019

Organisations from across the creative industries have come together to form a consortium to shape the ways in which audiences can experience live performance.

The Audience of the Future project involves 15 specialist organisations and pioneers in immersive technology including leading British arts companies, global technology giants and top British universities. Together they will use their knowledge and expertise in theatre and performance, the music industry, video production, gaming and the research sector to shape how audiences will experience live performance in the future. 

The first year of Audience of the Future will focus on collaborative research and development with the intention of delivering an immersive live performance on multiple platforms in 2020.

Over two years the group will work together to explore what it means to perform live using emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). They will uncover the future opportunities of real-time immersive performance that are connected across multiple platforms, creating opportunities for the UK cultural sector to change the way audiences experience live performance by making it more immersive. 

Audiences will no longer be bound by their location. Using devices such as mobile phones, Extended Reality (XR) headsets and streaming into live performance environments, or even in the home, wherever they are, audiences will experience live performance like never before.

Led by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) the consortium includes De Montfort University, Epic Games, i2 Media Research Limited, Intel, Magic Leap, Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast, Nesta, Phi Centre, Philharmonia Orchestra, Punchdrunk, University of Portsmouth  and The Space.

This significant new collaboration will uncover the potential of real-time immersive performance connected across multiple platforms, creating opportunities for the UK cultural sector to change the way audiences experience live performance in thrilling new ways.

Talking about the collaboration, RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran said,

“Some of the best brains in the creative industries and research sector will work together in this unique collaboration looking at the future potential of live performance and what that means for the industry, the creative sector and audiences around the world. Every partner has something different to offer through their work with immersive technologies and live performance, and the potential to deliver an experience for audiences that has never seen before is hugely exciting.”

The project is funded within the Audience of the Future programme by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

A woman using the VR experienceI am Peter Stillman, by 59 productions

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund brings together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. It provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It plays a central role in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. It is run by UK Research and Innovation, which comprises the Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England.

UK Research and Innovation is a new organisation that brings together the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.