DMU part of pioneering team to shape how audiences experience live performance


De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be part of a unique team of creative industry specialists who will pool their expertise to discover the next stage of immersive performance experiences for audiences around the world.

DMU is one of 15 specialist organisations taking part in the project, which is being led by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

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The £16 million investment is a key element of the Audience of the Future programme. This is part of the government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which is delivered by UK Research and Innovation and was announced by the government in March 2018 in the Creative Industries Sector Deal.

The consortium 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).

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.

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.

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A transdisciplinary team of researchers from DMU will work on areas such as digital performance, game development, computer visualisation and spatial computing.

As part of the wider project, DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) will specifically explore how technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) can be used in both the production and reception of live performances.

The research will define new audience experiences, implement new technologies, explore new commercial revenues and support the UK’s growth in creative content, products and services.

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Professor Sophy Smith, Director of the Institute of Creative Technologies, said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting consortium for such a ground-breaking project, exploring the future potential of immersive technologies within live performance.

“Creativity and innovation are core values held by DMU, as well as key drivers for us all at the IOCT and we are thrilled to be part of a project that will impact how future audiences engage with performance, and perhaps even the nature of future performance itself.

“Knowledge exchange and public engagement have always been central to our work at the IOCT, and this project brings both these aspects of our work together, developing and extending exciting collaborative partnerships to make a direct impact on society’s engagement with culture and creativity.”

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The RSC-led consortium also includes 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.

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.”

Posted on Thursday 10th January 2019

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