Digital Located Residency Blog #1 -‘The beginning is the most important part of the work’.

 

 

I’m about to embark on a research and development project that is part of National Theatre Wales’ Digital Located Residency Programme. The idea for the project has been hanging out in the back of my mind for some time, occasionally popping up every now and then to say hello only to return to the shadows and sulk (probably with a cigarette in its mouth). Until now….So what’s the project? In a nutshell:

Correspondence aims explore the concept of ‘theatre in a box’; an interactive story journey that would be delivered as a package or series of packages to participants. A story would unfold through digital platforms and physical artefacts that investigates the themes of perspectives and truth.

So what is this exactly?

The answer is I don’t know…….what I do have is a lot of questions:

  • Who would this be for and who would it appeal to?
  • How would people interact with this?
  • What technologies exist to facilitate this experience?
  • How would this experience make people feel?
  • How do you generate discussion, debate and connections in this way?
  • Could this personal experience at home develop into an event that brings people together in a physical space?
  • Does the idea have legs? (Be they physical or digital ones)

The crux of the R&D and the question I keep coming back to is ‘what is theatre for the Netflix generation’?

If you are my age, you have just missed out on being a digital native, a person that has grown up with digital technologies and is familiar with them from a young age. I fall into the digital immigrant category, where I’ve acquired knowledge and experience of digital in my adulthood. I still remember life without mobile phones and being glued to the rotary dial phone we had at home, creating mixed tapes on cassette tapes and typing essays on word processors. The world indeed has moved on in the last twenty five years. Not only has our technology changed but the way in which we interact with content has changed.

So in the midst of our hyper connected population where information and entertainment is literally in our pockets available 24/7 and AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), MR (mixed reality) is constantly developing in its sophistication where and how does theatre vie for our attention? Where does theatre sit in all of this wonderful chaos and what is the potential for its future? Now I’m not talking about changing theatre I’m talking about what the exciting possibilities are and creating touch points for people who aren’t engaging with theatre at the moment.

My background is quite diverse: I have a Drama and English degree, I trained as an actor at RWCMD, I worked in theatre for many years before moving into production management, then working for a digital marketing company working with clients that included Google & Virgin, before becoming a creative producer who runs a company that works in both the physical and digital realms. I’m interested in how these disciplines collide and what comes out at the end……….What are the fringes of this space that could form new and exciting forms of theatre and theatrical experience?

Allie

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