Portsmouth researcher appointed as prestigious Digital Theatre Fellow

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and spatial computing pioneer Magic Leap – in partnership with i2media and University of Portsmouth – have given six individuals, including Laura Doye (known as Lou) from the University of Portsmouth, the opportunity to discover the future of digital theatre through their first ever Fellowships programme.

The Fellows have been selected for their expertise and brilliance across a range of disciplines, and will explore the future of theatre innovation – and what that could mean for audiences in the future.

Lou is a producer, who originally trained at London Contemporary Dance School, who generates novel and innovate audience experiences using new technologies. She worked for Chichester Festival Theatre, and became an artistic director of The New Theatre Royal Portsmouth before setting up her own company to explore new imaginative territories with extended reality (XR), which is real-and-virtual combined environments generated by computer technology and wearables.

As part of the one-year Fellowship, the Fellows will receive expert input from the RSC and Magic Leap technologists, plus from university partners i2 media research Limited at Goldsmiths University of London and the University of Portsmouth.  Throughout the Fellowship they will cover everything from dramaturgy and stage design to user experience, audience insight and developer skills, building on their existing experience and knowledge.

We wanted to find the next generation of creative technologists who can help us to change the face of live performance experiences for people around the world. The six Fellows bring a huge amount of experience and knowledge to the project and we are very excited to work with them to discover what’s next for audiences in terms of digital theatre experiences and how storytelling can be brought to life.

Sarah Ellis, RSC Director of Digital Development

Each Fellow will benefit from a year’s long programme, including a week residency in Miami visiting Magic Leap and exploring their technology, skills and expertise. Other residencies will provide the Fellows with the opportunity to work alongside the RSC creative teams.

The journey will be followed through a series of blogs led by innovation foundation, Nesta, allowing the knowledge gained to be shared throughout the creative industries https://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/mixed-reality-theatre-new-ways-play-reality/

Sarah Ellis, RSC Director of Digital Development, said about the partnership: “We wanted to find the next generation of creative technologists who can help us to change the face of live performance experiences for people around the world.  The six Fellows bring a huge amount of experience and knowledge to the project and we are very excited to work with them to discover what’s next for audiences in terms of digital theatre experiences and how storytelling can be brought to life.”

Andy Lanning, Magic Leap Executive Creative Director, added: “Magic Leap is proud and tremendously excited to be supporting the Fellowship Program. We are looking forward to seeing what the Fellows can create using Magic Leap’s spatial computing and technology alongside our wonderful collaborators; the Royal Shakespeare Company, i2 Media and the University of Portsmouth. Our hope is that this pioneering program will help shape and create new opportunities for future students and new roles for future employment in this developing sector.”

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