Latest Blog: Give Mum A Date With Shakespeare (or Van Gogh)

The Circus Team here is feeling pretty organised (and smug with it). We’ve discovered a couple of new, rare and cutting-edge experiences – super cool gift inspiration for Mother’s Day! Perfect for all ages, so great for individuals, or to experience together (virtually) with the whole family. “WHAT ARE THEY THEN?” we hear you scream…

Dream – Explore the Future of Theatre in a Virtual Forest

DREAM – EXPLORE THE FUTURE OF THEATRE IN A VIRTUAL FOREST” by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) brings together performance and gaming technology to explore new, immersive ways for audiences to experience live theatre. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is a live performance set in a virtual midsummer forest. One of the special features about it – you get an opportunity to directly influence the live performance, from wherever in the world you are!

Simply put: it sounds awe-inspiring. 

Under the shadow of gathering clouds at dusk, lit by the glimmer of fireflies, Puck acts as the guide…” (RSC). We’re invited to meet the sprites, Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Moth, explore the forest from the canopy of the trees to the roots, and be part of an extraordinary adventure into the eye of a cataclysmic storm. We get to experience an “interactive symphonic score” which responds to the actors’ movement during the show.

Performances are 50 minutes long, and due to be held Friday 12th March to Saturday 20th March 2021. They’re a shared experience between remote audience members and the seven actors who play Puck and the sprites. It’s free to watch or £10 a ticket to take part and influence the world of the actors.

Interestingly, the ambitious vision was shared and delivered by a range of partners (the RSC, along with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra), and backed by the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. It’s apparently one of four Audience of the Future Demonstrator projects, delivered by UK Research and Innovation. 

As part of this, the performance uses “motion capture” – the culmination of a major piece of cutting-edge research and development – to explore how audiences could experience live performance in the future in addition to a regular visit to a performance venue.

It looks to be a true feat of art combined with technology. And we simply CAN NOT WAIT to experience it. (And pretend it was a Mother’s Day gift for our mums).

More information can be found here.

Van Gogh, The Immersive Experience

The other little gem we’ve discovered is plans for Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. A 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular featuring two-story projections of the artist’s most compelling works. The project is about ‘meeting the artist like never before’ through exquisite story-telling and cutting-edge technology.

Unlike DREAM, you do venture to a venue for the experience but it’s strongly marketed to be COVID-safe and family-friendly – completely digital, and hands free. They suggest you plan for the immersive experience to take around an hour. The venue comprises a large central space where the artist’s works stretch floor-to-ceiling, complemented by separate galleries that chronicle his life, technique, and influence through larger than life re-creations, interactive panels. 

You also get to walk alongside Van Gogh on a Virtual Reality ten-minute journey through “A day in the life of the Artist”. It aims to be a peaceful, visually rich journey to discover the inspiration behind eight of his iconic works, including Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles, and Starry Night Over The Rhone River.

Tickets are due to be released Thursday 11th March – just in time for Mother’s Day. The dates and venue for the experience are to be announced later in the year. It all sounds very exciting – and, we’ve heard, there’s even a surprise at the end of the experience for young artists!

For more information please see here.

Whether you opt to encounter the brilliance of one of history’s greatest artists in 360 degrees, or immerse yourself into the ultimate high-tech, interactive, Shakespeare-inspired performance, or head for the more traditional massive box of chocolates – we hope you have an awesome time this Mother’s Day – celebrating those near or far.

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