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Google partners with RSC and NT to offer global digital arts showcase

The digital exhibition features an immersive video of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Henry V. Photo: Google royal shakespeare theatre
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The Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre are among 60 international arts organisations partnering with online giant Google for a new “first-of-its-kind” digital exhibition.

The digital showcase allows audiences to view more than 150 interactive stories, from drama and dance to music and opera.

Audiences will also be able to discover exhibits – including photos, videos and documents – from other organisations in the UK such as the Shakespeare’s Globe, Sadler’s Wells and Battersea Arts Centre.

Part of Google’s Cultural Institute, the exhibition also allows viewers to watch panoramic videos of productions and performances, including a scene from the RSC’s Henry V starring Alex Hassell.

The RSC experience has been designed so that online audiences can immerse themselves in the performance, by allowing them to move around the stage and sit “shoulder to shoulder with actors” as they perform.

The scene from Henry V was filmed using multiple 360-degree cameras simultaneously and audiences can watch from a variety of angles and view the set and stage in close-up.

RSC artistic director Gregory Doran said the exhibition, available for free online now, offered a new way to keep Shakespeare’s work alive and reach new audiences.

“Using Google’s new technology, the 360-degree scene from Henry V is a great way to showcase our work in the most immediate and immersive way. I am sure it will give new insight into live performance and can only help to encourage more people to come and see shows on stage,” he added.

The content sits alongside expanded Street View footage, captured by Google, which allows online users to take a virtual walk through organisations including the Royal College of Music.

Google described the initiative as the “first of its kind”.

Amit Sood, director of the Google Cultural Institute, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with so many of the world’s renowned performing arts institutions representing the best in drama, dance, music, and opera… Our goal is to open up performing arts to the newcomer and offer access to details that even die-hard fans have not seen before.”

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