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Northern Ireland theatre to collaborate with Minecraft video game

The production will be split between the live performance on stage and puppeteers controlling the actors in a virtual Minecraft set
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The Playhouse Theatre in Derry/Londonderry has announced plans to stage a play in the video game Minecraft.

Playcraft Live will be a co-production between the Northern Ireland theatre and Minecraft, and will be performed by both human actors on stage at the Playhouse and their corresponding digital avatars in the Minecraft world.

Minecraft is the second best-selling video game of all time and enables players to build and explore within its virtual world, as well as interacting with other players.

The production will be split between the live performance on stage and puppeteers controlling the actors in a virtual Minecraft set, created by theatre designers alongside Minecraft artists Adam Clarke and MakeMatic.

The play’s story will unfold across real and virtual worlds, and its script has been written by novelist Alex Scarrow. The production is commissioned by digital arts body the Space and Arts Council England.

Audiences within the theatre and online will experience the production for free as a single live stream, and it will be available to view on YouTube after the event on October 14.

It is the first play to take place specifically in Minecraft, however theatre companies have previously staged productions within online virtual reality worlds.

The Jewell Theatre company perform live plays in 3D virtual world Second Life, and comedians including Ricky Gervais have previously performed in a comedy club accessible via Grand Theft Auto.

Kieran Griffiths, creative director of the Playhouse Theatre, described Playhouse Live as “hugely ambitious and a definite step into the unknown”.

“We are highly excited to be introducing something completely new to the world of theatre. [It is] a tremendous opportunity to allow two artistic worlds to come together and learn from each other.”

Ahead of Playcraft Live in October, audiences are being invited to get involved in the production through a series of online challenges, designed to teach individuals about aspects of both theatre production and Minecraft.

These will include set design, acting, costume design and script writing, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child costume designer, Katrina Lindsay, and actor Art Parkinson contributing.

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