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RSC launches fellowships scheme to ‘push the boundaries of digital storytelling’

Mark Quartley rehearsing as Ariel. Photo: Gramafilm The RSC's recent production of The Tempest used motion-capture technology. Photo: Gramafilm
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A fellowships scheme to explore the use of technology in theatre has been launched by the Royal Shakespeare Company, aimed at “pushing the boundaries” of storytelling.

Six fellowships will be offered to students, academics or postgraduates in specialist areas, who will be given the chance to experiment with virtual-reality technology.

The fellowships will focus on three areas of expertise: creative, which can include performers and designers; narrator, which can include writers and dramaturgs; and technical, which can include coders or people with skills in different immersive technologies.

The scheme is being run in partnership with American technology company Magic Leap.

Each participant will receive access to Magic Leap’s technology and expertise, as well as the RSC’s theatrical knowledge, with the aim of producing a research and development project to be shared in 2019. Participants will also be paid travel and accommodation costs and will attend workshops, briefings, field trips, events and sharings.

The results of the research and development will be used to shape the next stage of the RSC and Magic Leap’s partnership, which will include the development of larger-scale projects using these technologies.

Sarah Ellis, RSC director of digital development, said: “We’re all about creating amazing experiences for audiences, to captivate and to inspire people through our performances.

“We want to push boundaries and to seek new ways of engaging people in live theatre. New technologies have a great potential to do this.”

John Monos, vice president of Magic Leap, added that working together gave both organisations “the opportunity to be at the forefront of arts and technology by mixing the digital with live performance to ultimately develop the next frontier in theatre”.

An RSC spokeswoman said she would be unable to confirm details of project costs and funding sources until a later date. An interview process for the fellowships will begin in November this year – click here for information about how to apply.

Other partners in the project include the University of Birmingham, i2 Media Research at Goldsmiths University, the University of Portsmouth and the Midlands 4 Cities doctoral training programme, which links eight universities in the Midlands.

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