An ambitious project that hopes to “reimagine the future of conservatoire training for the digital age” has been unveiled by a group of performing arts schools including LAMDA, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, RADA and the Royal Academy of Music.
The project, called Virtual Conservatoire, will enable students at different schools across the UK to collaborate on productions via live streaming, in real time and without any digital delay, meaning rehearsals and performances occur in sync.
It has been in development for four years and the first pilot performances will take place this weekend, when two interconnected shows will play out simultaneously to two audiences in London and Bristol.
Both audiences will watch the same show but from different perspectives, which the schools involved said could create new potential for live performance as a “multi-location experience”.
The six schools involved are LAMDA, RADA, Bristol Old Vic, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music and the Central School of Ballet.
Anthony Quinn, head of screen and audio performance at LAMDA, told The Stage he hoped in addition to enabling peer-to-peer collaboration across different institutions, Virtual Conservatoire would transform the position of the conservatoire in the modern world.
He said it could mean schools become more involved in research, and “not just deliver training, but have a remit to explore things that other sectors don’t have the time or resources to do”.
Quinn added that, so far, performers, production and technical arts students have been involved – demonstrating the potential scope of the project in future.
To date, the project has included a series of scratch nights which have culminated in a new piece called Otis and Eunice, based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which will be performed on March 29 and 30 at the Royal College of Music and Bristol Old Vic.
Sharon Clark, who is creative director of immersive theatre company Raucous and is directing Otis and Eunice, said: “It has been fascinating to create with students a live experience that can transform how they will think about performance in the future and how they can collaborate digitally to take their theatremaking in new and unexpected directions.”