26 March 2019

In June 2018 Andy Serkis and Tom Morris directed a full motion capture of Trafalgar Entertainment and Bristol Old Vic’s hit West End show The Grinning Man at the Imaginarium studios in Ealing.  The capture was funded by Magic Leap in order to create content for an Augmented Reality experience using the pioneering Magic Leap glasses.

In developing this material, the Imaginarium have created new software which will allow more than one viewer to experience a short excerpt from the show in Augmented Reality at the same time.

Just as multiple people could simultaneously view the famous Hologram chess game in the very first Star Wars film, this might lead to a new kind of immersive AR drama which can be experienced by mass audiences simultaneously.

It’s still early days but experiments are currently on-going to trial the technology. Last week, 100 people were invited to a special private preview of ‘The Grinning Man on Magic Leap’ at Bristol Old Vic. Fresh from South by Southwest (SXSW), this was the very first time anyone in the UK had the opportunity to take part in this experience using simultaneous viewing software.

Donna Munday, Executive Producer of The Grinning Man, who has led the partnership with Imaginarium, said: “It’s brilliant that our team at Trafalgar Theatre Productions are thinking in such an innovative way about the future life of our productions. Nothing like this has ever been done before and it really opens up the possibility of extending the life of a show, allowing so many more people to enjoy a production long after it has closed.”

Mike Broad, International Franchise Development Manager from Stagecoach Performing Arts, who witnessed one of the earlier trials last year was clearly impressed with the experience. He said, “To see ‘The Grinning Man’ being performing right in the room with me, on a virtual stage, suspended in front of me that I could go walk around, view from any angle and really immerse myself in was truly amazing and quite simply mind-blowing!

“This is something that every theatre and live performance fan has to experience, the potential here for creative content is just unbelievable.

“Trafalgar Entertainment really is at the cutting edge and ahead of the curve here, I would almost say we have an opportunity to lead the way in this area and be a part of setting the trend for the next generation of creative content distribution.”