Royal Shakespeare Company Opens ‘Dream’

Feb 25, 2021

Live performance and gaming technology come together for Dream, an Audience of the Future Demonstrator project from the Royal Shakespeare Company, combining live performance and gaming technology to explore the future for audiences and live theatre.

The project is one of four Audience of the Future Demonstrator projects, supported by the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund which is delivered by UK Research and Innovation.

➤ Live, online performance set in a virtual midsummer forest
➤ Performances took place Friday 12 March – Saturday 20 March 2021

The Royal Shakespeare Company, in collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra staged a live performance of Dream using motion capture as the culmination of a major piece of cutting-edge research and development.

This pioneering collaboration explored how audiences could experience live performance in the future. Dream was due to open in Spring 2020 as an in person and online live performance and was recreated during the pandemic for online audiences whilst theatres remain closed.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the project combined theatre, music and groundbreaking technology in an extraordinary exploration into the future of live performance.

Set in a virtual midsummer forest, under the shadow of gathering clouds at dusk, lit by the glimmer of fireflies, Puck acts as the guide. Audiences are invited to explore the forest from the canopy of the trees to the roots, meet the sprites, Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Moth, and take an extraordinary journey into the eye of a cataclysmic storm. Together with Puck they must regrow the forest before the dawn. When day breaks, the spell breaks.

The 50-minute online event was a shared experience between remote audience members and the seven actors who play Puck and the sprites with ten Dream performances scheduled so that audiences across the world could join the event. At key points in the play audiences could directly influence the world of the actors.

Highly anticipated, the online performance attracted a lot of press attention, with articles in The Guardian, BBC, The Telegraph and more…