A new Shakespeare experience and interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that explores how audiences can experience and interact with live performance remotely.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), in collaboration with Manchester International Festival (MIF), Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) and Philharmonia Orchestra worked to stage a live performance of Dream using motion capture as the culmination of a major piece of cutting-edge research and development (R&D).
The pioneering collaboration explored how audiences could experience live performance in the future in addition to a regular visit to a performance venue. 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.
Dream was inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and gave a unique opportunity for audiences to directly influence the live performance from wherever they are in the world. Audiences experienced a new performance environment easily accessed on their mobile, desktop or tablet via the Dream website. The performance used the latest gaming and theatre technology together with an interactive symphonic score that responds to the actors’ movement during the show.
The live performance was 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.
Performances ran during March 2021. Watch the latest video of the making of Dream with behind the scenes footage and the trailer for Dream below.
In October 2021, a ‘Building (the) Dream’ workshop and live demo was presented at the Beyond conference. This took the audience through some of the technical processes and tools used to create Dream and was led by Dream movement director Sarah Perry and performer Maggie Bain (who played Cobweb). Watch the Beyond conference workshop.
In March 2022, the RSC will be taking the workshop to SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Find out more about how the RSC team responded to the challenges of the pandemic in the Covid video diaries series.
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