StoryTrails is a unique immersive storytelling experience, led by StoryFutures Academy which is run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film and Television School (NFTS).
StoryTrails harnesses the magic of immersive storytelling to bring to life untold stories from the past, through the magic of the 3D internet using augmented and virtual reality to reanimate public spaces in towns and cities across the UK. Audiences will time-travel via the wonder of new technologies to experience untold local histories where they happened. Town squares, local libraries, streets and cinemas will be transformed into virtual portals through which to explore stories of historical change in 15 locations across the UK in 2022.
The StoryTrails creative team will work closely with communities in each of the towns to uncover unknown, surprising and intriguing stories. The experience will reignite people’s pride and passion for their home town, giving the public a new sense of connection to their community and the histories of the place where they live.
StoryTrails will create a fresh and cinematic approach to storytelling that appeals to a range of audiences in UK and globally, creating the world’s largest immersive storytelling archive project. It will change the way we can tell stories about ourselves, putting the promise of the 3D internet into the hands of people where they live and make the virtual and the augmented a magical reality for audiences everywhere.
StoryTrails has recruited the next generation of creative UK-based talent to help tell the stories of local communities. Fifty creatives are being trained to use state-of-the-art immersive technologies to showcase and produce these stories in new and surprising ways. StoryTrails wants to ensure that the UK’s creative industries are not only the best trained in the use of emerging and immersive technologies but that the future workforce properly represents the diversity of the UK.
StoryTrails will take place in 15 locations across the UK, with free two day residencies in each town: Omagh, Dundee, Dumfries, Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield, Lincoln, Wolverhampton, Swansea, Newport, Bristol, Swindon and Slough, ending in London (Lambeth and Lewisham). In each place local stories will be collected to create the world’s first spatial archive, linking national media archives with contemporary 3D scans of objects, people and places to create a new way of experiencing each town.
In each location, the StoryTrails creative team will guide audiences through an immersive tour of their town as they travel through time and space to experience the places where they live in new and magical ways. They will explore stories across virtual and augmented reality and via a series of installations, bringing the physical and the digital together and breathing life into their surroundings. Guided by a mobile AR app, audiences will be led at their own pace to different story points along the route with a choice of story trails to follow. Outside their local library, participants will enter the story portal to begin the StoryTrails experience. Using a mix of stunning augmented reality experiences that remix the BFI and BBC archive, people will experience history where it actually happened, revitalising the streets upon which they stand with new voices and untold stories of the past. Inside the library participants will be immersed and fly through a virtual map of their town that will be made up of 3D models, and audio stories captured on location. They will also have the opportunity to explore further stories via bespoke virtual reality experiences.
StoryTrails will culminate with a specially commissioned film by broadcaster and film-maker, David Olusoga premiering at the London Film Festival in October 2022 and then made available on BFI Player and BBC iPlayer. The film will bring history to life and inspire a conversation around who we are now, and where we are heading.
When and where to find StoryTrails at SXSW 2022:
StoryFutures Academy is the UK’s National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, run by the National Film and Television School (NFTS) and Royal Holloway, University of London. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation.
British Film Institute
The Reading Agency