Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Pilot Theatre are among the organisations awarded grants of up to £20k to develop “riskier, content-driven projects”.

Photo of virtual reality headset
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A magic mirror to “unchain theatrical barriers” and an interactive high-stakes thriller are two of the immersive arts projects supported through a new Arts Council England (ACE) fund.

20 organisations have been awarded up to £20k to develop “riskier, content-driven projects” that make use new technology to support skills development and business opportunities.

CreativeXR – jointly funded by ACE and agency Digital Catapult – will also give the selected projects access to workshops with industry leaders and ‘immersive labs’ in Brighton, Belfast, London and North East Tees Valley.

“We need to ensure creative talent has the opportunity to experiment with cutting-edge immersive technology to deliver new experiences that inspire audiences,” explained Francis Runacres, ACE’s Executive Director of Enterprise and Innovation.

“CreativeXR is designed to deliver a boost to arts and culture organisations, small businesses, and creative innovators capable of producing world-leading immersive content.”

Pitch

The selected projects, which use a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality technology, include:

  • A “digital exploration” of nature and the human senses by Interplay Theatre
  • A two-play interactive thriller, combining VR with live action, from Pilot Theatre
  • A project exploring rising sea levels and interplanetary travel by Plymouth Arts Centre
  • Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s use of augmented reality to “unchain theatrical barriers”.

The twenty teams will pitch their researched projects at a final showcase to partners including BBC, Sony and Google in March 2018.

Explaining the scheme, Aurelien Simon, Head of Immersive at Digital Catapult, said: “We want to make it easier for content commissioners to take more risks and explore new forms of storytelling with immersive content.

“That’s why we’re giving the 20 teams selected the space and funding they need to experiment with their projects, as well as the chance to present their creations to content commissioners at the end of the programme.”

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