The word HOPE spelled in yellow, blue, and red balloons.

4 | 5 I 6 April 2022
Immersive Theatre in expanded spaces

HOPE is on the way!

The online conference HOPE! from the EU-funded theatre network PlayOn! took place from 4. – 6. April. We focussed on digital technologies which expand the spaces of theatre and attract new audiences. We explored the importance of spatial sound / immersive music and mixed reality (VR & AR) / metaverse through exemplary productions. We also looked at microcontrollers and tracking systems including robotics, and the ways in which the public / virtual space can be opened up theatres and their audiences.

Familiar old conventions of theatre are challenged by digital technologies, new spaces are developed through immersive performances. The spatial expansion into the virtual also allows the audience to take on a new role and become part of the narrative development, co-creating the storyline. However, this is not intended to change the traditional understanding that theatre is a live medium, that audience and artists meet directly – virtually and / or in real life.

We dived into the digital technologies that can expand the spaces of theatre and thus also open up new audiences, including the importance of spatial sound / immersive music and mixed reality (virtual and augmented reality) through exemplary productions. We also explored the question of how this can be used to open up public / virtual space for theatre and its audience.

More than 20 experts worldwide from theatre, technology and science presented outstanding theatre performances, new research approaches and give hands-on workshops. Panel discussions focussed on how XR technologies can expand theatre aesthetics and create new opportunities for set design, costumes and audience participation. The HOPE! audience were able to participate in numerous interactive formats at HOPE! directly.

HOPE! Recordings will be available soon!
Mon April 4th
Moderated by Lucy Hammond & Johanna Malchow
Panel 1: PlayOn! update: New Storytelling with immersive Technology field reports

10:00 Welcome and keynote by Christiane Hütter / futurewithplay.de (DE)

Christiane Hütter, DE, opens the panel with a keynote. She explores, questions and (re)invents systems with the means of art, game design and storytelling – using social cooperation. Her works cover a wide range of formats from urban games, fictive organizations, citywide revitalizing festivals and playful settings for urban participation. www.futurewithplay.de

10:40

For the past two years, 9 European theatres have been working together in the PlayOn! network to learn, test and apply immersive technologies to shift classical storytelling to interactive narrative formats. On HOPE!, the first field reports are presented.

Lucy Hammond from Pilot theatre company, UK, presents Monoliths – Three women. Three voices. The northern landscape. Monoliths combine the sound- scapes of real locations with the stories of three northern women. Audiences experience three artistically rendered environments based on real outdoor locations. An exploration on how to meld the real audio soundscape of a location with 3D rendered environments. www.pilot-theatre.com

Drømmespillet (Dream Game) will be introduced by director Vera Krohn-Svaleng from Teatret Vårt, NO: An interactive stage created by microcontrollers that provides an unusual theatrical experience for a young audience (aged 8+). teatretvart.no

The director Katarzyna Minkowska (Teatr Ludowy, PL) and Kamil Kamysz (ASP, Faculty of Industrial Design, Kraków) are presenting 1984 : Ministerstwo Miłości (Ministry of Love). 1984 is an interactive play with the audience, who will find themselves in the Ministry of Love when they enter the theatre. The audience and the actors become active participants in a dystopia that, thanks to the support of a mobile voting and chatting app, allows them to influence the storyline. www.ludowy.pl

Johanna Jaeger from Landesbühnen Sachsen, DE, will introduce Berlin@Play a cooperation with Akademie für Theater und Digitalität Dortmund and Platypus theatre. At Berlin@Play, the spectators become players in public space, like in Kafka‘s novel „The Castle“. The mysterious power of the „castle“ becomes its own digital reality through augmented reality, GPS tracking and binaural sound. landesbuehnen-sachsen.de /platypus-theatre.de / theater.digital

11:25 Panel Discussion

All times are CET (Central European Time)

Panel 2: Spatial Sound & Immersive Music

12:00

Spatial sound in virtual reality involves the manipulation of audio signals so they mimic acoustic behavior in the real world. An accurate sonic representation of a virtual world is a very powerful way to create a compelling and immersive experience. What dramaturgical and technical requirements are necessary and where is the spatial sound and immersive music heading?

usomo by FRAMED immersive projects is a pioneer in immersive, threedimensional sound production. With this sound system, it is possible to experience sound indivi- dually and interactively, it transforms spaces into walk-in interactive sound spaces, unique for everyone. Simply by the free movement of the user, sound is triggered individually. It changes depending on the position in the space. An introduction in a sense-expanding audible experience.

Doron Sadja, USA, is working primarily with multichannel spatialized sound – combining pristine electronics with lush romantic synthesizers, extreme frequencies, dense noise, and computer-enhanced acoustic instruments.

Lukas Rehm, DE,  is a musician working in the field of new media and installation art, will dive into concepts and approaches to working with spatial sound. He will present the exemplary music theatre production „Castor&&Pollux“ for 4DSound, Baroque Ensemble, Moving Image and Moving Audience. His talk also prepares us for his workshop, on Tuesday, 5.4 at 7pm.

Fred Adam, FR, is a New Media explorer, co-founder of CGeomap project. The locative media platform CGeomap, a web technology combining an interactive map on the computer with a mobile walking webapp. The easy to use tool is a playground for many creators, uncovering a new place-based and interactive language for multi-layered storytelling.Fred‘s talk also prepares us for his workshop, on Tuesday, 5.4 at 6 pm.

Keynote by Enrique Tomás, ES. Enrique senior lecturer at Tangible Music Lab (TAMLAB) at the University of Art and Design, Linz and a sound artist and researcher who dedicates his time to finding new ways of expression and play with sound, art and technology. His work explores the intersection between sound art, computer music, locative media and human-machine interaction.

12:40 Panel Discussion

13:10 start Panel 3

Due to the time difference, the Japanese theatre group Rhizomatiks is already presenting their talk here, leading into Panel 3 Tracking and Robotics. Since its foundation in 2006, Rhizomatiks has widened the sphere of its activities and developed comprehensive creative strengths, moving between real and online worlds across fields ranging from media arts, advertising, and entertainment to architecture and urban development. Moving freely between art and enter- tainment, armed with high-level technical expertise and outstanding expressiveness, the group is engaged in almost all the stages of a project, from planning to development of software and hardware and operations.

After the panel discussion, all speakers and the audience will meet in the wonderBar – a virtual conference foyer for networking and chatting. Please not that the safari browser is not supported by wonder.me

All times are CET (Central European Time)

Panel 3, 18:00: Tracking and Robotics

18:00

Motion caputre systems to collect datas and track systems for moving effects on stage or even to let robots act live to an audience are only some expamples how theatres dive into a world, in which virtual and analogue merge and new stylistic idoms emerge.

Claudius Lanzzeroni, DE, is professor for Interface Design at Folkwang University in Essen. He works on the development of methods and tools that enable interdisciplinary design in space. Sound, light and movement are interactively experienced through sensors of various kinds and controlled with generative methods that we also know from electronic music. His talk introduces us to his workshop on Wednesday, 6.4., 12:00 am.

Keynote by Juergen Hagler, AT is an academic researcher and curator working at the interface of animation, game, and media art. Since 2017 he is director of the Ars Electronica Animation Festival and initiator and organizer of the symposium Expanded Animation. His TED-like talk ist about animating participants in co-located playful mixed-reality installations.

The performative Research of Dancer and Choreographer Silke Grabinger director of SILK Cie and Artist and programmer Amir Bastan are investigating subjectivity in Human Robot Interaction. The use Spot (Boston Dynamics), the programming language VL, a performer and a body, choreography as an intangible interface, and questioning how to deal with desire. The project’s title ist „Split Subject“.

Johannes Braumann heads the Lab for Creative Robotics at University Linz, AT. Creative Robotics sees industrial robots not only as manufacturing machines, but as universal interfaces between the digital and physical worlds. Johannes provides an overview of the challenges of using robotic arms in new environ- ments such as immersive theatre.

Krzysztof Haberko from Centrum Nauki Kopernik in Warsaw, PL, introduces us to the acting robots of the Robot Theatre. The Robotic Acting School practitio- ners currently have a repertoire of two plays, a fairy tale and a short story by Stanisław Lem.Krzysztof will speak about programming robots, their agility on stage and coordination with sound and light.

Claudio Milani, IT, is a storyteller, an enchanter who plays with the imagination of the moment. His theatre playfully combines tracking and robotics for a young audience with apparently simple means. He will talk about floating balloons and fire games, which are technically realised with simple tools but have a great poetic effect.

19:10 Panel discussion

19:30 Meet the speakers in the wonderBar

All times are CET (Central European Time)

Tue April 5
Moderated by Pola Weiß
Panel 4: Mixed Reality and Metaverse

10:00

How can theatre make use of the expanded scope offered by XR? And how do we design such XR spaces? What experiences have theatres made with it and how has XR helped to convey new (?) content in a meaningful way.

António Baía Reis, PT, a researcher, professor, and digital artist gives a TED-like talk: Somewhere over the theatreverse: a working in progress artistic mani- festo on live performance in virtual reality. He will provide an overview of the main concepts and ideas related to live performance in XR, as well as the main potentialities and challenges surrounding the future of performing arts in the metaverse experience economy.

Franziska Ritter, DE, founded digital.DTHG – die digital competence centre of the DTHG / german OISTAT centre, talks about her experience with „Spatial Encounters“ – a hybrid-real space in which artists and audience meet and become both actors and designers of a co-created experience. She will explore the question of what are the potential and limits of such a hybrid space.

10:40 Panel discussion followed by short break

11:15 

Ben Carlin, UK, is the creative director at Megaverse and will present the VR performance Flood, a dystopian climate thriller which involves 2 live motion captured performers, 3 VR audience members and a passive roaming audience of up to 200.

Susanne Schuster and Ricardo Gehn, DE, are the media artists and software developer of the indepentent media and performatnce group OutOfTheBox. Fundamentals of OutOfTheBox’s work with digital technologies in performative art are collaboration, audience co-creation and interaction. Their recent workCommunityDriven. A smart city generator, is a Augmented Reality installation.

Lucy Askew, UK, is Chief Executive of Creation Theatre Company. Her presentation will look at, Creation’s digital transformation and how they have gone from being hyper-local to attracting global audiences. Changes in online audiences’ behaviour over that period and how they see Digital Theatre evolving in the future.

Tina Lorenz, DE, from the Digital department, presents the innovative VR strategy of Staatstheater Augsburg. Numerous VR offers have been developed by the different departments in the last two years (drama, dance, music). Visitors receive VR glasses at home and can return them free of charge after two days.

Philipp Hauß and Sebastian Huber explain the digital strategy of the Burgtheater, the new developments and experiences during the pandemic and introduces the collective project of the Twitter Theatre in the evening (see below – 20:00 CET).

Jason Moore, USA, from Metamovie, presents a live-VR-experience: Alien Rescue, a cinematic VR adventure. Together with fifteen other role-playing audience members, the player or spectator and the entire cast will embark on a revulutionary shared storytelling experience. The movie is announced as: you don‘t watch this movie, you live it!


12:30 Panel discussion / end of the session
12:50 Meet the speakers in the wonder.bar

All times are CET (Central European Time)

Panel 5 Hands-on-workshops

18:00

4 hands-on workshops will be held in parallel in this panel. Very concrete examples of the development of immersive theatre will be presented, based on existing on inexpensive solutions. The workshops will take place on zoom, each participant can ask questions directly and enter into a direct exchange with the workshop leaders.

18:00 CET Mircocontrollers, audiovisual productions and realtime-video effects

First we will visit the planet of microcontrollers, have a short conversations with its inhabitants and maybe even see how they secretely build circuits by themselves (!). Afterwards we will visit the two-moon planet of audiovisual productions, where we will find another ton of tools. Best is: lots of them are free and we are allowed to take them with us. Our journey will end with the third planet: a multicultural zone of realtime video effects.
The workshop is led by Julian Jungel, DE, head of the new implemented Lab for Digitality at HFS Academy of Dramatic Arts „Ernst Busch“ in Berlin.

18:00 CET Alphabet of the City – Gamifying a map for peace on CGeomap

The locative media platform CGeomap, a web technology combining an interactive map on the computer with a mobile walking webapp is base of the work- shop. Our easy to use tool is a playground for many creators, uncovering a new place-based and interactive language for multi-layered storytelling. CGeomap is not making products, but processes of collaborative creation and sharing of local experiences globally. Every project is a new collaboration, allowing you and your group to build an own project, for better resilience and environmental awareness. During the workshop we gamify a map, for peace, and we offer a one week trial of CGeomap to build yourself a mini-project.
Fred Adam,FR, is co-founder of CGeomap project and founder of the Lab GPS Museum. For the workshop he is assisted by Geert Vermeire, BE, a curator, artist, poet with a focus on spatial writing.

19:00 CET Spatial Sound

The workshop will dive into concepts and approaches to working with spatial sound. Lukas Rehm will introduce the participants to the workflows applied in his productions including different principles of motion capture. In addition the workshop aims to also introduce simple and accessible tools for working with spatial sound on your computers with headphones, that later enable an adaptation of the composition to large theatre spaces and different speaker setups. Lukas Rehm is an artist and musician working in the field of new media, installation art, documentary and experimental fiction, he lives in Amsterdam.

19:00 CET Reactionlink – a webbased tool for interacitve events

reactionlink online-based application for interactive events – it is also the platform for this HOPE! conference. Several PlayOn! theatre productions already work with reactionlink to interactively engage the audience.
Dominik Scherm, CEO of reactionlink, will present the application with numerous examples.

followed by 20:00 

A Twitter Theatre co-production: Burgtheater Wien, Berliner Ensemble, Teatr Ludowy and PlayOn!
Twitter theatre an unusual, collective theatre experience On Twitter: #HOPEVorstellung.

21:30 meet the speakers in the wonder.bar

All times are CET (Central European Time)

TWITTER THEATRE - Mother Hope and her Children

20:00 #HopeVorstellung

Mother Hope and Her Children

A learning-opera in two acts, if all agree
Director: Via Zusamm
5. April 20:00 Duration: 50 minutes plus 1 interval

A Twitter Theatre co-production: Burgtheater Wien, Berliner Ensemble, Teatr Ludowy and PlayOn!
Twitter theatre an unusual, collective theatre experience On Twitter: #HOPEVorstellung.

Travel (not) to Berlin and Krakow and visit (not) a guest performance of the Burgtheater Wien there – and all in one evening!

We invite you to the Twitter theatre evening once again: A Twitter Theatre guest performance of Burgtheater Wien will take place as part of the HOPE! conference: For one evening, on 5 April 2022, the audience and the theatre will tell together on Twitter under the hashtag #HopeVorstellung about a performance that only takes place in your and our imaginations. The title of the play: Mother Hope and Her Children. The first part of the Twitter Theatre will (not) take place on the stage of the Berliner Ensemble, during the interval there will be (no) buses waiting on Bertolt-Brecht-Platz to take the audience to Teatr Ludowy in Krakow, where the curtain will go up for the second part of the non-performance.

The audience and its fantastic performance are supported and fired up on Twitter by actors from the Burgtheater, the Berliner Ensemble, the Teatr Ludowy and other European PlayOn! theatres. The Burgtheater provides impulses from its official account @burgtheater. Twitter will be in the native languages of the actors and the audience, with Twitter’s automatic translation programme providing AI poetry and understanding.

About the format Twitter-Theatre-Evening – How to play along:

As part of the Twitter-Theatre-Evening format, the Burgtheater invites audiences to spend an evening imagining they are sitting in the theatre watching a performance. On Twitter you describe what you don’t see on stage but could see, what you don’t experience in the canteen but could experience, what friends you don’t make in the theatre foyer but could make.
The audience casts the roles as they wish, invents (and adds) characters and plot lines, devises stage sets and costumes, imagines staging tricks and mishaps, the stunning and the ridiculous, and tells about it on Twitter. It laughs and cries, is enraptured and keeps a critical distance. In this way, a very special performance emerges from the sum of all tweets, which are the sum of all performances.

If you don’t have a Twitter account but would like to create one, here’s how:
1. go to twitter.com and click on REGISTER.
2. enter your name and email address and click on CONTINUE
3. the prompt „Customise your experience“ will appear, you don’t need to tick anything here. Click on CONTINUE 4. you will now be sent a verification code. Enter the code

5. you are registered.

This is how you then play along:

1. in the „SEARCH TWITTER“ box, type #HopeVorstellung and read tweets from others. If you click on the speech bubble, you can reply to other tweets.
2. In the „CREATE TWEET“ field, you can tweet from your imagination. Tell us: What is happening in the foyer? What do you see on stage? Always add the hashtag #HopeVorstellung to your tweets. Send.

3. the tweet is in a language you don’t understand? Press the field „Translate tweet“, the text will automatically be translated into your language.

The fee for the Twitter Theatre guest performance will be donated to Teatr Ludowy, which takes in and cares for refugees from Ukraine.

21:30 meet in the wonder.bar

All times are CET (Central European Time)

Wed April 6
Moderated by Ben Kirman
Panel 6: VR and AR Productions, 10:00 – 11:50 CET

10:00 Welcome and Concrete Utopias

On the third day of HOPE! we will give concrete inspiration for creating an immersive theatre performance in a public space.

Keynote by Robert Walton and Claire Coleman, AUS, researcher and writer from Melbourne, are talking about the interdisciplinary public artwork Child of Now. The project speculates on radical variations of how the next century might turn out. Robert and Claire will invite 14.400 people to step into the Child of Now’s shoes at key moments in the future to help make decisions. The sum of all the decisions creates a collaboratively authored future history of the next century. The holograms we create of each person’s performance as the Child of Now form an animated portrait that ages sequentially, one body at a time, one minute each, through a whole life course

10:30 Panel 6: Digital Creativity Sparks

Ben Kirman, UK, from the Digital Creativity Labs at Universtiy of York, will give Digital Creativity Sparks – A collection of micro-talks, videos and demos, to kindle ideas on creative uses of technology, and start dreaming of concrete utopias to develop immersive theatre in expanded outdoor spaces.

Followed by a Keynote by David Gochfeld, USA
A collection of micro-talks, videos and demos, to kindle on creative users of technology, and start dreaming of concete utopias to develop immersive theatre in expanded spaces followed by Q&A / break afterwards

Panel 6: VR and AR Productions, WORKSHOPS 11:50 - 13:00 CET

11:50 Hands-on-workshops

two workshops in parallel

Claudius Lanzeroni, DE, professor for Interface Design at Folkwang Universtiy in Essen, is giving a presentation of SEKLAKI (sensor klang kiste) a system of different sensor and tracking possibilities specialized for an easy use on stage with little technological knowhow. The goal is an easy control of sound, light and visuals with macro and micro movements of different bodies.

Sven Weber and Camillo Stark, DE, from msm.digital are presenting Smart Glasses / AR-Glasses as a new device category and the possibilities for the use in immersive theatre. They also introduce Metarcube and other augmented reality tools that can be used to promote and / or evaluate theatre events (pre- or post-visit contacts).

12:50 PlayOn! outlook in 2022/2023 and final meeting in wonderBar

All times are CET (Central European Time)

Contact us
VAT Teater MTÜ
National Library Theatre Hall
Tõnismägi 2 (location)
10122 TallinnEstland

Mail address: Endla 3, 10122 Tallinn

VAT No. EE 100 744 512
(+372) 6 450 959
(+372) 6 307 272
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