The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries‘ motion capture suite hosted a week-long residency by two theatre companies to explore how motion capture could be used for live performance. Motion capture (Mo-cap for short) is the process of recording the movement of objects or people. It is used in military, entertainment, sports, medical applications, and robotics but it’s the creative applications that grabbed the attention of theatre companies based in Brighton.
Limbik Theatre and Spymonkey spent five days exploring how they can incorporate motion capture technology into their performances. The collaboration was first of its kind, and allowed artists to combine new and old entertainment, to tell stories using multimedia technologies and discover how the digital age will change the way we consume and imbibe stories. The work could involve anything from animating non-humanoid characters to exploring the relationship between a live actor and one performing through an avatar.
Alex Counsell, Mo-Cap expert and Lecturer in the School of Creative Technologies, provided a team of technologists and digital artists to help the performers realize their ideas. Alex, said that he was excited to be merging the technical capabilities of motion-capture and virtual reality with the creativity of the theatre.
He said: “The work is totally experimental and it opened up a whole new level of immersion. We were doing real-time motion capture so we were creating things and seeing them happen immediately. It was the start of something new and unique and I was excited to see how the artists would use the technology.”
The collaboration was facilitated by The Old Market Theatre Company in Brighton. James Turnbull, Development Manager at the Old Market said:
“As technology advances at ever increasing rate, we were keen to explore what the future of live entertainment will be in the coming years. Our partnership with New Theatre Royal and the excellent team at the University of Portsmouth has enabled us to bring some of the UK’s leading artists to play and explore.”
Rehearsals during the week took place in the New Theatre Royal. Laura Doye, Artistic Director at New Theatre Royal said that the project marked the start of their Creative Technology Gateway. “It’s an exciting artistic vision that will bring artists and technologists together to find a common language for future theatre makers. We are so pleased to be working in partnership to realise this vision and to open opportunities for artists to learn and develop future skills.”
This residency and the TOMtech programme is funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and presented in partnership with New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth, University of Portsmouth, CiRCA69 and Digital Catapult Centre Brighton.