Wandsworth Council creates VR theatre to boost arts engagement
Monday, August 12, 2019
The first-of-its-kind pilot programme will see an eight-seater virtual reality theatre experience installed at the R.O.S.E. Community Centre on the Savona Estate in Battersea this…
Wandsworth Council has teamed up with LIVR, the world’s first VR streaming service for theatre and the performing arts, and VR headset maker, Pico Interactive, to offer Nine Elms residents exclusive access to their very own on-site virtual theatre.
The first-of-its-kind pilot programme will see an eight-seater virtual reality theatre experience installed at the R.O.S.E. Community Centre on the Savona Estate in Battersea this autumn. The initiative will utilize the LIVR platform to make theatre more accessible; increasing local residents’ engagement with performing arts.
Using standalone Pico headsets, visitors to the centre will be able to get access to content from the LIVR library where they can experience great live performances on-demand in 360° VR.
The extensive content library will feature new works from emerging artists and critically acclaimed productions, performed in theatres, festivals and unique spaces across London and around the country. The fully immersive viewing experience will transport users into the front row to enjoy the performances as if they were sitting in the audience at the live shows.
Councillor Steffi Sutters, Wandsworth Council’s Cabinet member for Community Services and Open Spaces, said "I'm thrilled that theatre shows are coming direct to local residents through this incredible virtual reality experience. As arts and culture grows in Nine Elms, it's fantastic that we can bring performing arts into the heart of the community and I hope as many Nine Elms residents as possible sign up to put a headset on and watch a performance.
“We’re really looking forward to starting regular VR viewing nights, which, alongside our new Community Theatre Tickets scheme in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre and Theatre 503, will offer residents plenty of affordable ways to enjoy live theatre this autumn.”
The experience was successfully trialed at the recent Nine Elms Happy Streets festival, and it will begin operating on a weekly basis from Wednesday, 25 September. It will be open to local residents of all ages and is part of Nine Elms' wider cultural strategy aimed at increasing the community's access to, and engagement with, the arts through an ongoing programme of events and initiatives.
Leland Hedges, Commercial Director, Pico Interactive, EMEA, said “The opportunity to participate in ventures like this and align ourselves with pioneers in the VR space is part of our DNA at Pico Interactive. We build hardware and offer an unparalleled level of service with the goal of helping our partners reach their visionary goals. This is an exciting time in virtual reality where people can be transported into unique worlds or experience live content as if they were there, that perhaps, they wouldn’t have an opportunity to do so otherwise.”