As part of an ongoing commission from Nesta and Roundhouse, we developed a location-based AR audio interactive theatre piece to be installed as part of The Last Word Storytelling Festival 2016. It was a real privilege to get to work not just with some of Roundhouse’s incredibly talented young artists, but also to have our first full-length show in such a legendary venue, on the same stage that has hosted Zeppelin, Quo and Queen.
Except, we weren’t using the stage; our show took place in and around the venue’s public spaces, including the box office, foyers, bars, smoking areas and even toilets (plus a custom-built ‘microclub’, for dancing!) Our work is about getting users to be participants, not just spectators, and developing stories that weave in and around where the user’s standing, what they’re seeing, and who else is nearby.
And this is the secret ingredient: a bluetooth iBeacon, manufactured by Estimote, just one of dozens which we seeded around the venue, inside and out. Using these beacons, we can locate the user within a venue with much more precision than GPS, and then, using software powered by Motive.io, we then develop a multi-layered audio drama which unfolds as the user explores the space, and in which users decide which characters they want to follow.
What is the future of love? As technology’s influence on our romantic relationships grows and gender identities shift, we are facing a new world. Experience your own interactive audio journey exploring provocative, challenging and personal stories. Coming Out is an opportunity for Last Word audiences to sample an interactive installation that will have its world premiere at FutureFest in September 2016. It has been crafted by some of the UK’s very best emerging radio makers and groundbreaking digital artists.
Taking the form of an augmented reality date, the show gave users a choice between three different characters who all have a different connection with the Roundhouse - and who all live in a not-too-distant future where technology has changed sex and dating.
As their AR date took them on a tour of the Roundhouse, users might find themselves sharing a dance with other users, sharing a quiet drink with someone who’s only virtually present, or even overhearing a tearful confession in the toilets.
It was a privilege to be able to put on such a groundbreaking show and to work with such a talented group, including all the creative team at the Roundhouse and the inimitable radio production artist Eleanor McDowall of Falling Tree.