A new stage age: why theatres should embrace digital technologyFacing the future ... Unlimited's The Moon, the Moon, which invites online public participation. Photograph: Robert Day There was a time, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when "multimedia" was a real buzzword. In practice, what this meant was a few video screens dotted around a venue, merely the borrowed trappings of technology rather than a geniune attempt to make art or engage audiences in new ways. But the growth of pervasive media and digital technologies is offering theatre-makers and audiences unprecedented new challenges and opportunities.
Digital Drama: The technology transforming theatre"Vidiots, they sometimes call us," admits Timothy Bird. Some people in the theatre industry don't take kindly to the innovations that Mr Bird and his team at Knifedge are introducing to the stage. Innovations like a computer-generated avatar sword-fighting an actor live on stage in his most recent show Pippin, transporting the audience to the world of a computer game.The Choreography of AttentionAt nearly every VR related conference I’ve been to someone either on stage or in discussions steadfastly claims: You can not edit in VR. Usually this is followed by a quip about teleporting audience members from place to place and how ‘just not real that is.’ I’m not sure how this strange notion got started, but let me assure you: it’s all lies. Lies I tell you! Seriously people. You have to stop saying this.