We have received funding to develop 5 short VR plays and will be launching a VR Festival next month

We are delighted to have received funding from Arts Council England to develop a series of 5 short plays, written and directed by Corby based writers and directors.

Each play has been designed as a fully immersive experience to be watched on a 360 degree Virtual Reality headset.  All of the Corby based plays will be staged outdoors and filmed between the 11th and 15th of October.

We turned our attention to VR in the pandemic when our doors were closed; we wanted to find new and exciting ways to bring theatre to audience members in a time of social distancing.

Alongside the development of 5 short VR plays, there will also be a VR Festival on the 13th and 14th of October, with workshops and activities for schools in the day time and open public sessions on both evenings. This Festival is produced by The Core at Corby Cube in partnership with Metro Boulot Dodo Leicester, Viral Entertainment and Immersive Experiences with funding support from Arts Council England.

Audience members will be able to get a full VR experience, travelling under the ocean for an immersive underwater adventure, or walking on a plank 200 storeys above the street from Corby Town Centre based company Viral Entertainment. There will also be full plays to watch on VR headsets, and a sensory dome to lie under from industry leaders of VR in schools Immersive-Experiences, under which you can experience Astronaut, a documentary film narrated by Ewan McGregor.

Other work to look forward to includes the brilliant VR Soldiers and Overview Effect by Award Winning Leicester based theatre and animation company Metro Boulot Dodo; all theatre plays will be available to watch during the public sessions, alongside an immersive dome and other intense VR experiences from Viral Entertainment.

For Primary School sessions, children can expect to be immersed in a series of exciting and educational adventures, including the moon landing, dinosaurs, space exploration and climate change. The experience will use a mixture of Virtual Reality Headsets, a Virtual Reality Dome and Green Screen Technology for a fully immersive experience.

For Secondary School students, there will be two immersive virtual reality plays by award-winning theatre companies ThickSkin and Gym Jam.

ThickSkin’s Petrichor is a story set in a parallel universe, exploring escape and connection. It features two performers, an original soundtrack and projected animation. The story is told through movement, animation and 360 VR film with very little spoken word.

Gym Jam’s Anthropocene: The Human Era dives into the mind of Megan, a young woman dreaming about her future in the wake of the climate emergency. Time is stretched and warped as she sits in her bathroom staring down at a pregnancy test, in a multiple-choice adventure story inspired by Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch and Gecko Theatre’s Time of your Life.

After both VR plays, secondary school students will take part in workshops discussing the themes and exploring how they can start to incorporate ideas of digital theatre making into their work; perfect for GCSE Drama and A Level students.

For those with Special Educational Needs, VR Therapies will provide a different, gentler sensory experience through VR headsets, such as swimming with dolphins, which have been designed specifically to be a relaxing form of therapy.

Schools sessions are free but places are limited to please get in touch early to avoid disappointment.

Each session lasts approximately 1.5 hours. To book, please contact [email protected]

The festival will also be open to the public in the evenings; tickets are available for the 13th and 14th of October, with each ticket costing only £7 for adults and £5 for Under 16s. Audience members can book an hour long session and will be able to explore 2-3 experiences of their choosing. Booking for these sessions will open soon – keep your eyes peeled!

Looking ahead to more digital delights, we are also working with Corby Town Centre and other partners to make the 5 short VR plays, currently in development, available to the general public on their completion in November.