This is a Discussion Document

I am considering creating Immersonic as a new festival, intended to present non-virtual immersive works of opera, music and theatre. I am offering to donate equipment (a 24 speaker system) and skills (I’ve been making pieces this way for some years) to help make this happen, if there is support and interest. I believe it is a powerful and practical format that offers amazing possibilities.

Vision

The festival would present works that are a maximum of 15 minutes each with 2 shows per hour. These are short stories, some of which may become novels later. Each show would use (up to) 24 audio speakers that surround the audience. I image the festival being over a long weekend.

The Power of Intimacy

Intimacy is powerful in theatre. These pieces are for audiences of up to 15 people in a sufficiently large indoor space.

Format

Shows are presented in 2 formats: 1) The audience are surrounded by the array of 24 speakers with a performer or performers at centre, or 2) The audience are in a ‘room’ that is constructed of scrim (allowing external projection etc)

Inclusivity and Pooled Resources

Rather than lots of separate companies/individuals creating work and presenting it I like the idea that a precondition of participation is that you offer your skills to other productions (within limits) – a sort of ‘skills available’ noticeboard. So, for example, if a chorus is making a piece where 24 voices surround you they might be able to find a video designer to work with and vice versa.

Under-represented people

One of the things that appeals to me is that people who are underrepresented in theatre, music, opera etc, can participate. Large parts of the work will generally be recorded in advance. Issues such as visas, age, mobility (and the one that kills 99.9% of productions, budget) should not prevent making and presenting work.

Rights and payments?

Good questions.

The Technical Side

I’m offering to help people become proficient. I have designed the system so that it’s easy to show up with a laptop running standard software (e.g. Logic, Protools) and to plug in and quickly adapt to 24 channel output.

To have some idea of the sorts of things I have in mind, here are a few examples:

The Music of Eric Zann

A super-creepy 15 minute show based on the story by HP Lovecraft where the audience are alone in the space (a fake Victorian room constructed from scrim in which the audience stand). The operator/performer only appears fleetingly outside the scrim when the room is briefly transformed into the abyss… this is already on this website: http://www.iforest.org/the-house-of-erich-zann/

The Rocket

A 15 minute opera for children where they choose where the rocket will go (there are 4 different locations that the rocket can go – each one is a different show). The pilot/astronaut is a single performer who is in with the children, singing them through their journey. I image this using scrim and projection.

Dinosaur Hunters

The same format as above.

Songs of Blindness and Seeing

The space is divided up unevenly with ‘washing lines’ of scrim, there is no ‘front of stage’ to look at, audience sit in little isolated pockets facing any direction. At centre is an unseen singer who unpacks her (positive) experiences and views of life as someone not seeing with her eyes.

Refugee Piece

The system allows people whose stories cannot normally be a part of theatre without being represented by third parties, to participate. This is a narrated piece, recorded in a refugee camp, with the surrounding sound score largely created from recordings made in the camp.

Prisoner Piece

Same format as above

Elderly/Disability Piece

Same format as above

Soloist with surrounding Orchestra/Choir

This works very powerfully.

Halloween show

I like the hyper-mainstream potential of the title. I like the idea of reaching people who don’t normally consider opera or theatre. And hyper mainstream can be subversive, too.

Christmas show

As above.

Criteria

It’s a little early to discuss such thing but my questions to anyone who wanted to create a work would be:

Express: What drives the creative process?

Explore: What are you doing that you consider new, daring?

Engage: Why should people care?

Execute: What skills do you have to bring this about?