We're thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Museums and Heritage Show Award for Best Use of Digital - UK 2023

Our AR project ‘Making a Scene’ is in the final 5 for Best Use of Digital – UK at the Museums + Heritage Show Awards. We’re absolutely over the moon, as it’s one of our favourite recent projects, and a collaboration with some of our favourite clients: Bristol Old Vic and the University of Bristol Theatre Collection.

To apply, your entry needed to demonstrate how you have successfully altered your digitised offering to reach new audiences, in new and creative ways, as well as using these tools to enhance other activities such as commercial or learning.

Our AR loan box not only created 3D scans of fragile objects from the Bristol Old Vic archive, but gave young people access to a range of often-overlooked theatre careers.

Read our case study about the project here and watch the summary video below to find out more.

This is a unique collaboration between a university archive, working theatre and an AR/VR studio. The result combines AR technology, historic collections and an extraordinary learning experience.

The original set model pieces are too fragile to be taken out of the archive and physically handled, but the photogrammetry scans of each enable their repeated access for young people and researchers alike. Moreover, the connection between the 3D material, original sketches, interim drawings and notes is clarified as the AR experience takes users from page to stage, mirroring the real life processes by which a production is brought to life.

With all eyes focussed on the action on stage, it’s easy to forget the skilled behind-the-scenes teams that bring a production to life. The loan-boxes provide an unprecedented means of exploring technical and design roles in theatre, the extensive archive material offering young people a deep dive into the practical considerations necessary in creating a production.

The workshops become an original and accessible way to highlight and celebrate offstage theatre roles, and to encourage young people with limited theatre experiences to investigate possible career paths.

The experience relies on mixed-reality: facsimiles of show material trigger AR content. Users can refer to the original script, following handwritten directions from the stage manager, or design a scene for an imaginary production. Workshops can be tailored differently for different ages and interest-levels and can support different learning styles; from solo to group team working, formal GCSE Theatre to set and costume design.

Bringing together digitised collections from the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, the creative flair of Bristol Old Vic, and the technical imagination of our AR/VR technologists at Zubr, this project has reached out to young people from underrepresented audience areas of Bristol.

With COVID restrictions in place during much of 2021, young people were unable to connect with museums and theatre. This became our spur to design an opportunity for playful and creative explorations of behind-the-scenes theatre activities that could take place anywhere, outside of our institutions, and which might also lead to participants considering off-stage careers in theatre. 

The completed workshop ‘loan-boxes’ combine previously digitised prompt scripts, photographs, designs and show reports from a production archive of Babes In The Wood with new 3D facsimiles (captured using photogrammetry) of set models viewed with ipads included in the box.

Using augmented reality, participants can move characters around a stage, set up scene changes and cue lighting and special effects to re-create a scene from the pantomime following the directions of the stage manager’s prompt script.

We’re exceptionally proud of this collaboration, and to be nominated alongside such brilliant projects. May the best project win!