Q&A: Creation Theatre's Lucy Askew on the challenges of creating interactive theatre during lockdown
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Review: Live and interactive theatre in your living room - Creation Theatre's The Tempest

Archive streaming schmeaming, Creation Theatre have taken theatre performance during the lockdown to a new level.

Creation Theatre Tempest Screen shot Miranda
Screenshot: Creation Theatre's virtual The Tempest - Annabelle Terry as Miranda

Using Zoom and other technical wizardry they are putting on a live and interactive family-friendly version of The Tempest.

Shakespeare's tale of nobility shipwrecked on a mysterious island has been distilled down to an hour's running time using a handful of key characters.

The actors, observing lockdown rules, perform in isolation - using different virtual and physical backdrops to transport them from scene to scene.

As a member of the audience, you can choose whether to have your camera on or off. If you do choose the former the 'audience' only appear when called upon to get involved with the story.

With more than a 100 people watching not everyone will get their moment on the screen, it is always a collective effort, snippets of how people are contributing rather than individuals being singled out.

'We' the audience help with sound effects or stand-in for mysterious creatures or provide props but if you don't want to get involved it is easy to 'sit out' and just watch.

Creation Theatre Tempest Prospero
Screenshot: Creation Theatre's virtual The Tempest - Simon Spencer-Hyde as Prospero with Itxaso Moreno as Ariel on the TV screens

The interaction is fun though and is what really elevates this as a virtual play-watching experience. You get to see your fellow audience members, their responses and brief glimpses of their homes and pets.

You genuinely feel part of a shared experience, which is what going to the theatre is all about.

If you aren't familiar with the story of The Tempest then you may get a little confused by the trimmed down story and the constraints of the actors being in isolation but it feels secondary to the overall experience.

Creation Theatre company demonstrate what you can do with technology and a bit of imagination and I'm sure it is just the start.

The Tempest is good fun, cleverly done and put a big smile on my face.

For details of future performances head to Creation's website.

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Q&A with Creation Theatre's Lucy Askew about the challenge of putting together The Tempest

From the archive: It's nearly 6 years to the day that I saw Privacy at the Donmar Warehouse which was, then, a new interactive theatre experience.