Cut­ting-edge tech helps Coven­try stu­dents re­hearse with ac­tors across the globe

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - By LEIGH MENCARINI

A PI­O­NEER­ING pro­ject that al­lows Coven­try Univer­sity stu­dents to re­hearse with ac­tors thou­sands of miles away has won three ac­co­lades in a week.

The Im­mer­sive Telep­res­ence in Theatre pro­ject has been praised as one of the best new ideas in ed­u­ca­tion, as it al­lows ac­tors to re­hearse as if shar­ing a stage de­spite be­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

The pro­ject won in the Hy­brid Learn­ing cat­e­gory at the 2018 Reimag­ine Ed­u­ca­tion Awards in San Fran­cisco, im­press­ing judges to be placed among the ten strong­est cat­e­gory win­ners over­all.

The pi­o­neer­ing pro­ject was also named as the best in the Arts and Hu­man­i­ties cat­e­gory at the global fi­nale, as well as scoop­ing suc­cess back in Lon­don, where it was highly com­mended in the Ex­cel­lence and In­no­va­tion in the Arts cat­e­gory at the Times Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Awards.

De­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with the Univer­sity of Tam­pere in Fin­land, the im­mer­sive space of­fers a way to ex­plore theatre re­hearsal and arts ed­u­ca­tion, al­low­ing stu­dents to work with ex­perts and peers thou­sands of miles away min­imis­ing the need for global travel.

It is made pos­si­ble us­ing cut­tingedge video-con­fer­enc­ing tech­nol­ogy, life-sized rear pro­jec­tions, high-speed in­ter­net con­nec­tions and di­rec­tional sound - all hid­den from view to give the im­pres­sion that users are in the same re­hearsal room.

Dr Tom Gor­man, se­nior theatre lec­turer and pro­ject co-or­di­na­tor at Coven­try Univer­sity said: “We are ab­so­lutely thrilled es­pe­cially given the re­ally tough com­pe­ti­tion this year as we were up against world lead­ing in­no­va­tors from univer­si­ties across the world.

“It is a tes­ta­ment to the hard work of a lot of peo­ple here and in Fin­land over the past two years.

“This is a to­tally new way to re­hearse and teach and to have it recog­nised and see the in­ter­est from other univer­si­ties and artists across the globe is thrilling. It is ex­cit­ing to re­alise we have dis­cov­ered some­thing unique in theatre.”

This is the sec­ond Reimag­ine win for the pro­ject which won its first award for in­no­va­tion in the arts when it was de­vel­oped back in 2016.

The pro­ject has since helped stu­dents to ex­plore and per­form scenes from Shake­speare’s plays to­gether de­spite be­ing in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and sup­ported Coven­try’s City of Cul­ture bid by al­low­ing aca­demics, busi­ness lead­ers and cul­tural of­fi­cers in Fin­land and the UK to dine to­gether as if in a sin­gle space.

The in­no­va­tion also fea­tured at the GREAT Fes­ti­val of in­no­va­tion in Hong Kong in a show­case of the best of UK ed­u­ca­tion; and was part of a ground­break­ing per­for­mance at the New World Sym­phony Cen­tre in Mi­ami us­ing a mix­ture of ac­tors in the city and mo­tion cap­tured ac­tors in Tam­pere.

Con­tent Di­rect Ed­i­tor

Stu­dents at Coven­try Univer­sity re­hearse King Lear with stu­dents in Fin­land

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