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