The project Coriolanus Online, co-directed by Dr Tom Gorman (School of Media & Performing Arts, Coventry University) in conjunction with the University of Tampere (Finland) has been shortlisted for the prestigious Reimagine Education Awards that QS International and the University of Pennsylvania run annually.
Coriolanus Online is the first stage of a two-year project, Immersive Telepresence in Theatre, that is being supported by the Disruptive Media Learning Lab and the Centre for Global Engagement (CGE): http://telepresenceintheatre.coventry.domains/. The project, which began life as an OIL project supported by CGE, explored the text of Shakespeare’s ‘Coriolanus’ in both Finnish and English. Traditionally, one group of performers would travel to another location to participate in workshops and rehearsals, a process that is expensive, time consuming and ultimately environmentally unsustainable, so a digital solution to this problem was explored. A ‘virtual space’ was created in both locations through the re-purposing of videoconferencing technology, the use of large rear projection screens, high speed internet connections and unidirectional microphones. Moreover, a unified spatial design and a careful use of lighting gave the actors the illusion that they were occupying the same physical space.
The shortlisting itself is already an achievement due to the high level of competition (with more than 500 entries) and the project could now win an award under three potential categories (Hybrid learning / European project / Arts & Humanities) or the prestigious $50,000 Overall Prize.