A pioneering project which allows Coventry University students to rehearse and study with actors thousands of miles away has been the recipient of three prestigious international education awards.
The Immersive Telepresence in Theatre project won Gold in the Hybrid Learning category and Gold in Arts and Humanities at the 2018 Reimagine Education Awards this, as well as being placed among the ten strongest category winners on the night. The project competed against 1,184 projects from 39 countries evaluated by 160 international judges.
Announced at a ceremony in San Francisco on Thursday, the success sees the third Reimagine award for the project after it was crowned one of the world’s best new education ideas (Gold for Arts and Humanities) when it was first developed back in 2016.
The Telepresence in Theatre project was also highly commended for the Excellence and Innovation in the Arts category of the Times Higher Education Awards.
Developed in partnership with Tampere University 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 whilst minimising the need for global travel.
This is made possible using cutting-edge videoconferencing 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.
The project has helped students to work together and develop their acting and academic skills despite being in different countries, and has 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 has 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 mix of live actors in that city performing with motion captured actors in Tampere.
Dr Tom Gorman, senior theatre lecturer and project co-ordinator at Coventry University said:
“It’s very exciting to realise we had discovered something unique in theatre. 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.”
For more information, and a video documentaries of the project, visit
Reimagine Education is an international competition organised by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, compiler of the QS World University Rankings, rewarding innovative initiatives aimed at enhancing student learning outcomes & employability with an overall prize of $50,000 and 17 ‘Oscars’ of Education. It culminates in a global conference for all those seeking to shape the future of education. The theatre project is competing against innovations from MIT, Singapore, Capetown, Quatar, New York, Hong Kong to name but a few and the judges include innovators from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM as well as university chiefs from Harvard, Yale, Penn State and many other top-ranking institutions.
The project (and Coventry University) is now the only UK university to become a member of the Nordic Centre for Digital presence: http://tnt.riksteatern.se/files/2019/09/NCDP-info-92019-regional-planning.pdf.
After successful collaborations with Purdue University in the US (http://telepresenceintheatre.coventry.domains/uncategorized/galileo-online/) and Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan (http://telepresenceintheatre.coventry.domains/uncategorized/caesar-online/) the project will once again collaborate with Tampere University in 2020 on a top secret new project using new, advanced equipment so, watch this space…