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Twenty immersive projects revealed at Digital Catapult and Arts Council England’s CreativeXR Showcase and Market

Posted 3 Dec 2020

Twenty new cultural experiences using immersive technology (XR) have been revealed at the CreativeXR Showcase and Market. From a record 260 applications, twenty teams were chosen to take part in the programme developed by Digital Catapult and Arts Council England, receiving funding, mentorship and technical support to realise new forms of art, storytelling and entertainment. The programme encourages creative talent to take risks and experiment with new formats, with the added challenge of working remotely this year.

The CreativeXR Showcase and Market 2020 is a digital first experience in partnership with StoryFutures Academy, and with the support of the BFI International Fund (using National Lottery funding) and Epic Games via the Epic MegaGrants program. Leading immersive industry figures, national and international distributors, commissioners and investors have enjoyed a first look at the CreativeXR prototypes, with teams looking to secure investment and commissions in order to make their experiences accessible to the public. The Showcase and Market featured a keynote address by Futurist Cathy Hackl, Founder of the Voices of VR podcast Kent Bye and CreativeXR Executive Producer Liz Rosenthal, and a masterclass hosted by StoryFutures Academy featuring speculative architect Liam Young and filmmaker Celine Tricart.

The CreativeXR programme reveals a series of emerging trends within the immersive industry. As the pandemic increases the demand for at-home entertainment, several teams have created experiences which require minimal equipment to be accessed at home. This includes Transportalists, a live concert experience which can be projected onto a tabletop and experienced via a smartphone, and The Invited, an Augmented Reality pop-up storybook brought to life on a tablet. This year’s projects also showcase immersive technology’s potential to engage audiences in social activism using inventive storytelling — from taking refuge in a London shebeen in A Place to Be, to experiencing the impact of the Partition of India and Pakistan in Child of Empire.

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult said: “If ever there was a time for CreativeXR, it’s now – the raft of visionary prototypes developed this year is testimony to the growing strength and depth of the UK’s immersive content sector and the ability of the UK’s creative community to come together in times of adversity. Three months ago these were a bunch of risky, slightly rough around the edges concepts that have now been sculpted into 20 unique pieces that range from tackling global social and political issues to telling personal, moving stories. CreativeXR has this year truly shown that augmented and virtual reality can allow new stories to be told to new audiences in new ways. Let’s face it – there has to be more to at-home experiences than on demand TV and live streaming.”

Francis Runacres, Executive Director of Enterprise and Innovation at Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted to see another brilliant cohort of artists and producers present the work made possible by CreativeXR. The range and ambition of the projects demonstrates the importance of the programme in pushing forward the creative potential of immersive technology, with experiences designed to bring culture into people’s homes sitting alongside pieces which will be able to transfer to venues once social distancing measures are lifted.”

The twenty teams in this year’s CreativeXR are:

  • (Hi)story of a Painting by Fat Red Bird
  • #CorpTopia by
  • A Place to Be by Independent Film Trust
  • Austerity On Trial by English Touring Theatre and National Theatre Immersive Storytelling Studio
  • Blood Speaks: Maya – The Birth of a Superhero by Just Another Production Company
  • Hatsumi
  • Child of Empire by Project Dastaan and Anzu Films
  • Extraordinary People Extraordinary Places by ScanLAB Projects
  • Future Rites by Alexander Whitley, Sandra Rodriguez and Normal Studio
  • “Hatched”: The President That Twitter Made. Scenes From a Twitter Opera by Satore Studio and Borough Productions
  • The Invited by Davy and Kristin McGuire
  • IamMUSIC by KRAKED and Associated Industries
  • Munkination – A Second Chance by Visualise and Royal Opera House
  • New World by Forest Tribe
  • SONG by HAN Systems
  • Story Portals Presents: The Vega Hotel by YonderBeyond
  • The Foundling by Raucous
  • Transportalists by FANDCO
  • Tales of the Wild by Passion Pictures

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