Innovation in live performance - Developing interactive technologies for opera and theatre productions

Lead Research Organisation: Birmingham City University
Department Name: ADM Birmingham Conservatoire


The proposed project "Innovation in live performance: developing interactive technologies for opera and theatre productions" responds to the theme Collaboration in Theatre and Performing Arts in this AHRC call. Building on the existing academic, artistic and professional links between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC), part of Birmingham City University (BCU) in the UK and Shanghai Conservatory of Music (SCM) and Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA) in China, the project intends to establish a long-term artistic and research partnership between UK and Chinese institutions and relevant industry partners. This partnership would establish a basis from which to develop and co-produce innovative performances of existing repertoire and new work (theatre, dance, opera, traditional Chinese opera, music theatre and innovative digital performances) using mixed reality and interactive performance technologies.


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Description The goal of the work funded by this award was to form a sustainable consortium of Uk and Chinese academic and industry partners in order to apply to the second phase of the AHRC FIC UK-China Creative Industries Partnerships scheme with a large project to investigate innovative uses of mixed reality technologies in live performance, with a particular focus on theatre and opera performances. Thanks to the work undertaken as part of this award we were able to prepare a compelling bid for phase 2. The value of the project was £1.8M, of which £1.3M was secured in funding by the Chinese partners. although unfortunately the project was not selected for funding.
Exploitation Route The award should be considered as seed funding in order to allow project partners to develop a larger project. As such there is no immediate way in which its findings and outcomes can be of direct use to others. However, the experience gained through our meetings with UK and Chinese academic and industry partners, and the knowledge acquired through collaborative work in Birmingham and Shanghai, has opened a number of potential developments among the existing partners and also with other organisations that were not involved in the original project. As an example, we are now in (confidential) discussions with the Really Useful Group, the production company of Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows, to develop a mixed reality based production of Cats in collaboration between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Shanghai Theatre Academy.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Description Development of a series of initiatives in collaboration with Holosphere Ltd around developing spatial audio solutions for their immersive environments products. Initial planning of a joint production in 2021 between the Really Useful Group, the Shanghai Theatre Academy and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of the musical theatre show Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

Description Postdoctoral Fellowship - Edmund Hunt
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Organisation Birmingham City University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2019 
End 11/2020
Description UK-China Collaborations in the Creative Industries, Shanghai 2-4 December 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 3-day event organised by UKRI in Shanghai to disseminate results of the projects funded by the award to the creative industries in the Shanghai region and facilitate development of further collaborations with interested companies and academic institutions in the Shanghai area. The event included a series of industry visits, a high-level forum, a showcase reception and a workshop with EPSRC and AHRC representatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019