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Hello World

Innovate UK funded research into the meaning of "liveness".

At Copper Candle, we're passionate about pushing the boundaries of live performance. Our latest venture into the realm of virtual theatre is not just an exploration; it's a revolution. Funded by Innovate UK's Audience of the Future programme, we embarked on a journey to answer a pressing question: What do audiences really want from live, virtual events?

Why We Ventured into Virtual Theatre

The shift towards virtual spaces has opened up new realms of possibilities for storytelling and performance. However, the blueprint for engaging audiences in this digital frontier remains largely unwritten. Our project, aptly named "Hello World," aimed to merge state-of-the-art motion capture and Unreal Engine technology, bringing live theatre into the metaverse. But beyond the technological marvel, we sought to understand the essence of "liveness" – that intangible connection between performer and audience, even in a virtual space.

What We Discovered

Through a series of 27 performances engaging 100 participants, our research peeled back layers of audience expectation and experience. Surprisingly, we found that the majority of our audience members were not aware they were viewing pre-recorded content at times, indicating that the quality of content could trump the live aspect. Yet, the allure of live interaction – the chance to influence the narrative or connect with performers and fellow audience members in real-time – was unmistakable.

Our findings suggest a nuanced landscape where live performance enriches the virtual theatre experience, not merely through its immediacy but through the depth of interaction it fosters. Audiences cherished the opportunity to shape the story, revealing a desire for immersive experiences that traditional theatre formats might not fully accommodate.

How This Shapes the Future of Virtual Theatre

The implications of our "Hello World" project extend far beyond Copper Candle. For creators and producers in the virtual theatre space, our research offers valuable insights into audience preferences and the potential of interactive technologies. We've demonstrated that blending live performance with high-quality, pre-recorded content can strike a harmonious balance, enhancing the viewer's experience while optimizing production costs.

Moreover, our exploration underscores the importance of designing with the medium in mind. Virtual theatre demands an approach that leverages the unique capabilities of motion capture and game engines, encouraging continuous innovation and audience engagement testing.

Join Us in Shaping the Future

We believe that our journey into virtual theatre is just the beginning. There's a vast, uncharted territory to explore in creating live, immersive experiences that resonate with audiences worldwide. Whether you're a producer, a technologist, or a storyteller, there's a role for you in this exciting frontier.

At Copper Candle, we're committed to sharing our findings and collaborating with the broader creative community. By pooling our knowledge and resources, we can continue to redefine the possibilities of live virtual events, ensuring they are as captivating, interactive, and inclusive as possible.

Explore how you can leverage our insights and technologies to bring your own virtual theatre projects to life. Together, let's create the future of entertainment.

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