A Live and Mixed Reality theatrical experience
The Performance Corporation will present their new show Emperor 101 this October as part of Dublin Theatre Festival 2021. The production uses new Virtual Reality (VR) technology to explore the explosion of online conspiracy theories, and the parallel rise of far-right extremism.
This ground-breaking production, is at the cutting edge of an emerging crossover between theatre and Virtual Reality. The Performance Corporation is one of the first theatre companies in the world to design and build a bespoke virtual world in which to stage a VR play. In this VR space, live actors and audience inhabit avatars that allow them to interact and speak to each other in real time. Speaking about the production, Artistic Director of The Performance Corporation Jo Mangan said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be part of what we believe is a new departure for theatre. I believe that by creating this kind of live and interactive performance in a specially designed virtual space, we can open up a huge array of new possibilities. We’re lucky to have an amazing team working on Emperor 101 to create this completely new experience for theatre audiences.” The Performance Corporation believes plays like Emperor 101 have huge potential, and plan to further develop this digital genre in the future. The company envisages future live VR productions that would be available to audience members in locations across the world simultaneously, opening up new theatrical frontiers.
Emperor 101 immerses the audience in an alternate world that reflects the mind and motivations of a conspiracy theorist. In a time when the very notion of truth or facts is called into question, the innovative use of VR reflects the multiple realities or ‘bubbles’ we live in. The play riffs on influences from ancient mythology to Alice in Wonderland, and asks if rejection of the ‘mainstream’ is a product of fear, or the ultimate act of self-empowerment in a complex world. Emperor 101 begins with an intimate in person interaction with a live performer. The audience then puts on a Virtual Reality headset and is led through a series of interactive environments. Here they experience live interaction with performer avatars. The story explores the inner life of a high profile conspiracy theorist as she struggles with a personal tragedy that has turned the world upside down. Emperor 101 is produced in association with Once Off Productions building on previous successful collaborations between the companies, including Drive-By and Lizzie Lavelle and the Vanishing of Emlyclough, and The Digital Hub where the company is in residence.
Cast: Caitríona Ní Mhurchú and Karl Quinn
Directed by Jo Mangan
Script Tom Swift
Design Leon Butler and Peter Power
VR Producer Camille Donegan
Immersive Media Studio RETinIZE
Produced by Once Off Productions