Panel 4: Funnelwick Limb
The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps: A Case Study for Combined Storytelling in a Theatre Play and Virtual Reality
Matthew Linley, Murray Lachlan Young, Leo Kellgren-Parker, Sarah Fortescue, Prof Paul Hibbard, Dr Loes Van Dam, Nina Hajiyianni and Dr Abigail L M Webb
The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps is a poem by Murray Lachlan Young/Funnelwick Limb, aimed at audiences of all ages, including both children and adults. This poem has been adapted as a theatre play with a short prequel as a Virtual Reality (VR) / tablet app. This unique combination was used to explore the potential interaction between these different media elements for the level of “presence” and “immersion” in the story. Here presence is taken to be the level to which one can imagine oneself at the site of the story and immersion as the level to which the sense of physical time and space is lost whilst engrossed in the story. The theatre audience had the opportunity to play the VR / tablet app in the foyer before the performance started. After the performance, a questionnaire measured participants’ level of immersion and presence in the theatre play and their enjoyment of both play and app. The results showed that people of all ages interacted with and liked the app as well as the play. Ratings for the play were found not to depend on prior engagement with the app. However, an analysis comparing children and adults revealed that the play was liked more by adults, and the reverse was true for the app. This suggests a potential generation shift in multimedia storytelling.
In Immersive-360° theatre: a first look at immersion, presence and self-affirmation in virtual theatre, and an assessment of its efficacy as a digital strategy for preserving and enhancing audience engagement, Abigail L.M. Webb, Paul Hibbard, Loes van Dam and Leo Kellgren-Parker explore how virtual and 360° viewing techniques are becoming increasingly-popular platforms for disseminating and experiencing digital creative art, including theatre. Immersive digital theatre substantially increases the accessibility of theatre and offers a cost-effective pipeline with potential to preserve theatre engagement, and expand the reach of theatre to audiences beyond the auditorium.
In a pre-recorded panel discussion members of both project teams, artists, creatives, funders, commissioners and academics, discuss the project and its context.