Shakespeare and technology: digital creativity at the Royal Shakespeare Company Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development, Royal Shakespeare Company

Through the centuries, the craft of storytelling has been developed with the help of technology – candlelight, printing press, electricity, film and the internet have all been incorporated into the way we make theatre. But this relationship is also inverted: performance design has challenged technology to create new ways to present live drama and interact with the audience. When staging a contemporary production of The Tempest recently, the Royal Shakespeare Company asked Intel and the Imaginarium Studios to work with us, exploring technologies to render cinematic environments in real time. For the first time ever, we created an animated character live on the RSC stage, using innovative real-time performance capture.

Such collaborations bring new audiences to Shakespeare and showcase the best of British creativity globally. There is vast potential for creative collaboration between technology companies and theatre, and the research and development carried out for such productions allows both theatre and technology sectors to learn new skills, developed new tools, and explore new ways of working.

In this talk, we will explore how theatre continues to impact the future of entertainment by pushing the boundaries of technology further still while maintaining a creative focus. At the RSC we have exciting experimentation in development with digital technology companies across the world. We’re engaging in research and development across virtual, augmented and mixed reality, and are always looking for ways to bring the very best live experience to our audiences and amplify that in new and digitally ways.