Leicester’s much-acclaimed and state-of-the-art theatre, Curve, which first opened in November 2008, yesterday released a 360-degree panoramic performance of the popular musical, Calamity Jane, directed by Nikolai Foster. Available to view for free online at 360.curveonline.co.uk until the 24th July, the hope is to make great theatre available for everyone.

Using cutting edge technology, it is being described by the theatre company as a “world first” and a “true technological breakthrough”. The ‘audience’ are able to click on the screen to move the camera around, choosing precisely what they would like to see. It offers a truly unique perspective, particularly as the camera is at the back of the stage; a viewing point never held by an audience member.

As you swivel the camera around, you feel immersed in the action despite the fact you hold an almost invisible part in the play; everything and everyone carries on around you, allowing you to watch in from afar.

The experience is rich, absorbing and innovative. It is also incredible that theatre can be watched in such a way. Although, as a die-hard traditionalist, I’d argue that nothing truly beats the feeling of being sat in front of the cast, living and breathing the performance through the thickness of the air, this is certainly the next best option. It is a wonderful way of opening out the arts to a broader reach.

As Foster comments, “It is thrilling that our play about a group of pioneers from the 1800s has been filmed in 2015 using cameras and technology even ahead of their time today. I was amazed when I met Tom Mills of VR Web Design and learnt about his boundary-busting work. All of us at Curve and the Calamity Jane team are very excited to be the first to test this new technology onstage.”

The hope is to eventually develop a regular series of 360-degree broadcasts.

View for free online at 360.curveonline.co.uk.

If you’re interested in theatre, you might like to read: “The World’s A Stage”.

Words: Grace Carter

Image source: Calamity Jane