Play Nicely has created a free exhibition of otherworldly digital experiences to accompany the upcoming musical wonder.land at the National Theatre – which features music by Damon Albarn, and story and and lyrics by Moira Buffini.
The exhibition, enter wonder.land, will open tomorrow, 26 November, and will run until April 2016.
With music by Damon Albarn and inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic story, wonder.land is a coming-of-age adventure that explores the blurred boundaries between our online and offline lives.
Play Nicely said enter wonder.land complements the production through a creative use of technologies: Oculus Rift, Kinect, Google Cardboard and Augmented Reality face-tracking, all delivered by the Bristol-based creative technology studio
enter wonder.land is a collaboration between the National Theatre, Play Nicely and 59 Productions.
The free exhibition was conceived by the NT’s Head of Digital, Toby Coffey, who worked with designers Tom Paris and Rae Smith, to give audiences an immersive experience in addition to the stage production.
The experience builds on the virtual reality research development Play Nicely was already undertaking with the National, alongside 59 Productions’ wonder.land performance visuals which were re-appropriated for the interactive exhibition.
The central experience in the enter wonder.land exhibition is the Virtual Reality installation - fabulous wonder.land - a VR music video, experienced through Oculus Rift.
Audiences explore the extraordinary 360° landscape of wonder.land as all around them the hypnotic garden scene sways and pulses to the sound of fabulous, one of Damon Albarn’s compositions.
Looking up audiences will see the Cheshire cat, floating majestically as if he were the conductor of their content.
This multi-coloured, imaginative virtual landscape places the audience in the centre of an interactive immersion lasting around five minutes.
You can create your own avatar by mixing the hair, face, body and legs from a range of wonder.land characters including Super Dodo, Alice herself and Mock Turtle. Then personalise further with your own colour options
There's also an augmented reality face-tracking magic mirror wall, and a Google Cardboard home VR experience for iOS and Android.
Other equally original digital expressions of the narrative include a Kinect experience allowing a physically reactive wonder.land garden experience.
Called walk in wonder.land, it allows audiences to enjoy a narrative immersion. They simply walk up to the screen and see themselves in the magical garden.
At any one time up to six people can participate, so it’s ideal for a whole family to enjoy together.
Play Nicely director Oliver Lindsey, said, "Being part of the first digitally interactive exhibition staged by the National Theatre is typical of the artistic and technological risks that Play Nicely takes in the pursuit of genuinely original content production."
"We love surprising an audience and find that doing so increases the power of the message or narrative."
"The challenge was to create an entirely new audience experience beyond the auditorium which allows visitors to feel physically part of the wonder.land world," added Lindsey.
You can explore the installations and extraordinary world of wonder.land from 12pm each day