Examining the use of theatrical technologies in creating an immersive Micro-Scene

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Burgess, Kieran
  • Subject: N1

Immersive design is found in a range of contexts: immersive theatre production; static installation art; theme park attractions; and museum exhibits, to name a few. This thesis introduces the Micro-Scene as a device to explore the use of immersive design within a short piece of immersive theatre. A production, entitled 9/11, immersed participants in Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, shortly after the first World Trade Centre tower collapsed. 9/11 drew on observations of immersive design in practice across the contexts above, reviewing published theory within the field of scenography and theatre technology. An illusionistic street environment was produced: real bricks in buildings; sandstone walls; broken glass on the floor; with all major senses catered for in an attempt to suggest an experience of being in the vicinity of the twin tower attacks. 9/11 suggested that, although technology was pursued as the primary focus of the Micro-Scene, actors are still helpful in driving narrative, even when they are not the dominant element. Further research opportunities have been identified, and areas for improvement acknowledged: two scenic styles clashed, causing confusion; and use of projections was jarring due to placement and length. Additionally, it is concluded that contrived interaction opportunities are unnecessary in a Micro-Scene; interaction will occur as a by-product of successful immersion.
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