Intel and the Royal Shakespeare Company Collaborate with The Imaginarium Studios to Create Ariel as a Digital Avatar for the First Time

Technology Developed by The Imaginarium Studios and Powered by Intel’s Processors Takes Audiences on a Journey Where Performance Capture Technology Renders a Digital Character Live on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Stage

LONDON — (BUSINESS WIRE) — November 17, 2016 — The Royal Shakespeare Company has joined forces with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios to create a groundbreaking new production of “The Tempest,” one of Shakespeare’s most imaginative plays. The performance uses the latest, cutting-edge technology to bring a new experience to seasoned theatre-goers and new audiences alike.

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Intel, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Imaginarium Studios collaborate on a ground-breaking pr ...

Intel, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Imaginarium Studios collaborate on a ground-breaking production of Shakespeare’s "The Tempest," incorporating the most cutting-edge technology. Rendering a digital character in-real time format eliminates the need to produce it in advance and project it on stage, enhancing the spontaneous atmosphere of a live performance. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

The technology developed by The Imaginarium Studios, which is powered by Intel’s processors, takes audiences on a never-seen-before journey where performance capture technology renders a digital character -- Ariel the sprite -- live on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage. This rendering of an entire digital environment -- in this case an avatar in real-time format -- eliminates the need to produce it in advance and project it on stage. At the same time, it enhances the spontaneous atmosphere of a live performance.

Press kit: Intel at the Royal Shakespeare Company

The technology works by capturing the actor’s movements and facial expressions to ensure that the actor’s full performance is translated into the digital character. It has most famously been used in films and gaming. The RSC, Intel and The Imaginarium Studios have undertaken more than a year of research to bring digital avatars to life on stage in real-time, interacting with live actors.

Directed by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran, with RSC associate artist Simon Russell Beale as Prospero, and designed by RSC director of design Stephen Brimson Lewis, this partnership will see the RSC’s skills at theatre-making come together with The Imaginarium’s digital innovation and the expertise of Intel in pushing technical boundaries to create a production for a new generation.

Penny Baldwin, vice president of Global Marketing and Communications Group and general manager of Brand, Reputation and Partner Marketing at Intel, said: “At Intel we are excited to use our technology to add an extra dimension to such a rich cultural tradition as the theatre. Throughout this collaboration with the RSC and The Imaginarium Studios, we are bringing together the best of live theatre with cutting-edge technology to deliver an amazing experience to the audience.

“Together we have created a human-digital interaction that feels ‘alive,’ immersing the audience in a live environment, with a theatre company which has always been at the forefront of radical experiment.”

Gregory Doran, RSC artistic director, said: “I was inspired by the very latest stage machinery and lighting effects employed in the Jacobean masques of the 1600s, and started to think about the kind of theatre Shakespeare might have wanted to create if he were alive today. Thanks to the extraordinary innovation and imagination of the teams at the RSC, Intel and The Imaginarium Studios, we believe we have created a unique theatre experience, which marries our distinctive theatre skills with cutting-edge technology, to give our audiences something out of the ordinary to mark the conclusion of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year and bring his work to a whole new generation.”

Ben Lumsden, head of studio at The Imaginarium Studios, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re working with Greg and the RSC, along with Intel. We share the same values of performance, text and story being the heart of what we do. This production of 'The Tempest’ is unlike anything ever done in theatre before."

About the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world. We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.

We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre. We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online. Registered charity no. 212481

About The Imaginarium Studios

The Imaginarium Studios is one of the UK’s leading production companies and performance capture studios. Using the latest techniques and technologies from the world of performance capture, VFX and real-time animation, The Imaginarium Studios production portfolio integrates film, television, video games, music videos, theatre and digital applications including virtual and mixed reality.

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