The Augmented Reality Theater is our concept for a new movie theater experience for 5-10 years into the future. This design leverages augmented reality glasses, perceptual computing cameras, AirReal and REVEL technologies to create an immersive lobby experience for our patrons.
There have also been theatre companies that actively made augmented reality a part of their play. CoLab Theatre and their show Fifth Column, which involves spies and escaping bad folks in the streets of London make for a great role model. But the use of augmented reality is not just limited to the UK or Europe. There is a Singaporean play called Everyman, The Ultimate Commodity, that has debuted at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2007. This play involves a fair amount of augmented reality and deals with the price of a human life.
A production called Elements of Oz, which features AR and was shown in Montclair New Jersey (in the US), even used augmented reality in such an impressive manner that the New York Times wrote about it. Thanks to an app, audience members can see great images, like tornado and rain when Dorothy’s house flies around.
Technological companies are also interested in combining technology with theatre. One such example is a collaboration between Atos, the Avignon Festival and the organisation Theatre in Paris. With the help of augmented reality, subtitles can translate a play’s dialogue and thus also make it more relatable und understandable for an international audience. Bringing a play to more people through modern technology is a great example of how AR can help theatres to attract new audiences.
Augmented reality offers a few more interesting options, one of the most popular is gamification. A recent example is Pokemon Go; the game that lets its players catch Pokemons all over a city. This principle of making something more interesting by turning it into a game ( thus the name gamification), is a great approach to involve younger audiences. It could be used for tours through a theatre with the help of an app, but also artistically in using apps for interactive performances that bring in a new layer of playful audience participation and artistic expression.