The National Theater has announced a show that will allow audiences to see the world in a variety of ways to democratize access to the arts.
All kinds of limbo XR can be viewed via a Virtual Reality headset, as Augmented Reality on a phone or tablet or as a desktop experience.
The unique musical performance, All kinds of limbo, was developed in conjunction with NT’s 2019 production of Andrea Levy’s award-winning novell Lille Ø.
Writer and vocalist Nubiya Brandon, composer Raffy Bushman and Nu Shape Orchestra will take the audience on a musical journey inspired by the influence of Caribbean culture on the British music scene.
Ms Brandon will tell her own story of a life in limbo across the genres reggae, grime, classical and calypso.
She said: “All kinds of limbo is an incredibly important piece for me.
“We take the audience on a journey through Britain’s kaleidoscopic musical movements, and in doing so, place two stories side by side: a timeline of their own will on the cultural and social changes since Windrush with an insight into the music catalog. Memorabilia, which I see as a skewed cultural understanding of myself.
And also my own story of a life in limbo: the struggles of being born with alienated roots, of striving for an identity that is uncertain – while at the same time being solely a product of my surroundings.
“I’m so happy that an international audience will be able to experience it in more forms.”
Immersive technologies will transport the audience into the heart of Ms Brandon’s performance space.
NT used Microsoft’s mixed reality technology to record holographic performances of Nubiya, which were then placed in the virtual environments.
Toby Coffey, founder of the National Theater’s Immersive Storytelling Studio, said: “With each project, our studio aims to appropriately push the development of form and audience experience.
With this project, we asked the question – how can we create a ‘universal performance space’ where the audience can experience one performance in different formats to suit their technology, their needs and their preferences?
“I’m glad we’ve been able to develop this idea and present it All kinds of limbo across VR, AR and desktop versions, giving international audiences access to the work. “
All kinds of limbo was first presented at the National Theater in 2019 as a shared VR experience alongside the staging of Small Island in the Olivier Theater.
It then had its international premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and was at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November 2020.