As a creative research project, a series of OpenLabs are at the heart of the European Theatre Lab. At these two-day events, partners are invited to push the boundaries of theatre with the help of new instruments. The one-of-a-kind format brings together distinguished artists, scholars and scientists from theatres and research institutions. They result in concrete creative projects, reports and policy recommendations. The Advisory Board and 7 partners are working in teams to investigate the following issues:
New technologies & aesthetics
New technologies & audience participation
New technologies & communication dissemination
The programme of each OpenLab is conceived around three key activities intended to foster experiential research, brainstorming, and new connections. Directly aligning with the creative projects of the partner theatres, the overall aim of the OpenLabs is to provide deeper insight into the technology that is needed to execute these projects. For example AR and 3D video for the project “Stage your City”, innovative subtitling/overtitling and captioning technology for “Dub it: One voice, many languages” and latest sound and movement technology for “Kinetics Of Sound”. Every Lab is working with local partners from industry, academia and other institutions in order to develop new models of cooperation and better connect the arts and technology. In short, the OpenLabs are meant to inspire the theatre sector and create a rich vision for a theatre of the future.
Stage Your City: VR and AR experiences.
OpenLab 1 at La Manufacture, Centre Dramatique National Nancy-Lorraine, Nancy
15 – 16 November 2016. The series of seven OpenLabs in the frame of the European Theatre Lab kicked off in Nancy, France, in November 2016. It was exciting to experiment with this format for the first time – and with VR and AR, guided by the artists from ZKM Center for Arts and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany) and Human Games (Nancy, France). Have a look at the review of the lab on our blog, including a short video documentation and the full programme.
Digging deep into digital art: OpenLab 2 at Ars Electronica, Linz
16 – 17 February 2017. The second OpenLab was hosted by Ars Electronica, the renowned institute for arts, technology, and society based in Linz, Austria. It did not focus on one special creative project, but all ETL partners took the chance to see inspiring presentations by participants of the AE Future Lab and adjoint media artists and game designers. We got an overwhelming insight to the state-of-the-art in digital performing and immersive arts. Read more about this experience with three blog posts, which contain the presentations, full programme and useful links.
Dub It: One Voice, Many Languages.
OpenLab 3 at “Marin Sorescu” National Theatre, Craiova
23 – 26 June 2017. Programme. This multilingual, transnational project identifies translation via new technology as the key to expanding audiences and increasing intercultural dialogue. It used the research phase to find new ways to develop translation aids.Looking for innovation in captioning for performing arts, the theatre makers, together with scientists from the Universities of Craiova, Liège and Bucharest, and the partner companies Incesa and Multitel, have been doing research in synchronized broadcast, vocal recognition and “speech to text” technology. The artistic part of the project is developed by the Belgian company Transquinquennal. Their production IDIOMATIC picks up the topic of communication borders in a non-linear play for 5 actors speaking different languages and a machine giving instructions.
In this OpenLab, the artistic and technical teams met for the first time and exchanged the results and tests that have been conducted so far. To get a deeper understanding, have a look at the project presentation by project manager Jonathan Thonon and the documentation of the sound capturing by Multitel.
Kinetics Of Sound:
OpenLab 4 at Det Norske Teatret, Oslo
16 – 20 October 2017. In this workshop with NTNU, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, the artistic teams of the partnering theatres in Oslo and Zagreb experimented with sound effects on stage. For Peer Gynt, the Norwegian classic by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Erik Ulfsby in Zagreb, they will develop a sensor built inside or attached to a prop that can be used to trig/ control/ manipulate different aspects of sound, picture and voice. This adds a new dimension of performing to the work of the actors. In fact, the fear of the unknown was overcome by the actors very quickly as soon as they started playing around with this technlogogy.
Kinetics Of Sound: Peer Gynt – The Sound Of A Troll.
OpenLab 5 at Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb
24-25 October 2017. Croatian National Theater in Zagreb in cooperation with Radiona / Makerspace Zagreb, organized the workshop “The Sound of a Troll” as part of the artistic development of Peer Gynt, directed by Norwegian director Erik Ulfsby. The participants gained insight into the use of various analogue and digital music instruments, and through improvisation, created sound and music related to the subject of trolls, those mythological figures from Norway that play an important role in Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. The workshop aimed to connect the activities of the hacker, geeky culture with the mythological concept of trolls and their reflection in this major dramatic work. The participants experimented with a wide range of devices, creating a musical landscape of the troll world, and thereby at the same time eliminating their fear of technology. The workshop was held by Damir Prizmić, Deborah Hustić and Igor Brkić from Radonia. Have a look at the short videos on our blog.
Stage Your City: A cross-media participatory theatre dystopia.
OpenLab 6 at Kote Marjanishvili Theatre, Tbilisi
24 – 25 October 2017. Programme. Stage Your City attempts to develop a complex digital theatre project, combining participartory theatre in an audio-guided, app-based city walk, an AR art installation, 360 video projections and new ways of digital interaction with the audience starting with the purchase of a ticket. The story is a dystopian fairytale set in the future, affecting the present with the menace of total destruction of humanity. The audience is ask to act now: If we want to change the future, we need to change the present.
The OpenLab in Tbilisi focussed on the overall dramaturgy and interaction of the different parts of the production in 3 acts and a prologue: Technology, text, actors, audience and artistic outcome in a final “coup de théatre”.
Dub It: One Voice, Many Languages. Innovation in captioning for performing arts.
OpenLab 7 at Théâtre de Liège
2-3 November 2017. Programme. Continuing the work of the OpenLab 3 in Craiova, them teams focussed on the collaboration of the two technical teams involved. While the Belgian company Multitel is mainly working on the sound recognition and transfer to text, Incesa in Craiova is about to develop a new interface wrapping all the voice recognition engines, the editing of the corresponding texts for the surtitling (“prompt editor”), and the real time monitoring of the display. Obviously, the challenges on the technical side are quite big, and they also bring up the question how this device can be used playfully in the artistic process, and not only for “perfect” prompting.