BD Stories: digital live performances

Project partners: Freedom Studios, Carbon: Imagineering and the University of Leeds 

Freedom Studios in Bradford brings together communities to engage with the arts and create opportunities for collaborative working. Carbon Imagineering is a digital innovation and R&D company that specialises in product design and concept development to create new experiences for their partners and clients.

Freedom Studios, together with Carbon Imagineering, collaborated with 3D and VR developers and academics from the University of Leeds to work with Bradford-based writers Aina Khan and Asma Elbadawi. 

The resulting project, BD Stories (named after the Bradford postcode area ‘BD’), explored how social media could enable mobile audiences to enter and explore a story world alongside its characters. By streaming all the individual components of a story such as the characters, places, timelines and viewpoints, the user had the ability to remix and navigate the story’s universe on their own terms.

With support from the University of Leeds, a series of workshops and rehearsals helped the theatrical, technology and audience teams to share knowledge during the R&D stage. In addition, the audience engagement and interest for different levels of immersion and interactivity was tested. The potential of story casting on the platform was also explored.

The project has gained interest from over thirty companies nationally and internationally, who wish to explore how digital live performances could be used to help facilitate future art projects.

Alex Chisholm, co-artistic director, and industry partner on this project, says:

We believe that the format and technology we have developed needs to be widely accessible, to enable the production and distribution of digital live performance to a much wider and diverse population of creators. 

Our aim is to create a lightweight creator toolkit in the future, which allows creatives to author and distribute a digital live performance. They can pair this with a player app that can be specific to a venue, event, community or other audience segment that can aggregate content from that creative. The platform could then continue to be developed and extended, creating a sustainable ecosystem of platform owners, app developers, performers and creatives.”

Categories: Arts, Performance