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About

25 minutes.

No, Dream is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream but it’s not a performance of the play. It’s a 25-minute, recorded live, online production set in a virtual forest at midsummer. 

This is a recording of Dream, which was performed live by actors in a motion capture space at Portsmouth Guildhall in March 2021. You will see both the actors themselves and their avatars in the virtual forest. The avatars were driven by the movements of the actors in real time. 

This prerecorded version of Dream was performed live in March 2021 by actors in a specially created motion capture space at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Building on the technology used in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s groundbreaking 2016 production of The Tempest, the first play to feature live performance capture rendered in Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, Dream brings together live performance, virtual production and gaming technology. 

Dream was performed by actors in a specially created motion capture space at Portsmouth Guildhall, with the support of a team from the University of Portsmouth. Vicon motion capture cameras and state of the art facial rigging captured the movements of the performers. This drove the virtual avatars of each of the characters in real time through a traditional performance lighting desk into Unreal Engine. The live performance was mixed with pre-recorded animation sequences.

Audience Plus ticket holders interacted with the performance using the touchscreen, trackpad or mouse on their devices. The actors responded to audience interaction and direction.

A bespoke web-player enabled real-time content to be distributed from individual audience members to the Unreal Engine server and back to the audience. 

Dream features a symphonic score based on recordings by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen. The recordings were expanded by music created in real time by the movements of the performers. This living, dynamic soundtrack adapted and interacted with the narrative and the pre-recorded orchestral tracks. 

Dream features core classical repertoire and two contemporary orchestral works – excerpts from Gemini, one of Salonen’s latest compositions, and Ärr, composed by Swedish composer Jesper Nordin. The music was recorded by the Orchestra, conducted by Salonen, on Friday 13 March 2020, the last full-scale orchestral recording, involving 100 players, before the pandemic struck.

Nordin is the creator of the groundbreaking interactive music tool Gestrument, giving parts of Dream an interactive musical layer. Gestrument allows the performers to generate music from their movements. This real-time generated music can be shaped by the performers but will always be in perfect sync with the pre-recorded orchestral score.

Dream is a production from the Royal Shakespeare Company, in collaboration with Manchester International Festival, Marshmallow Laser Feast and Philharmonia Orchestra. It is brought to you by the Audience of the Future Consortium.

Yes, Dream is suitable for children. Please note that the performance includes thunder and sudden, loud music, which some children may find scary. You may wish to adjust your volume, or use our visual soundscape to help you understand whether the performance is right for any children you’re planning to watch with.

Yes, Dream is suitable for all ages.

Please note that the performance includes thunder and sudden, loud music, which some children may find scary. You may wish to adjust your volume, or use our visual soundscape to help you understand whether the performance is right for any children you’re planning to watch with.

All rehearsals and preparations for Dream took place under strict covid secure protocols.