This week I had the pleasure of attending “What is Reality?” - a Musical Theatre Factory salon hosted by XR Creative Producer Brandon Powers and MTF Artistic Director Brisa Areli Muñoz. The salon explored the world of XR, or Extended Reality, which encompasses virtual reality and augmented reality. Lena Wolfe was also in attendance demonstrating work combining dance, 3D depth scanning, and body tracking.
Brandon Powers and Lena Wolfe have both shared their insights into the ever-growing world of virtual and augmented reality and musical theatre on the podcast.
The evening featured short excerpts from new musicals in development that are incorporating XR — including a musical created entirely in the world of The Sims — and a thoughtful and inspiring panel with digital creators.
I tried a virtual headset for the first time, the Oculus Quest 2, and experienced the beautiful short musical From Sea to Rising Sea by Mary John Frank and Sigin Ojulu. The piece was filmed in the gorgeous Channel Islands off the coast of California, and I truly felt like I was swimming in the ocean. From Sea to Rising Sea is being toured to schools and providing workshops focused on climate change, theatre making, and taking actionable steps to mitigate rising sea levels.
From Sea to Rising Sea is available for free here, and you can enjoy the film even if you don't have access to a VR headset.
The evening was exciting, fun, diverse, and a wonderful showcase of the possibilities of combining technology with musical theatre. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Want to experience more musicals in 360º? Check out this earlier blog post to watch clips from Come From Away, Waitress, Aladdin, and more!