Bauprobe – why virtual?

The Bauprobe is an important milestone in the theatre production process, where the participants usually come together physically for the first time in a large group: the artistic team (first and foremost the stage designer, but also the director, costume designer, make-up artist) and the technical team (usually with the technical director, stage manager, lighting, sound, video and workshop manager). During the rehearsal, the stage design previously submitted in the model is marked on the stage – with simple means and standard materials. This enables all participants to see the ideas and dimensions on a scale of 1:1 on the stage and to perceive the overall impression in the atmosphere of the theatre as well as to check sight lines. The Bauprobe is used to discuss and check the technical feasibility and implementation ideas. Depending on the stage design, it is also about the materialities, the use of light and projection. 

There is an interesting parallel here to the development process of computer games: There, so-called greyboxing takes on very similar functions, in which all parts relevant to the functioning of a computer game are simulated prototypically. This does not involve the final visual appearance, which is why simple grey cubes (hence the name) are usually used as placeholders for a later level architecture. Based on the greyboxing, the decisions and changes necessary for further work can then be made.

In this sub-project, methods and tools were sought for conducting virtual rehearsals – that is, rehearsals that cannot take place physically in the theatre and on stage, but in virtual space and independent of location. How can VR technology be integrated as a visualization, design, construction and communication medium at the theatre, even beyond the construction rehearsal phase? The basis for our research is this prototypical theatre production process that represents the complexity of the creation process and shows potential intersection points for working with or in virtual reality. 

The result is over 30 blog posts on the  digital.DTHG website, providing basic knowledge for beginners, explaining terms, recommending projects and revealing connections. This knowledge has been presented in detail at over 12 conferences and symposia so far.  The core of this sub-project is the workshop series „How to go Virtual“, which was conducted in cooperation with associations and cultural venues with the teams of nine different theatres and will be continued.