The research project “Im/material Theatre Spaces – Augmented and Virtual Reality for Theatre” has been successfully completed after 2.5 years. This publication summarises the findings of the project and provides insights into the interdisciplinary, practice-oriented research work. Download publication (pdf 8 MB)
What is the relationship between theater and immersive technologies? What spatial, technical and narrative qualities does a medium like virtual reality offer? Which aspects are important?
What dramaturgical and scenographic means do we use to design virtual experience spaces? How can a room be set in motion virtually? And how do visitors immerse themselves in such a moving space?
When looking at the design possibilities for a VR production, it helps to first draw attention to the target audience:
When the audience is integrated into an artistic performance through the use of participatory strategies, the suggested cooperation at eye level often takes place only superficially. The participants are only given limited power to act and are usually involved in the supposedly collective creative process without authorship.
Festivals, as in all artistic disciplines, offer a very good framework in the case of Extended Realities to exhibit new ideas, concepts and works and to make them accessible to a large audience.
What are the different options? From simple to complex, from open-access to high-priced. We give a first overview of different scenarios of the virtual building trial.
Viewing, discussing and editing designs in virtual space
Viewing and discussing designs with up to 30 people via different devices
Viewing and discussing designs with up to30 people via two-dimensional screens
After two intensive research years, the project leaders Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege take a look behind the scenes, draw a summary and glimpse into the future. In doing so, they are asking themselves the same questions that they have posed to their partners in the current project.
“We are navigating an experimental field, which is still finding its form” Interview with Alex Segin
Project lead Franziska Ritter talks to Alexander Segin, Head of Event Technology Konzerthaus Berlin. During the 2020/21 season, which marked the concert hall’s 200-year anniversary, we had a chance to test workflows for virtual construction rehearsals with him and his team.
Norbert Richter has been head of the workshops at the Chemnitz Theatre since 2007. For many years, he and his team have been the „digital engine“ at the theatre and are contributing their know-how to the upcoming renovation of the theatre and the move to the interim venue in the Alte Spinnerei.
“There is added value through the results that we derive from digitalisation” Interview with Christian Buschhoff and Fabian Schröter
Christian Buschhoff, who oversees the renovation efforts at Luisenburg festival, and Fabian Schröter, the technical director, talked to project leads Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege about digital tools used to plan renovations and virtual construction rehearsals.
Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege, both digital.DTHG project leads, sat down with Andreas Gause, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Gerriets, to talk about digital transformation in the field of theatre.
The main goal of the sub-project “Virtuelle Lehr- und Lernräume” was to initiate necessary structural changes at the universities. In the long term, access to XR laboratories is needed, such as those currently being established in neighbouring disciplines at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences, as well as dedicated financial and technical resources in the …
In June 2022, the 61st stage technology conference of the DTHG took place in Ulm: with an extensive program of presentations, panel discussions, round tables and lectures, the theatre landscape was finally able to celebrate its industry meeting live again. 71 companies and more than 1,100 guests were on site, got to know each other …
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, …
Workflows and Guides for Virtual Bauprobe In this subproject, methods and tools were sought for conducting Virtual Bauprobe – building rehearsals that do not take place physically in the theatre and on stage, but can take place in virtual space and independent of location. How can VR technology be integrated as a visualization, design, construction …
The CANON project will end in December 2022. Until then, the participating students and lecturers from the partner universities will develop the content for the database in various workshops in Stockholm, Rome and Berlin. Through the cooperation and practical collaboration, synergies could be created, ideas visualised at an early stage and potentials uncovered. The developed …
The current situation shows how important digital teaching and learning formats currently are and will be in the future at universities, but also in training and learning situations in the theater and event sector. In cooperation with teachers and learners of the Theater and Event Technology and Management course at the Berlin University of Applied …
On the occasion of the 100th stage anniversary of the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin, the goal was to bring the no longer existing predecessor building “Das Große Schauspielhaus Berlin” and its stage art back into public awareness. The VR project “An Evening at the Großes Schauspielhaus – Virtual Reality Time Travel Berlin 1927” opens a digital experience …
Cocreative performances in analog-digital interstices The central field of investigation in this subproject is the relationship between physical reality and virtual space and interaction processes between spectators and musicians/performers. With the development and realization of the VR performance “Spatial Encounters” we explored the extent to which the linking of a real/physical space with a digital/immaterial …
Interactive user manuals of complex constructions and systems Highly complex equipment is used in the event sector and on theater stages. The technologies and products used are so diverse that their operation cannot be taught comprehensively in training. In addition, assembly and operating instructions available as paper documents are often too unspecific and – especially …
Complex building projects, new buildings and renovation projects for theatres and cultural venues bring great communicative challenges for all involved. Not everyone is trained to read floor plans and many find it difficult to translate a plan drawing into a three-dimensional image. To what extent can digital technologies such as augmented reality be used to …
The solutions we developed as part of the research project “Im/material Theatre Spaces” (2019-2022) serve as sustainably transferable concepts due to their prototypical model character. The gained insights and developed model solutions were published on various channels and are made available to the entire cultural landscape for free and flexible use. Licenses For this purpose, …
Ever since virtual reality is a common term and “immersive technologies” can be purchased by normal consumers the exact terms of the technologies are likely to be confused.
“Digital tools are just a reflection on the fact that we want to work together” Interview Chris van Goethem
Chris van Goethem, researcher and teacher for technical theatre and history at Erasmus University in Brussels at the RITCS School of Arts, started in the 80s as a stage manager with touring theatre companies. By now he is working in two different areas: on the one hand everything that has to do with competences, knowledge …
The platform Knowledge on nachtkritik.plus bundles and reflects the achieved state of development in the field of theater and digitality. There are already almost eighty contributions on various technical tools, tutorials and workshop discussions that explain digital technologies and their application or reflect on experiences with them.
Interview: “VR is the driving force for us!” digital.DTHG in conversation with theater junge generation Dresden
The digital.DTHG team visits the theater junge generation Dresden, one of the first cooperation partners in the research project “Im/material Theatre Spaces”. Project manager Franziska Ritter and VR coach Vincent Kaufmann ask about experiences and insights and show how the Dresden colleagues have made it from their first virtual attempts to established digital workflows in …
The market of programs for working with virtual reality is complex. In our “How to go Virtual” workshops we have tested many and show them in comparison.
Quickly explained: How do I create a digital theater space – 3D construction, photogrammetry or laser scan?
Which methods are available for spatial capture and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
VR headset with or without cable? When do I need wired or mobile VR glasses? What is tracking anyway, which variants are there? What performance differences do VR glasses have? And how is all this related to each other?
Digitization is making its way into almost every field and, with virtual reality, is developing a thoroughly useful tool for planning, organizing and meetings. The listed programs are starting points for spatial design work in VR and allow an easy entry into the virtual world.
Learning by doing or in-depth training? Bachelor’s, master’s or continuing education? How can the digital transformation be driven forward in the theater?
Quickly explained: VR content – pre-produced versus real-time rendered, passive versus interactive?!
The types of content that can be presented and experienced in virtual reality are diverse and very different – we provide an overview.
What are the latest technological developments? How do we tell “augmented” stories? What are the ethical rules in the virtual world? A number of online magazines and platforms provide insight into technological developments and content discourses, and also keep professionals up to date.
For a long time, game engines were exactly what their name suggests: the engines that drive the functioning of computer games “under the hood”. Because the demands of interactive and multimedia applications are very similar to those of computer games in other areas as well, these game engines are increasingly being used there as well.
WebXR – what is that actually and how does it work? We use this technology for several of our digital.DTHG prototypes – here we explain what it is.
Quickly explained: Laptop or tower? Windows or Mac? Which set-up do I need for “virtual” theater work?
Different technical setups are possible for working with virtual reality in the theater – whether for visualizing stage designs or virtual construction rehearsals. Here is an introductory overview of the most important questions before the purchase as a first research support.
The pandemic has increased interest in digital meeting rooms and the number of tools has also grown enormously. Meetings can now take place not only as a simple video call, but are also conquering the virtual space.
As with buying furniture, the same applies to 3D model building: You don’t have to build everything yourself, but can choose various digital objects in large “furniture stores” to furnish your own theater space or stage set. On the other hand, online platforms help to present and share own 3D models or projects. We provide …
On October 21, 2021, our project leaders Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege discussed about HYBRID SPACES at the intersection between games and theater and cooked simultaneously at THINK Hybrid Spaces at the DE:HIVE Research Center for Games at HTW Berlin.
A VR headset gets to know a lot of faces and noses in the course of its operating life. Therefore, proper handling and care is important – we give you basic tips here:
We are pleased to present the VR experience about the “Großes Schauspielhaus Berlin” at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum Frankfurt / Main on September 16 and 17, 2021 – ICOMOS conference “To be or not to be –Historic Theater Buildings: Use and Modernisation”.
From April to July 2021, we were able to conduct a second cooperation with the Berliner Hochschule für Technik (BHT): together with the students of the master’s program Theater and Event Technology, we again designed and prototyped three different virtual teaching and learning spaces in a seminar – this time led by Lea Schorling.
What different VR systems and manufacturers are there? How do I find my way through the VR jungle? What do I have to pay attention to when choosing?
In our project “Hybrid-real stages” we investigate with the VR experience “Spatial Encounters” to what extent the linking of a real/physical with a digital/immaterial space can be used as a design tool and enable completely new experiential spaces.
The VR Experience “Spatial Encounters” celebrated its premiere in the Thuringian monastery Volkenroda on August 27 and 28, 2021 and set experimental and virtual accents in the context of the Summer Concert Festival!
Save the date: We will celebrate the premiere of the VR installation “Spatial Encounters” on August 27, 2021 at the summer concerts in Volkenroda! In this digital experiment, musicians and audience alike become actors, creating a shared encounter space in virtual reality (VR).
“Virtual reality is not for me, it makes me dizzy” is something we hear again and again when it comes to VR. Motion sickness is currently one of the biggest barriers to the spread of virtual reality. How does motion sickness occur and what can I do about it?
In this article we explain the different degrees of movement in virtual space! What does 3DoF and 6DoF mean – and what are the effects? Find your center: Users control their movements in the virtual world either via the controllers or by means of body position and movement. For this purpose, the movement data is …
We present the prototypical sample solution for the TRUMPF 95 assembly instructions in detail.
Students from Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin and the digital.DTHG team are jointly developing the first VR prototypes.
Time Travel with Virtual Reality – Berlin 1927 In cooperation with the Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin, the team of digital.DTHG publishes the virtual reality project “Opening night at the Große Schauspielhaus”.
Complex renovation projects for theaters and cultural venues pose major communication challenges for everyone involved. To what extent can XR technology be used to digitally support work processes and enable communication between all those involved?
In a field test, we tested a WebXR prototype for setting up the Gerriets TRUMPF 95 curtain track with the technical team of the Deutsches Theater Berlin at the end of April 2021.
Recently, the article “Making im/material theatre spaces tangible – Exploring collection objects virtually” was published in the volume “Objects on the internet – Scientific collections in digital transformation” by transcript publishing house.
“How to go virtual?!” Workshop for freelance stage designers – together with the association “Bund der Szenografen”
To raise awareness of digital and virtual tools in theater, digital.DTHG created the workshop series “How to go virtual?!” and has now expanded the format for freelance scenographers and set designers.
After the cancellation of the 60. Bühnentechnische Tagung 2020 in Ulm at short notice, we transferred the digital.DTHG trade fair stand into the digital space and documented it on our YouTube channel.
The project managers Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege present the project “Im/material Theatre Spaces” as an online session from the ditigal.DTHG lab after one year of project duration.
After one year of project duration, the project managers Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege present interim results of the project “Virtual Stage Rehearsal” at the Bühnentechnische Tagung.
Live from the digital.DTHG lab at the Bühnentechnische Tagung the two project managers* Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege presented interim results of the subproject “Virtual Teaching and Learning Rooms”.
At the online session at Bühnentechnische Tagung 2020 in October 2020, both project managers Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege presented interim results of the sub-project “The virtual Große Schauspielhaus Berlin”.
The project “Augmented Reality in Event Technology” was presented online by the two project managers Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege at BTT_digital from the digital.DTHG lab.
At the BTT – the Stage Technology Conference, the most important trade fair and further training event for the theatre and event technology sector of the Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft (DTHG), we will be giving on 28. & 29. October digital a first insight into our projects.
The project “Augmented Reality in Event Technology” aims at facilitating recurring work processes such as the construction and dismantling of stage sets or the maintenance and administration of theatre technology using AR applications.
The entry into new digital worlds is a big step with many obstacles. New software and new ways of working require an intensive examination and consume a lot of time. Time that is not always available.
The theatre has always been a place for creating fantastic stories, a retreat and a place of longing at the same time. As “world builders”, theatre makers enable their audience to visit diverse places and travel through time to the future and the past.
The view beyond the horizon offers different impressions of VR applications outside the theatre context. As an art installation or museum artifact, VR is ideally suited to open up new aesthetic, narrative and didactic spaces.
In the course of our daily work we encounter many interesting works by colleagues worldwide in which VR and AR open up new stage spaces or play a role as a medium in a performance. This list of links serves as a source of inspiration, orientation and further research and is continuously updated by us, …
In an interview with Hubert Eckart, our project managers Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege give insights into the current challenges in the Corona home office and report on the opportunities and risks of this special time.
Developing a stage design is a process that involves many steps and trades – the creative work of the stage designers in consultation with the director as much as coordination with technical management, production in the workshops and realization on stage.
In theatre and event technology there are often two souls living in the chest of the technician: on the one hand, he or she appreciates reliable tools & technologies that have been tried and tested for years, but on the other hand, there is always curiosity about the new and unknown.
On November 25, 2019, from 10 am to 5 pm, the workshop “Virtual and Augmented Reality – How can digital technologies open up new accesses to cultural heritage?” organized by digiS took place at the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB).
Lectures by Franziska Ritter, Pablo Dornhege (digital.DTHG) and Maren Demant (Invisible Room), summarized by Kai Schnier, kultur-b-digital.de
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technologies that complement our existing communication spaces and promote new approaches to mediation. They offer new possibilities of immersive, interactive and playful experience, through which a broader, especially younger audience can be reached.
An interdisciplinary kick-off workshop entitled “IM/MATERIAL THEATRE SPACES” took place in spring 2019 at the TU Berlin under the direction of Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege.
Finally it’s time: Thanks to the support of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), our research project has started: With the title “Im/material Theatre Spaces – Augemted and Virtual Reality for Theatre”, we will dedicate the next two years under the direction of Franziska Ritter and Pablo Dornhege entirely to the questions of the entanglement of theatre and digitality.