World first for Derry theatre's Minecraft play
A Londonderry theatre is to host the world's first play performed by both human actors and avatars - digitised versions of the cast - in the computer game, Minecraft.
Playcraft Live will be performed at the city's Playhouse Theatre on 14 October.
It will simultaneously be streamed to the world online via the theatre's website, Minecraft and Youtube.
Slipping between both stage and game world, the story will unfold across different locations and times.
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Minecraft is the second-best-selling videogame of all time.
It allows players to build things using cubic blocks and take part in exploration, engineering, crafting and combat.
The game is hugely popular with children and young teenagers.
The production will see the dramatisation of a script, written specifically for Playcraft by Alex Scarrow, author of the teen science fiction series of novels, Time Riders.
The story is based between books one and two of his Time Riders series.
Online audiences will experience the production as a live-stream simulcast.
For those lucky enough to be part of the Playhouse audience, they will be able to see the physical actor on stage communicating the play to them.
They will also see a stream of the digital version of that actor, within the Minecraft world, projected onto a screen.
These avatars will be developed and built by Minecraft experts operating from an adjacent room.
Kieran Griffiths, creative director at the Playhouse Theatre, said he was excited to be introducing something "completely new to the world of theatre".
"The production is hugely ambitious and a definite step into the unknown, but a tremendous opportunity to allow two artistic worlds to come together and learn from each other," Mr Griffiths said.
The project will also involve renowned creative producer Adam Clarke and digital educators MakeMatic.
It has been commissioned by The Space, which is funded by the BBC and Arts Council England.
"I suppose the thorny rose in between is the technology," Mr Griffiths said.
"Over the coming months we have to remove the thorns and make sure that rose is passed gracefully.
"At the end of it, we hope to produce an educational asset whereby we will see online amateur societies creating their own world within Minecraft."
Throughout the summer, Minecraft fans will be invited to join in on the production, find out more about the play and contribute to the process along the way.