A digital season of plays using 360 video, ASMR, VR, and volumetric video capture launching this summer, includes pieces exploring the grief of separation from loved ones, the relationship between capitalism and discrimination, and a randomly generated variety show about death.

Conduit released 29 June
Myles Away released 27 July
52 Souls released 24 August

Nottingham based theatre company Chronic Insanity had just launched a 12 shows in 12 months project and were getting ready for their first Edinburgh Festival Fringe when COVID-19 struck. Fortunately their work has always thrived on experience technologies and investigating how they can play a role in storytelling, so they adapted and pushed forward. This summer they will release three productions, one a month, to be accessed online.

Launching at the end of June Conduit is an interactive hyper technological performance focusing on a character that is trying desperately to be with a separated loved one. A brand new piece, Conduit casts audience in the role of the character’s friend, feeding back on new innovations in presence technology to help them towards the person they miss so desperately. Mixing heart-warming anecdotes with video, 360 video, ASMR, and volumetric video capture to create an all-encompassing technical experience, the piece asks whether it right that grief should be used as a tool to drive innovation

Myles Away follows in July, in which the livestream of a tech company’s annual announcement gets subverted, and eventually hijacked by the estranged founder to reveal some murky secrets about the organisation. Using multiple synchronised video feeds and interactive audience elements, this performance looks at the relationship between capitalism and discrimination in the tech industry and asks what we as consumers are willing to turn a blind eye to, in order to have a slightly easier life and whether our benefits are worth someone else’s loss. This piece is being adapted from an original piece prepared to present alongside Nottingham Pride with Near Now and Broadway Cinema. It includes an accompanying VR experience.

Finally in August, Edinburgh festival fringe theatrical variety show 52 Souls still gets its run, albeit online. Using a deck of cards, over the course of an hour the audience draws one by one and tells their computer what cards they’ve picked. Each card delivers a short performance, one per playing card, each from a different performer, that explore death and mortality. The structure places the means of continuing a performance into the audiences hands and will examine how we react when faced with time running out when we still have more to do. Theatre, poetry, magic, music, puppets, and other performance styles combine in this self-driven, randomly generated variety show about a universal topic that we have both a morbid curiosity and instinctual repulsion for.

Nat and Joe said “We always try and push the boundaries of live performance and theatre and being faced with the challenge of making digital work is something we are very happy to rise to. We’re so excited to be able to continue working with all of our freelance artists, start building relationships with new creatives from a wide array of backgrounds, and show everyone something approaching the complete breadth of what digital theatre can be. These aren’t just filmed or streamed live productions, this is digital theatre, about digital stories, made for digital platforms and communities. We hope you enjoy the shows!”

Company/production information
Chronic Insanity is led by Nat Henderson and Joe Strickland, two Nottingham-based theatre makers interested in challenging every element of theatre making, from the inception of the idea to after the final performance. They are currently on track to complete their 12 shows in 12 months project, which started in September 2019. They also use sustainable theatre making practices, record all performances in multiple digital formats, create new opportunities for other creatives to get their work on, and document the whole process for others to learn from.

Listings information
All show are initially available for one week
Tickets: £10/8/5/Free
Tickets for all productions available at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/chronicinsanity
Shows should all be able to viewed on any device with internet access (computer, tablet, phone etc), no specific tech requirements

29 June 2020 Conduit
27 July 2020 Myles Away
24 Aug 2020 52 Souls

Supported by Arts Council England.