For C&T, theatre is the Next Big Thing in technology

C&T has been mixing technology and drama for nearly twenty years.  We're not new to the field.  We've been around for long enough to know that the only thing that is consistent in the arena of digital technology is that everything changes. 

Everyone is looking for the Next Big Thing.  They come and go:  dial-up, web 2.0, social media, PS 1, 2, 3 and 4, mobile, tablets, ephemeral media, AR, VR, AI - take your pick.   C&T always aims to be just ahead of that curve:  we're shameless Early Adopters.  It's the only way to understand the trends, look ahead and predict the future.

That's why we think we know what the Next Big Thing is:  it's theatre.

This shouldn't be a surprise from a theatre company, albeit one committed to learning and social justice rather than stages, auditoria, sets and costumes.  What's different this time is how we're using the vocabulary of theatre to underscore the very computer code we're writing.

Three years ago, we set ourselves the task of how we could 'skin' our online drama projects, so that the process of live, real-time theatre facilitation, could itself be enhanced by technology.   We created Prospero to do exactly that.  It's been an exciting time: projects with numerous theatre companies, collaborative projects in New York, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, South Carolina, Vienna and more beside. It's been an amazing period: we've learnt a lot and we've been working hard to use that learning to inform the creation of a new version of Prospero, launching in just a few short weeks.  

We saw a first demo of it yesterday.  Glitchy, temperamental and fumbling it's way into the world, it was none the less phenomenal.  Without being overly emotive, it took our breath away.

It shouldn't have: it was really only doing all the things we'd asked Al, our Lead Developer, to create for us. But none the less he hs done some ground-breaking work.   What got us so excited was not we could see, but the possibilities.  Any webpage is a backdrop for drama, smartphones become actors, a play text becomes a smartscript, embedded with cues, prompts and actions. Live theatre, in real spaces with actual people, in real time, not screen-based digital learning.  It felt like we'd stumbled across a new way of writing plays - and plays that can inspire, educate and empower through the potential of digital.  The Next Big Thing is theatre.

This week we start work using this new version of Prospero with Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah.  After yesterday, we can't wait to get started. Next, it's a major international collaboration with the University of Auckland.  After that we want to make Prospero available to schools, theatres, artists and universities, whatever their scale or location.  

It will be ready in April.  Get in touch now if you would like to see a demo. Have a look here.

Paul Sutton