Pubs and cinemas may be opening in the UK, but the performing arts sector remains languishing under lockdown and live performance continues to be prohibited. The government’s roadmap, published at the end of June, has failed to excite, offering nothing in the way of certainty or, more importantly, money.
But, at the same time, some news has given the sector a vision of one alternative future. Punchdrunk, the pioneering immersive theater company, is to form a partnership with Niantic—the technology innovators behind the global success of Pokemon Go. This collaboration has the potential to deliver intimate immersive experiences on a hitherto unrealised or unobtainable global scale.
Alongside the potential economic value of this partnership, the new modes of performance and experience design that may emerge are of considerable interest—and may change the way theater is consumed forever in the wake of the pandemic.