With the first iteration of Bury The Wren we explored the creation of a performance that combined AR and VR into a live experience, and the impact of these emerging technologies on the creation and presentation of performance and design. This initial 12-minute version moved quickly through Annie’s entire life – her courtship, marriage, the massacre, and the fallout from the horrifying event right up to her death.

The text, performance, and design of all the “realities” were crafted using devised theatre, and design-driven creation methods. We gave ourselves significant time restrictions within each of the realities to allow for brief explorations of these forms. We are deeply interested in continuing to use these methods to further develop the story and these interactions with the virtual, digital and carbon worlds.

As part of the original experiment, we did extensive (ethics board approved) survey-based research with our participants, in an attempt to capture their experience of these emerging technologies and the art form we created to present them in. The response was overwhelmingly positive. For many, it was their first time in VR. The majority of participants wanted more time in AR and CR, and many had profound emotional experiences within our tale. The collected data will help to guide our further explorations as it provides some pretty strong insight into both the performer experience and the participant experience.

Our choice to tell a nearly 200-year-old story using cutting edge technology was deeply considered. It seemed somehow natural to us to put advanced technology in the hands of a ghost from the 1880s. How else could she tell her story to us in 2019? The anachronistic quality is something that we all find incredibly compelling and will continue to be explored dramaturgically and scenographically as the piece develops.