SEAN HOLLANDS, DIRECTOR FOR THE NATIONAL YOUTH THEATRE RESIDENCY
Over the last couple of days I have ran Casting sessions for our brand new Virtual Reality project that will see us take our first steps into VR theatre.
Working in both London and Sheffield I have met young people from the community and from the National Youth Theatre who we are collaborating with on this project. If I’m honest I went in to this Casting process rather blind. We are testing something that doesn’t have a rulebook, or a script. Our aim for this project is very much to test what is possible, and make 3 pieces of scratch material that will demonstrate the potential of this new technology.
However the young people we work with will play a huge role in what those 3 pieces are. So my aim was simply to find a diverse cast of voices, performers and experience.
The audition process was simple, come in with a monologue that you enjoyed, that you felt comfortable performing, and then have a chat! As part of the chat, I asked how they would place the monologue they had just performed into our VR space. What struck me as I continued to meet people and ask this question, was not just the complexity of some of the concepts, but how easily they could see and imagine the implementation of this technology on their work.
It’s the first sign that what we are doing is understandable, that it registers, and more excitingly that it will be accessible to this audience.
And as always, doing this process reaffirms my drive to continue working with young people in the arts. It takes bravery to come in and present a monologue. It sounds simple but it’s daunting. The young people I met approached the audition, not with fear, but with passion, conviction and an openness for creativity.
We have a new piece of kit and in the coming days we will announce the new band members we have asked to come play on it.
I know the specifics of this VR project at the moment are vague, (they are still vague for the people doing it!) but I’m certain all will become clear once we get this exciting cohort into our new VR world.
Director and theatre maker. Trained at Rose Bruford College in European Theatre Arts. Recipient of the Bryan Forbes Bursary with the National Youth Theatre REP 2016. Theatre Practitioner at Frantic Assembly, Creative Associate at Megaverse.