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Dream a little dream: musician Nick Cave joins RSC cast

Dream, the RSC's new live online theatre and and gaming tech collaboration opens this Fri (March 12) leading the way in future audience experience with singer Nick Cave as 'Voice of the Forest'.

Nick Cave. Photo by Christie Goodwin

Australian-born musician, writer, film score composer and occasional actor, Nick Cave joins the cast of the RSC’s thrilling new online production Dream set in a virtual forest, which has captured attention around the world for its innovative use of interactive video game tech.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream this much-anticipated collaboration with Manchester International Festival (MIF), Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF) and Philharmonia Orchestra will have its first 50-minute live airing this Friday (March 12) and run until March 20.

Pre-recorded during lockdown, Nick Cave plays the Voice of the Forest – a strange and beautiful but unseen character who is all around us. Audiences are invited to illuminate flowers, trees and streams in a virtual midsummer forest. Entering the forest at dusk the audience are invited to interact with a cast of seven actors. Guided by the forest itself, they must explore and regrow the forest before dawn.

Nick Cave has been performing music for more than 40 years and is best known as the songwriter and lead singer of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, his latest album, Carnage, written and recorded with Warren Ellis was released in February 2021. Their track Red Right Hand is the theme music for Birmingham set 1920s drama Peaky Blinders.

Cave’s body of work also covers a wider range of media and modes of expression including film score composition and writing of novels. His Red Hand Files website have seen Cave exploring deeper and more direct relationships with his fans.

Rehearsal shot of Dream. Photos by Stuart Martin, (c) RSC

In a similar way to Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, audiences will have the opportunity to directly influence the live performance from wherever they are in the world on their mobile, desktop or tablet via the dream.online website.

The performance uses the latest gaming and theatre technology together with an interactive symphonic score that responds to the actors’ movement during the show. A fascinating interview with director Robin McNicholas is even featured in the Los Angeles Times: The tech behind ‘Fortnite’ and ‘The Mandalorian’ is now driving … Shakespeare?

This pioneering collaboration is the culmination of a major piece of cutting-edge research and development (R&D) exploring how audiences could experience live performance in a post-Covid future as well as regular visits to a performance venue.

Dream was due to open in Spring 2020 as an in person and online live performance and has been recreated during the pandemic for online audiences since the closure of theatres globally.

The live performance is set in a virtual midsummer forest. Under the shadow of gathering clouds at dusk, lit by the glimmer of fireflies, Puck acts as the guide. Audiences are invited to explore the forest from the canopy of the trees to the roots, meet the sprites, Cobweb, Mustardseed, Peaseblossom and Moth, and join an extraordinary journey into the eye of a cataclysmic storm. Together with Puck they must regrow the forest before the dawn.  When day breaks, the spell breaks.

The online event will be a shared experience between remote audience members and the seven actors who play Puck and the sprites. Audiences can choose to buy a £10 ticket to take part and at key points in the play directly influence the world of the actors, or to view the performance for free. The ten Dream performances are scheduled so that audiences across the world can join the event.

For further information, go here. Booking: dream.online – Lobby opens on Mon Mar 8 #DreamOnline21

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