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Draw Me Close in rehearsal – left, Tamzin Griffin as the mother – (c) James Bellorini

Draw Me Close in rehearsal - left, Tamzin Griffin as the mother - (c) James Bellorini

The Young Vic to host virtual reality preview

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell Published 11 January 2019

Virtual reality (or VR as you may know it) is becoming a rather exciting technological development, where users can become fully immersed in the computerised world around them.

And VR is coming to Theatreland thanks to The Young Vic, who are going to host a theatrical preview of a VR experience entitled Draw Me Close.

The show mixes live performance, VR and animation to create a vivid memoir about the relationship between a mother and her son, in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. A combination of classic theatrical story and modern technology, this immersive show turns the audience into a protagonist and immerses them into a live, animated world. The cast of the show includes Geraldine Alexander, Tamzin Griffin and Penny Layden.

Draw Me Close - Jordan Tannahill rehearses a scene with Tamzin Griffin (actress) (c) James Bellorini

Audiences will experience this unique and intimate show on an individual basis, with each performance lasting approximately 1 hour.

Written and directed by the award-winning Jordan Tannahill, the show is a co-production between the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

Several years in the making, the concept was initially created in a ‘Virtual Reality Lab’ back in 2016. Throughout a three-week event, which was hosted by The National and NFB, the idea of storytelling using VR was explored, and Draw Me Close was selected to be developed further. Draw Me Close went onto to become selected for Venice Virtual Reality at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in September 2017 – the first ever competition for films made in virtual reality at a major film festival.

Draw Me Close rehearsal shot at the NT_s Immersive Storytelling Studio (c) James Bellorini

Kwame Kwei-Armah, the Young Vic Artistic Director, says:

“When I first watched Draw Me Close, I took my headset off and needed time to contemplate the meaning of life. It is a deeply moving and revealing VR performance that tells the story of love, loss and family. As a mixed media experience it also embodies what it takes to be an artist in the 21st Century; visually thrilling, deeply moving and using world-first technologies.

“It is our job to show that this type of work belongs within a theatrical space, and that mission is one of the core aims for the Young Vic as we continue to explore what was once considered impossible beyond the realms of our four walls.”

Tickets will be on sale from Tue 15 Jan at midday. Shows will be running from 10:45am – 8:45pm each day. Due to the unique nature of this show, tickets are only available to buy one at a time.

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