Live theatre meets locative media on Adelaide Road
Having a lot of experience in developing location-based apps we were delighted to be asked to be technical consultants and developers for Adelaide Rd. The challenge was how to design a good app that was also a web based interactive map and a live performance.
Should we simply showcase the stories that were being planned in the creative writing workshops? Or should we aim for a more interactive game structure? should the journey be themed, or follow a ‘Canterbury Tales’ style of format?
Exploring with writer Aoife Mannix the wealth of possibilities for marrying story telling with technology was a great experience. Aoife shared her wealth of expertise in story telling and how to encourage others to write creatively. I shared my knowledge of technology experience design and the effective use of GPS. together we then came up with an overall design, inspired by the major themes in ‘As You Like It’ and incorporating letters and seven ages as an organising construct for moving and synchronising along the journey. these mechanics would work in all three platforms and take the audience on a real and virtual journey.
In order to develop the design we created a prototype version of the final app so that we could walk along Adelaide Rd to decide where the live performance areas should be, test if GPS zones triggered in the right manner and decide on how the workshops would be used to augment the central story line to be written by Aoife. Now fully embracing the potential for interactivity on the iPhone. Aoife suggested using a technique from her story writing workshops to encourage audience members to write their own poems. We were delighted to incorporate this into the app.
With the functional design agreed it was then time to move on to the aesthetic design and to work closely with the wider Royal Shakespeare Company team in the look feel and overall flow of the app and interactive web map. the design team enthusiastically embraced the challenge of developing their first iPhone app and again the process of sharing expertise, ideas and co-developing the app was a positive and fun experience.
By developing the functionality and design of the app in parallel with the creative writing workshops it enabled us to quickly add in the final media assets as soon as they were ready. this meant that we had time to finish, test and get the app published on the app store in time for the live performance.It was fascinating to see how the performers worked with the audience. In truth only the younger members of the audience had the capacity to follow the fast pace of the action AND manage to interact simultaneously with the app. But it is nice that the iPhone app provides a permanent experience that can be enjoyed on peoples own phones as they walk along Adelaide Rd long after the live performances have moved on.
You can read more about the project on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Adelaide Road Blog.