When Immersive Theatre and Gaming Collide: A Chat with Samantha Gorman

  • Immersive Forum
  • 60min
  • 2020

This is the on-demand recording, to watch live on 4th November please click here.

Samantha is the co-founder of Tender Claws who first took the immersive media world by storm with the release of Virtual Virtual Reality—a mind-bending, metafictional love letter to VR that won Best Interactive Experience award at Raindance in 2017. In 2019 the critically-acclaimed studio followed up that cult classic with The Under Presents, which Forbes described as “a novel exploration of VR and live immersive theatre” and was a finalist for an Emmy in Innovation in Interactive Programming. In July 2020 actors have taken center stage in the experience introducing the Tempest—an interactive live VR performance, a reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic tale of magic, betrayal and revenge. Join Samantha as she discusses her experience writing and directing the Tempest, and the opportunities and challenges VR brings to stage performance.

About Tempest Tempest is a one-of-a-kind immersive theatre experience. Inspired by Shakespeare’s famed tale, join your intrepid guide Prospero in this intimate, interactive performance. In order to bring Prospero to life, the actor must enlist the help of the audience as Prospero’s spirits to realise an interactive, virtual version of the story.

About the Speaker

Samantha Gorman is a writer, artist, curator and educator. Her work combines text, cinema, games, virtual reality and scholarship about digital media. With Danny Cannizzaro she founded the game studio Tender Claws, which grew from two to twelve. Cannizzaro and Gorman’s first release as Tender Claws was the hybrid film/game/novel app PRY. PRY was selected by Apple as one of the 25 best apps of 2015 and was a Future of Storytelling Prize finalist, IGF finalist for “Excellence in Narrative” and has been showcased at film festivals, game festivals and book review sites. Tender Claws’ next project “Virtual, Virtual Reality” (VVR) draws on her seven years of experience in developing literary arts projects for Virtual Reality at Brown University’s CAVE VR studio. VVR recently won the 2017 Google Play Award for Best VR Experience. She also co-directed and led a team of writers to create Tendar in partnership with Google’s ARcore. Tendar is an AR Pet Fish powered by mobile vision and machine learning that feeds on our emotion and the world around us. Most recently, The Under Presents made in partnership with Oculus Studios was the first game to have a live theatrical run of live actors join players remotely for almost every hour of the first four months of its release. Samantha holds a MFA from Brown University in Writing for Digital Media and has taught at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2020, Samantha received her Ph.D. at USC’s “Media Arts + Practice” at the School of Cinematic Arts. This fall she is pleased to join the faculty of CAMD, Art+Design: Games Program as an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University.