Musical theatre gets a Virtual Reality check
THE upcoming production of the Little Shop of Horrors by Bangalow Theatre Company will offer an extra-special experience: a virtual reality booth where audience members can feel like they are part of the cast.
Lismore teen Madhi Manar has been working with Bangalow residents Will and Anouska Gammon on a virtual reality short film to accompany Bangalow Theatre Company's upcoming production of the Little Shop of Horrors.
Little Shop of Horrors is a horror-comedy rock musical by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh.
Ms Gammon is the show's choreographer but she is also in charge of marketing and decided to partner up with husband Will, who specialises in special effects for film and television.
The couple decided to offer a young person the chance to learn the technology and prepare a short film, so the theatre production has a new and exciting virtual reality experience to offer to its audiences beside the music theatre production.
Ms Gammon said Madhi had taken more than 300 images of the set of the Little Shop of Horrors and the A&I Hall.
"Those images were converted by Madhi into a virtual reality space, so you can put the headset on and you see yourself sitting in the dentist's chair that is featured in the show," Ms Gammon said.
"You can see your hands and your legs and you are in the middle of the stage.
"Then the plant from the show starts talking to you, moves around and laughs.
"There will be a booth in the foyer. It's a $2 experience and it's a virtual set-up of the stage."
The experience only goes for about a minute but it took Madhi and another young person hundreds of hours of work to learn the techniques and to put the experience together.
The Lismore teen and Mr Gammon are also creating other special effects for the show.
Ms Gammon said the theatre company is hoping to attract new audiences to the show by offering the virtual reality experience.
"People who love musical theatre will come to the show regardless, but we are hoping it will attract people who don't necessarily love musical theatre."