CISB’s Virtual Reality (VR) lab is an amazing new addition to our school community. There are countless software programs that can be used to create learning experiences at all grade and subject levels. You may be asking yourself: how can VR be incorporated into theatre classes and performances in an authentic way? The answer to that is complex. Theatre is an art form that is rooted in a live, in-the-moment relationship between audience and performer, so it is difficult to imagine where virtual reality has a place. However, many progressive theatre companies have been making use of this tool to enhance and augment the theatre-goers experience. Right now, VR is being used largely in the realm of immersive theatre, a form of theatre that removes the stage and fully immerses audience members in the action of the play. In this style of theatre, audience members can interact with their environment and with the actors themselves. This lends itself very well to virtual reality.
There are also ways VR can be a welcome addition to the theatre classroom, and be used as an educational tool. Grade 8 and 9 students are being introduced to the software Mindshow this week, a program that allows you to pick environments, characters and props and create your own scenes. Grade 8 students will be using this software to complete an improv task, while grade 9 students will be creating short melodrama skits. The scenes they create can then be exported and shared with the class. Grade 9 students will also have the option to complete their summative melodrama task using Mindshow. This is a fantastic addition to the unit, as it allows students to explore theatre in a new context and use a different skill set to express their creativity!
Long term goals for VR and theatre at CISB include integrating VR into an immersive StageCats performance (immersive theatre has been in our sights for a while!), and hopefully designing masks for our Grade 7 interdisciplinary unit Behind the Mask using Tilt Brush. The possibilities are endless. When it comes to uniting VR and theatre at CISB, we are committed to making it a reality!