Theatre play with actors in two locations

Together with partners of the Vconect project, researchers at CWI demonstrated how group video communications can be used to enable a theatre play performed between two different locations, and experienced live by a remote audience over super-fast broadband.

Together with partners of the Vconect project, researchers at CWI demonstrated how group video communications can be used to enable a theatre play performed between two different locations, and experienced live by a remote audience over super-fast broadband.

Last November in Vilnius, researchers from CWI provided a glimpse into the future of group communication by showing a fragment of “Waiting for Godot”, from Samuel Beckett, played by the theatre company Miracle. The performance was distributed, with one stage – Estragon - in Falmouth (UK) and the other one – Vladimir – in Vilnius (Lithuania) at the ICT2013 event. The actors could remotely interact with each other using a number of software modules developed during the Vconect project. Moreover, through so-called “home clients”, the theatre play could be watched remotely from anywhere in the world. This performance showcased a number of research challenges, including networking (bandwidth optimization, synchronization) and user experience (Quality of Experience, engagement).

The live performance demonstrated how a multi-camera video-communication system, able to adapt to communication contexts, can be used for conveying theatrical performances to remote audiences in cinema halls or living rooms. This solution goes beyond theatre, and can be used for remote education, training or social communication between groups of people.

This research is part of the EU-funded Vconect project. The vision of this project is the adoption of high-quality video as a medium for mass communication within communities. The project members (British Telecom, Portugal Telecom, Alcatel-Lucent, Eurescom, Goldsmiths’ College, Fraunhofer, Joanneum Research, and Falmouth University) are building a video communication platform that can take intelligent decisions to mediate audiovisual communication between group members. The Distributed and Interactive Systems group at CWI, which participates in Vconect, investigates next-generation shared experiences through multimedia.