Oldham Coliseum welcomes audiences back with innovative virtual reality performances

OLDHAM Coliseum Theatre invites audiences back into the historic building for a brand-new Covid safe experience: a 360° live-action and animated virtual reality show.

PETRICHOR, by Manchester’s ThickSkin, will be presented socially distanced in the Coliseum’s 550-seat main auditorium, with a maximum of 20 people per performance, all sat separately and arriving no more than 15 minutes before their performance start time.

The production, on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21, will be viewed on VR headsets which will be made medical-grade safe before each use.

This will be one of the first opportunities for audiences to re-enter the Coliseum and enjoy the collective experience of attending the theatre in a Covid-safe way since the theatre’s closure on 16 March.

Chris Lawson, Coliseum Artistic Director, said: “In the past six months we’ve been simultaneously working to plan how and when we can welcome audiences back into the Coliseum safely and producing and sharing work in new ways online.

“These in-theatre performances of PETRICHOR bridge the two perfectly, welcoming our audiences back safely for a new digital experience.

“We held our first Virtual Reality experience at the Coliseum in 2019 as part of our annual Cultivate Festival and it proved very popular.

“Our intimate auditorium always gives audiences the feeling of being close to the action but with a VR headset every seat is a front row seat.”

PETRICHOR combines movement, sound, pace and tension to create a truly immersive, edge-of-your-seat experience.

It is a story set in a parallel universe, exploring escape and connection; featuring two performers, an original soundtrack and projected animation, mixing the language of theatre, gaming, cinema and virtual reality.

PETRICHOR is a dystopian reality where every moment is muted, managed and monochrome. Nothing bad ever happens. Nothing good does either. Excitement and happiness have been traded for a world without pain and suffering.

A chance meeting brings two unlikely individuals together and offers a small glimpse of what life could be. Their newfound connection sends ripples through this ordered world. They begin to question every decision, every step and every thought they’ve ever had. Could there be something more than this?

PETRICHOR is created by ThickSkin’s Associate Artistic Director Jonnie Riordan, with co-director Jess Williams and animator Ben Walden. It is part of ThickSkin’s new series of MATCHBOX productions which aims to engage a range of audiences with theatre, including young people and non-traditional audiences.

ThickSkin’s Artistic Director Neil Bettles said: “Our MATCHBOX productions are the ideal opportunity for us to experiment and find new ways of creating.

“I want ThickSkin to be innovative in the way we connect with audiences, and creating a piece that can be accessed in lots of different ways feels like an exciting response to these uncertain times.”

PETRICHOR performances (30 minutes each):

  • Friday, November 20: 5.15pm; 6.15pm; 7.15pm
  • Saturday, November 21: 2pm; 3pm; 4pm; 6.15pm; 7.15pm; 8.15pm

Recommended for ages 13+ and above. Please note that PETRICHOR includes flashing images.

Tickets are available from £6. Go online for more details: www.coliseum.org.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *