The cast of The Tempest take their final bow at the Barbican on Friday as our groundbreaking show using advanced motion capture technology finishes its London run.

In a unique collaboration with Intel, and in association with The Imaginarium Studios, we used today’s most advanced technology to create the very first live motion capture performance in a major classical stage show.

Dancing Ariel and other sprites with the giant avatar in glowing azure blue above their heads
Ariel's avatar in The Tempest at the Barbican
Photo by Topher McGrillis © RSC Browse and license our images

By using their expertise in live theatre skills, performance capture and technological capabilities, all three partners worked together to develop and design a digital avatar who embodies the character of Ariel, played by actor Mark Quartley. They brought the avatar into the world of Shakespeare’s play to work seamlessly in real time, interacting with live actors and bringing a unique magic to the production.

The Tempest opened in November 2016 in Stratford and transferred to the Barbican in July this year, directed by Gregory Doran and with Simon Russell Beale playing Prospero. The show won two awards at this year’s Cannes Lions – a silver lion for Technological Achievement in Digital Craft and a bronze lion for Innovative Use of Technology.