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Royal Shakespeare Company, Intel and The Imaginarium Studios join forces to bring new magic to 21st century theatre

Today the Royal Shakespeare Company announced a new production of William Shakespeare’s late play The Tempest, produced in collaboration with Intel and in association with leading performance capture company, The Imaginarium Studios. The companies will combine their passion for storytelling and innovation to create a truly revolutionary production as part of the RSC’s winter season 2016.

Directed by RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, with RSC Associate Artist, Simon Russell Beale, as Prospero, and designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, this partnership will see the RSC’s skills at theatre-making come together with Intel’s digital innovation and the expertise of The Imaginarium in pushing technical boundaries to create a truly innovative production for a new generation to mark Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary.

For the very first time, performance capture technology will be used to render an animated character - Ariel the sprite - live on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage. 

The technology works by capturing an actor’s facial expressions as well as their movements, which ensures that an actor’s full performance is translated into the animated character.  It has most famously been used in films and gaming, but together the RSC, Intel and The Imaginarium have undertaken more than a year of research to bring digital avatars to life on stage in real-time, interacting with live actors.

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: “I was inspired by the masques of the 1600s and started to think about the kind of theatre Shakespeare might have wanted to create if he were alive today.  Thanks to the extraordinary innovation and imagination of the teams at the RSC, Intel and The Imaginarium, we are working to create a truly unique theatre experience, which marries our distinctive theatre skills with cutting edge technology, to give our audiences something out of the ordinary to mark the conclusion of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year and bring his work to a whole new generation.”

Penny Baldwin, ‎VP, General Manager of Global Brand Management & Reputation at Intel Corporation, commented:  “At Intel we are excited to be using our technology to add an extra dimension to such a rich cultural tradition as the theatre. We have an opportunity to break new ground and thrill our audiences by bringing together the best of live theatre with cutting-edge technology to deliver an amazing experience. 

“Since its first performance in 1610, Shakespeare’s late, great play, The Tempest, has been a vehicle for delivering the greatest spectacle that live theatre could create.  Shipwrecks, storms, fantastical creatures and magical masques have challenged the most ambitious companies to deliver their most ground-breaking stagecraft.  

“Today, in Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year, we are working together with the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Imaginarium to produce a first-of-its kind live digital performance of The Tempest.

“Together we are creating a human-digital interaction that feels “alive”, immersing the audience in a live environment, with a theatre company which has always been at the forefront of radical experiment.

We are creating a new toolbox that will empower actors, directors and designers to bring their imagination to life for new audiences like never before.”

Andy Serkis, co-founder of The Imaginarium said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re working with Greg and the RSC. We share the same values of performance, text and story being the heart of what we do. This production of the Tempest will be unlike anything ever done in theatre before."

Alongside the production, the RSC will be running a series of debates, exploring the development of the technology used in the show and its possible future applications. 

The RSC will also be inviting artists to tender for two opportunities to create work inspired by the show for new audiences – one will be an online project and one will be for the RSC’s iconic theatre tower in Stratford-upon-Avon.  The tender opportunity will be announced on 31 Jan and will run until the end of March.   



For more information about the production and the RSC contact: 07887 837900

For more information about Intel contact Orietta Sutherberry

For more information about The Imaginarium Studios please contact: Amanda Hearn, Account Director, freuds – - 07540 745 492



Production details and booking information

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

In collaboration with Intel and in association with The Imaginarium Studios

Directed by Gregory Doran

In a straight run of performances from 8 November 2016 – 21 January 2017

Press night: Thursday 17 November, 7pm

On a distant island a man waits. Robbed of his position, power and wealth his enemies have left him to live out his days in isolation. But this is no ordinary man, and this no ordinary island. Prospero is a magician, able to control the very elements and bend nature to his will. When a sail appears on the horizon, he reaches out across the ocean to the ship that contains the men who wronged him. Creating a vast magical storm, he wrecks the ship and washes his enemies up on the shore. When they wake they find themselves lost on a fantastical island where nothing is as it seems.

Priority Plus Members                                                from  Thursday 28 January 2016

Full RSC Members online and telephone                   from Monday 1 February 2016

Associate RSC Members online and telephone         from Monday 15 February 2016


Box office:  01789 403493




Notes to editors:

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers. 


Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage.  All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town. 


We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.  Registered charity no. 212481


About Intel


Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) makes the most amazing experiences of the future possible. Intel's innovations expand the reach and power of computing in personal devices and enterprise servers, the Cloud, make the Internet of Things smart and connected, and help ensure the security of our digital lives. The work of the company’s more than 100,000 employees transforms businesses, propels new discoveries and improves human experiences.  More information about Intel is at or     


Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries. 


About The Imaginarium

The Imaginarium Studios is one of Britain’s leading production companies and performance capture studios. 

Using techniques and technologies from the world of performance capture, The Imaginarium production portfolio spans film, television, video games and digital applications. 

Founded in 2011 by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, and based in London’s Ealing Studios, the company both develops and produces its own films, television projects and interactive material as well supplying their facilities and services on a consultancy basis. 

Fungus The Bogeyman is The Imaginarium’s first production for television. Previous film credits include Dawn of the Planet of The Apes and Rise of the Planet of Apes, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens. 

The Imaginarium also recently helped to create the music video for Coldplay's The Adventure of A Lifetime.

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