Angus park to host augmented reality performance

A FOREST park in Angus is to host the UK’s first live ­theatrical performance featuring augmented reality (AR) technology.

A FOREST park in Angus is to host the UK’s first live ­theatrical performance featuring augmented reality (AR) technology.

By downloading an app, ­audiences will be able to spot magical creatures through their smartphones and capture them on camera, before sharing the images with friends and family on social media.

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DragonQuest, which will be performed in Monikie Country Park, allows visitors to wander around a forest using their smartphone to create images of fantastical creatures in addition to real-life characters and events on the set.

The app, which can be downloaded by anyone attending next month’s performances, was created with the help of animation graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, who took 3D models and placed them in a virtual world using computer technology.

The AR technique – used by Google for its Google Glass technology, and BMW, which this year created AR glasses for Mini – utilises the camera on an Apple or Android phone and tablet to make virtual objects appear to be in front of the viewer on the screen. The user can then take pictures of the creatures, which will show up on a camera as if they existed in real life.

The technology will be used to enhance the story-telling event, which will see the woods lit up and inhabited by dragons, trolls, fairies, goblins and other magical creatures.

Symon Macintyre, artistic dir­ector of Vision Mechanics, which created the performance, said: “We were keen to tap into local talent to develop the technology side of things but, even without a smartphone or tablet, audiences will be able to enjoy a whole host of impressive, interactive physical installations and lots of traditional, theatrical creations to see and explore on the night.”

Audience members who do not have a smartphone will still be able to follow the story through illuminations and large sculptures placed around the forest.

Recent Duncan of Jordanstone graduate Saara Väkiparta, the team leader for the animation and 3D models, said: “The idea of a sculptural forest show with technology sounded interesting and I was really excited about the prospect.”

Jim Clarkson, regional partnerships director at VisitScotland, said: “Every year, Angus welcomes visitors from all across the globe but I’m certain this is the first time we’ve played host to so many different mythical creatures.

DragonQuest is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated events of the year, boasting enthralling stories and state-of-the-art technology.”

The show will run from 7 October to 1 November.