On Stage is an installation designed and developed as part of The Play’s the Thing, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s permanent exhibition in Stratford-upon-Avon that reveals behind-the-scenes secrets and stories of nearly 140 years of Shakespeare performances in and around the building.

The installation creates the illusion of a packed house at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, giving the visitor the experience of standing on stage under the lights, playing the role of Hamlet as he speaks with the ghost of his father, played by Ewart James Walters.

I like the Hamlet acting room because it feels like you’re actually on stage.
— Jason, Age 8

Visitors are prompted to step through the curtains and speak their lines through on-screen text, and a life-sized display coupled with intelligent sensing ensures the actor (Ewart James Walters) always looks the visitor in the eye.

VR prototype screencapture

VR prototype screencapture

A key piece to making the illusion work was to line up the video recording of the actor with the “view” you have when standing in the booth. We used virtual reality to mock up different placement options of the actor and camera to define where the audience should be sitting.

Experience Design and Production: Shovels+Whiskey
Film Production: Illuminations
Exhibit Design: kossman.dejong

Royal Shakespeare Company

Experience Strategy
Technical Direction
Software Development
Systems Design

Tools & Technologies
Virtual Reality