This project explores international co-operation in acting in a foreign language (a particular expertise of the University of Tampere) within a system that promotes a more environmentally sustainable model, eliminating (or at least diminishing) the need to move large groups of student actors across the globe for rehearsals, workshops and even performances. Taking the text of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus as a basis for study, students from both institutions worked on a small section of the script (3:3) in both Finnish and English. A ‘virtual space’ was created in both locations through the re-purposing of videoconferencing technology and the use of large rear projection screens, high speed internet connections and unidirectional, hypercardioid microphones.
Moreover, a unified spatial design and a careful use of lighting gave the actors the illusion that they were occupying the same physical space. Skype and Adobe Connect were used for self-directed student rehearsal and were also used to provide a series of seminars contextualising Renaissance theatre, Finnish theatre culture and the theories underpinning acting in a foreign language. The scene chosen also allowed the opportunity to investigate the concept of the citizen in the ‘mobile’ age and their ability to engage in meaningful political dialogue through computer-mediated exchanges.
The next part of the project will involve the analysis of the successes/problems discovered in developing this project, exploring the possibilities of developing new courses/methodologies of teaching and the sharing and dissemination of research.
Coriolanus Online won the Coventry University Excellence Award 2016 in the category of best Internationalisation of the Curriculum Initiative.
Visit http://telepresenceintheatre.coventry.domains/ to find out more details of the planning, execution and student engagement in this project and watch the Coriolanus Online Documentary.