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Innovative Drama Performance by a Worcester Lecturer to be Presented Worldwide

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A ground-breaking virtual theatre event, created by a University of Worcester lecturer, has been selected for an international festival and will be shown in 14 countries across the world this week.

Liz Swift, who is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Performance, is the founder of Void, a theatre company specialising in creating events which combine live performance and interactive digital media.

She is among 100 artists from across the world commissioned to create a production for the sixth edition of Upstage Festival of Cyberformance, which allows international groups to perform live from all around the world to a global audience at the same time. Festival organiser Helen Varley Jameson said: “The festival breaks down barriers of time and distance.”

The new performance work, called Babble, is set in a virtual library, featuring actors, singers and musicians who will perform live in front of computers.

Babble is one of Void’s latest productions, which have used classic stories alongside advanced digital technology to explore how ancient practices of storytelling can exploit the possibilities of a digital culture.

Babble draws on a short story by Jorge Luis Borges called The Library of Babel – which is set in a vast library whose books contain every possible combination of words in every real or imagined language – but no catalogue.

Audience members can interact with the performance by logging on as avatars online and following the performance through the library. Alternatively live screenings of the event are taking place in galleries, museums and theatres in cities across the world. The UK audience will be able to watch the performance in the theatre at Exeter University.

The audience of the event will be led on a search through the library by virtual actors and will encounter a series of stories as they go. There are various opportunities for the audience to interact with the work - they can even put on a pair of wings and go flying from the library tower.

The development of the performance has been supported by the University of Worcester, particularly though the work of Karen (Tim) Johnson who has created a University domain in Second Life where the Babble project has been developed.

The performance will take place on December 11th, 12th and 13th. For times and further details contact Liz on e.swift@worc.ac.uk

For information on all courses at University of Worcester visit www.worcester.ac.uk or for application enquiries telephone 01905 855111 or email admissions@worc.ac.uk