The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at
The latest content and news from the Barbican. Book tickets at

Making The Tempest

The Royal Shakespeare Company recognised that the 400th anniversary year of the playwright’s death should be marked with something extraordinary, bringing his work to a new generation.

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran introduces the origins of the production, ‘It’s taken the best part of two years for us to develop this technology with Intel and create an avatar, to make Ariel fly, to create a sense of the island being a place where magic was possible.’

‘You get to see two fully fledged performances’, explains RSC actor Mark Quartley, ‘one of which is an actor and another is the apparition, which can fly around the space.’

Helping to power the technology behind the production are The Imaginarium Studios, co-founded by Andy Serkis. ‘We are creating for the first time onstage real-time, live facial-performance capture, and that is quite an extraordinary leap forward’, Serkis explains, ‘The actor both becomes the marionette and the puppeteer at the same time. And you can see their physicality, driving one-to-one this digital character.’

In a unique partnership with Intel, the production will be using today’s most advanced technology, creating an unforgettable theatrical experience. ‘The technology that Intel deployed here for The Tempest is big’, says Director of Research Tawny Schlieski, ‘Take real-time information from a motion-capture suit, map that onto a complex digital avatar, and then project that digital avatar out through 27 projectors.’

Watch more videos exploring the making of The Tempest

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest is performed from 30 June–18 August

Presented by the Barbican. In collaboration with Intel and in association with Imaginarium Studios

Photo: Topher McGrillis