image for fabulous wonder.land selected for Sundance 2016

fabulous wonder.land selected for Sundance 2016

Published on Tuesday, 8th December 2015, contributed by Play Nicely

fabulous wonder.land, a Virtual Reality music video inspired by the new National Theatre musical by Damon Albarn and Moira Buffini, is selected for US premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Virtual Reality music video fabulous wonder.land has been selected for the prestigious New Frontier section at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, which champions storytelling at the crossroads of film, art and new media technologies. fabulous wonder.land is a first of its kind collaboration between the National Theatre, 59 Productions and Play Nicely with Production Partner Mahdi Yahya, Managing Director of Room One.  

fabulous wonder.land is experienced through Oculus Rift and allows you to fall down the rabbit hole and land in wonder.land – a  vibrant world with a unique soundscape. As the full multicolour brilliance of wonder.land is revealed, the Cheshire Cat hovers above, serenading you to fabulous, an original composition by Damon Albarn with lyrics by Moira Buffini.
fabulous wonder.land is inspired by wonder.land, the National Theatre’s new musical created by Damon Albarn, Moira Buffini and Rufus Norris, inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic Alice in Wonderland. It is the first Virtual Reality experience the National has ever offered its audiences.

Toby Coffey, Head of Digital Development at the National Theatre, says: "Immersive storytelling is a really exciting area of development for the National Theatre. Having our first virtual reality piece recognised in this way by such a prestigious organisation as Sundance Film Festival is a great testimony to the skills which the world of theatre can contribute to this emerging discipline."

Oliver Lindsey, Director of Play Nicely says: "For us this project has been an exceptional collaboration between Play Nicely, National Theatre and 59 Productions and for it to be showcased as part of New Frontier at Sundance Film Festival is great testimony to that. Play Nicely's work has always been about using technology, interaction & storytelling to engage with new audiences in interesting and often unexpected ways. To be showcasing this piece of work at the Festival is for us the epitome of that."

Lysander Ashton, co-Creative Director of 59 Productions says: “We are thrilled to be bringing fabulous wonder.land to Sundance Film Festival, and to share it with American audiences at such a world-renowned event. It is particularly exciting to explore the new frontier between theatre, film and virtual reality and to find new ways of using technology to bring stories to life.”

Mahdi Yahya, Managing Director of Room One, says: “I’m delighted to support the National Theatre as a Production Partner for this ground-breaking installation. The National Theatre is well known and respected around the world for its pioneering work in the arts, and fabulous wonder.land is a perfect example of how technology and the theatre can create outstanding work together. The fabulous wonder.land team contains some of the foremost creative VR experts in the world and they show just what can be achieved using cutting-edge technologies. I passionately believe that new technologies like VR need to be opened up so that everyone can experience and engage with immersive pieces of work. Partnering with companies like Room One can help arts organisations introduce VR to new audiences and I know that the exhibition will be a resounding success.” 

UK audiences can experience fabulous wonder.land as part of enter wonder.land, a free digital exhibition at the National Theatre (2 December – 30 April). The exhibition features specially-created immersive experiences inspired by wonder.land, a coming-of-age adventure exploring the blurred boundaries between our online and offline lives. Hosted in the National’s Wolfson Gallery, enter wonder.land sees the world of the stage show spill over into the National’s exhibition space with custom-built set pieces and complements the production through a creative use of technologies: Oculus Rift, Kinect, 3D modelling, Google Cardboard and Augmented Reality face-tracking. 

The NT’s digital development department worked closely with the show’s creative and production teams to create the installation including wonder.land set designer Rae Smith and associate set designer Tom Paris.