Memory of Theatre was a collaboration between MAYK, University of Bristol Department of Drama, Bristol Old Vic and Pyxis Design.

Directed by Tom Morris (Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic) and Paul Clarke (Lecturer and Director of Uninvited Guests), the project explored the relationship between archives and memories, the way performance events live on through the stories told by audience members and the relationship between heritage buildings, especially theatres, and remembering.

The purest archives for the magic of theatre are the hearts and minds of the audiences who experience it, who dream their dreams through it, and imagine realities beyond the cues and prompts they receive from the stage. Memory of Theatre created a dynamic, interactive archive from the most vivid memories of our audiences, concealing them in the ether of Bristol Old Vic’s auditorium and foyer where, through groundbreaking digital technology, they could be unearthed and overlaid by generations of theatre-goers to come, creating a living archaeology of theatrical history from the audience’s point of view.

The outcome was a working prototype for a commercially viable, user-friendly and sustainable system for indoor positioning, a transferable solution for delivering location-triggered experiences in heritage buildings.

Memory of Theatre was a Heritage Sandbox project funded by the REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy. REACT was a collaboration led by UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England), Watershed and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Photo: Bex Wade