Habitats – wowing guests and a week to go | TomTech
Habitats, the debut show of this year’s #TOMtech programme, has already proved one of the most popular #TOMtech events we have put on. We took a gamble this year, turning the whole of The Old Market into a giant VR environment celebrating the natural world throughout the venue.

The whole of the main space has been given over to three of Marshmallow Laser Feast’s extraordinary works. Forest (above) is a giant, hands-on musical laser installation – stunning to look at, entrancing to take part in – with vibrating harmonies that pervade the whole space.

“Treehugger” and “In the Eyes of The Animal”, the two Virtual Reality experiences, are totally wowing our guests, transporting them deep inside a giant sequoia tree or on a magical journey through a woodland eco-system, as seen through the eyes of four British species.
The rest of The Old Market venue is filled with VR stations where visitors can journey deep under the ocean – with Shark and TheBlu (below), in to the heart of the endangered rainforest with Greenpeace or across the planet with Google Earth. For the first week, Sussex Wildlife turned the Waterloo Room into an immersive walk-through, engaging the senses and teaching us more about our stunning countryside.

We’ll be honest – Habitats has been quite a challenge. The event’s unprecedented popularity has meant we’ve had to recruit extra staff to help man all the different VR experiences around the venue. The main space necessarily has very low lighting, so we realized we needed to create a special zone where guests could get accustomed to the dark before being plunged into the gloom! And, of course, tech can be glitchy – so that’s meant keeping an eye out for any headsets or smartphones that suddenly give up the ghost and making sure we replace them quickly.
The response from the public to all the experiences has been fantastic. People have truly loved it and it’s been a joy to hear people’s responses after taking part in “Treehugger” and “In the Eyes of the Animal”.
With a week still to go, Habitats has proved so popular that almost all sessions have now sold out. There are still some morning and early afternoon slots available but you’ll have to be quick to get them!
#FROGMAN starts today, more #TOMtech shows coming up
There are plenty of #TOMtech shows coming up over the coming weeks so don’t worry if you missed #Habitats, you still have plenty of opportunities to experience Virtual Reality and other wondrous geekery.

Starting today (and on until Saturday) is Curious Directive’s Frogman starring Tessa Parr, which The Old Market co-produced. The show attracted rave reviews during its Edinburgh Fringe run and we’re really looking forward to hosting it here at The Old Market. Tickets are selling very fast so don’t delay in booking (less than 10 left for each show).
Cat and Mouseis on September 15. The show combines film, live music and performance and has been animated by the brilliant Paul Barritt of 1927 productions who made last year’s massive hit at The Old Market, “Golem”.

an eerie and stunning interactive VR journey into the unconscious inspired by real-life Sigmund Freud case studies, is on September 19 and 20.

This year’s

vrLab is running September 21 to 24

. This show was a sell-out in 2016 and looks set to be hugely popular again this year. We will be filling the bar and other areas with VR stations and thank @makereal3d for partnering us.

With the first week of #TOMtech already under our belts, we’re looking forward to another busy five weeks at The Old Market. Our innovative programme is designed to bring tech closer to people who might never even have considered donning a VR headset or using their phone to engage with performers – as well as working with theatre makers and technologists to explore ways in which tech can enhance and augment the audience experience. We hope you can join us.