Lab360 (2016) | TomTech


The rise of immersive technologies has the potential to revolutionise the way in which we experience culture & engage in stories.
Virtual reality offers audiences a world in which they take centre stage … but how do you tell stories effectively when the audience has more agency?

#TOMtech, working with Driftwood360, challenged storytellers to reinvent narrative structures in order to fully utilise these new platforms.

Lab360 was designed to explore some of the ethics and aesthetics of the medium and begin to suggest some narrative, dramatic and cinematic devices, tricks and techniques that might help us build a new dramaturgical framework for collectively experienced ‘live’ 360 cinema: A Manifesto for 360.




A one-day co-creation lab working with a select group of artists to:

  • Explore the technology together (VR headsets & 360 Camera rigs)

  • Identify the limits and opportunities of presenting work online

  • Consider the audience experience – their interactivity, values and experiences from a theatre, film and gaming perspective

Working with a group of improvising performers, ‘hack’ story formats – what works in this world?   Who are the protagonists?  How do they feel in the context?  What does the ‘live’ experience bring?

Lab360 brought together leading artists and directors used to bashing down the 4th wall to try and provide some answers:

Toby Park (Artistic Director, Spymonkey)
Claire Raftery (Artistic Director, Periplum)
Charlotte Vincent (Artistic Director, Vincent Dance Theatre)
Jack Lowe (Artistic Director, curious directive)
Damien Goodwin (Freelance Director for TV, games, theatre & film)
Nick Driftwood (Film Director & Technologist)
Donna Close (Creative Producer & Event Maker)
James Turnbull (Creative Producer & Development Manager, The Old Market)


Does 360 give us as storytellers a revolutionary new platform to engage with audiences and ideas in a dynamic and immersive way so that the digital becomes live? Or is it just hype?

“By working with the creative talents of writers, directors and actors within the NT’s network, we can identify exactly how Virtual Reality and 360 film could be part of the way we tell stories for the stage and beyond.  The immersive nature of this technology is incredibly powerful and the NT is acutely aware of the importance of this as an advanced form of storytelling, and excited to see where our experimentation might take us.”

TOBY COFFEY, Head of Digital Development / Immersive Story Studio, National Theatre

“I do think that we are moving into a dangerous medium called virtual reality, the only reason I do say that it is dangerous is because it gives the viewer a lot of latitude not to take direction from the story tellers but make their own choices of where to look, so when virtual reality – which is going to take hold in a profound way – I just hope it doesn’t forget the story when it starts enveloping us in our own world that we can see all around us and make our own choices of what to look at.”


“This is much more than the latest gizmo or fad, but rather the genesis of a fundamentally new technology platform — one that will change how we communicate, connect, and tell stories.”

CHRIS MILK, VR Film Director, WITH.IN / Here Be Dragons