Out of the Ordinary © Patrick Redmond i
Out of the Ordinary harnesses the creativity and life experience of diverse Irish communities that currently have little or no connection to opera. It uses cutting edge technology as a tool to distil and present their stories. It results in the world’s first ever VR community opera.
Out of the Ordinary is a new VR community opera from Irish National Opera, involving three disparate communities across Ireland. Islanders living on Inis Meáin, a remote island off the West Coast of Ireland with a population of about 200 people, communities living in Tallaght, a socially and ethnically diverse suburb of Dublin city and secondary school students living in rural Ireland, away from major cultural centres. We will work with these communities to explore various vocations involved in opera creation, inviting participants to take part in a series of workshops, both digitally and in the real world, that places them at the heart of the creation process. The outputs from these workshops will form the basis of a Virtual Reality Community Opera, composed by Finola Merivale, directed by experienced VR and theatre director Jo Mangan, and produced by Virtual Reality Ireland and Irish National Opera, which will be developed in response to the co-creation activities with our community participants. We will present the opera in a performance incorporating live and virtual elements in each of the communities in summer 2022. The opera will also exist as a stand-alone VR headset experience which will tour to arts festivals across Ireland and internationally from Summer 2022.
Digital innovation is at the heart of the work of Out of the Ordinary, the very title itself reflecting the newness of the methods and techniques being used to create in this way.
The opera we create will be the world’s first virtual reality community opera using the novel headset experience to share opera and community art in a way that few have done before. We believe that this approach will allow us to reach and engage new audiences and new opera makers, tempting those who will be curious about the newness of the experience and the technology as well as those who will be attracted by the opera itself.
Out of the Ordinary is aligned to the wider research and innovation project, TRACTION, which is investigating new ideas of co-creation and participatory art to involve communities in the creative process of opera. The project will test new technologies designed to empower participants in the creative process, explore new audio visual formats and provoke an impact on the relationship between opera and digital technology. The use of emerging technologies will allow us to engage communities in new ways, expanding the range of people who can interact with opera and help us in our mission to foster societal engagement with opera in as many ways as possible.
The Out of the Ordinary creative team brings together some of the foremost artists working with virtual reality technologies in Ireland today. Irish director, Jo Mangan is a leading expert in creative storytelling with experience in site specific theatre and VR performance art. Irish composer Finola Merivale, has been chosen to compose the opera because of her experience in electro-acoustic music and her specific interest in VR as a new medium for operatic expression. Creative production studio Algorithm will complete the creative team with their unique approach to incorporating cutting-edge technology in the creation of stunning visual experiences.
We are partnering with Virtual Reality Ireland and VR producer Camille Donegan who bring their vast experience of VR as a creative medium and their passion for the possibilities this technology holds for artistic expression to bear on the project.
This project is part of an EU Horizon 2020 project called TRACTION which is investigating new ideas of co-creation and participatory art to involve communities in the creative process of opera. Our TRACTION partners will assist the creation of the opera and the work we do with communities through the development of methodologies and technologies as part of the wider project. We will work with three community partners to develop relationships in our chosen communities, Music Generation, Civic Theatre in Tallaght and Conradh na Gaeilge on Inis Meáin.
Virtual Reality Ireland