The National Theatre announces Accenture as ‘Partner for Innovation’ and Supporter of the NT Immersive Storytelling Studio

The National Theatre is delighted to announce Accenture as their ‘Partner for Innovation’ and supporter of the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio.

The studio examines how Virtual Reality (VR), 360° film, augmented reality and other emerging technologies can widen and enhance the NT’s remit to be a pioneer of dramatic storytelling and to enable an audience to stand in the shoes of another.


Rachel Barton, Managing Director, Customer and Digital Strategy, Accenture Strategy said: We’re delighted to be the National Theatre’s ‘Partner for Innovation’ and to help it deliver its thrilling strategic vision. Our role as a digital innovator is to help NT create immersive experiences in the arts, as part of a strategy to engage with new audiences.

The partnership between Accenture and the National Theatre demonstrates a shared commitment to digital innovation and dynamic storytelling, which can push boundaries across industries and the arts.

George Marcotte, Accenture Digital UK & I Go To Market Lead, said: As the NT’s ‘Partner for Innovation’, we’ll collaborate around using the latest digital technology and techniques to create new dynamic storytelling opportunities and ideas. Digital innovation is the driving force behind new experiences and the outcomes for NT audiences could be applied in businesses to transform their customer relationships.

In autumn 2016, the Immersive Storytelling Studio collaborated with National Film Board of Canada (NFB) on a Research and Development Lab to explore the relationship between theatre, VR and creative non-fiction. One of the projects created in the lab, Draw Me Close by Jordan Tannahill, will receive its world premiere at Storyscapes as part of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

Draw Me Close is a vivid memoir about Tannahill’s relationship with his mother in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. Draw Me Close imagines the last moment shared between a son and his mother before her death, as she squeezes his hand, and the deluge of narratives, questions and revelations contained within that final gesture.

This deceptively simple and human approach to immersive technology allows the audience member to experience life as five-year-old Jordan inside a live, illustrated world. Jordan’s mother is played by an actress whose movements are translated into the virtual world using motion capture while she engages with you in the physical world. Both actor and audience member experience an early childhood memory as they bring it to life.

Draw Me Close is a co-production between the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada, in collaboration with All Seeing Eye, with illustrations by Teva Harrison. It is experienced using a unique motion capture system, Orion, that uses HTC Vive and is currently being developed by IKinema.

Draw Me Close collapses the worlds of live performance and animation to create an unforgettable encounter between a mother and her son. This is the story of their past and what is to be their future.

Storyscapes was conceived by Tribeca Film Festival to recognise and reward excellence in new forms of storytelling.

Draw Me Close at Tribeca Film Festival

Public opening: 20 – 29 April, 12noon – 10pm

Spring Studios, 5th floor.

Main entrance to building: 50 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013

The National Theatre’s previously announced partnership with the Barbican Centre and The Trampery on alt.barbican, a major new accelerator programme for innovative artists working at the intersection of arts, technology and entrepreneurship. Delivered in partnership with MUTEK and the British Council, this six-month programme provides opportunities and support for up to five artists whose practice falls outside traditional art form areas.

alt.barbican will provide a range of showcase, mentoring and training opportunities within an environment in which research and discussion about this emergent field can take place and be shared. More information here.

The NT’s Immersive Storytelling Studio will continue to produce backstage, rehearsal room and on stage 360 film content, giving audiences a unique perspective ‘behind the scenes’ at the National Theatre. A 360° behind-the-scenes look at Sally Cookson’s Peter Pan, staged at the NT in winter 2016, is available to watch online, with commentary from the show’s Aerial Director, Gwen Hales. The Immersive Storytelling Studio will also explore the potential for 360° filming techniques to capture the essence of existing NT productions.

Throughout 2017, the Immersive Storytelling Studio will continue to work on research and development in the immersive medium, as part of the NT’s New Work Department’s commitment to experimentation and innovation.