Virtual Vaudeville Title

What Is Virtual Vaudeville?

Virtual Vaudeville uses 3D gaming technologies to transport viewers back to the nineteenth century. Watch a rigorously-researched recreations of vaudeville performances, and move through a richly-detailed theater to explore the architecture, stage performers and the reactions of 800 spectators.

Virtual Vaudeville is debuting on June 15, 2004 with a recreation of an 1895 performance by Frank Bush. Other acts currently in development include the strongman Sandow, the singer-commedienne Maggie Cline, and the 30-minute comic sketch "Running for Office" performed by the Four Cohans.

Virtual Vaudeville will be available in two formats:

  1. A cross-platform version (PC, Mac, Linux) that streams over the internet. This version allows viewers to switch at will between any of eight perspectives on the performance, including a close-up view of the performer, views from different parts of the theatre, views of spectators responding to the act, and a view of the performer's own perspective

  2. A downloadable version that runs on high-performance gaming PCs. version. This version is scheduled for release in September. It will provide a fully immersive, interactive experience. It will allow the viewer to move freely through the theatre to view the performance, the theatre and the responses of any of the spectators from any vantage point.

Virtual Vaudeville is supported by the National Science Foundation, and draws together an interdisciplinary team of historians, digital artists, motion capture specialists, programmers, and theatre practitioners from across the United States.

Virtual Vaudeville is a prototype of the "Live Performance Simulation System," a fully generalizable system for simulating live performance events from any historical period. The project models a powerful new tool for teaching performance and cultural history, and for scholarly research and digital publication in the arts and humanities.

Read a more detailed description of Virtual Vaudeville's objectives and design.

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