2022: Future-proofing Theatre

In 2022 CFT celebrated its 60th birthday with an ambitious initiative: Digital Stages - five digital events exploring CFT's rich history and platforming its future! The events ranged from a cutting-edge recreation of the original 1962 stage, to a brand-new virtual game created by our community companies for adults with learning disabilities. In October, the project won the 2022 UK Theatre Award for Digital Innovation. Julia Walter, CFT's Creative Digital Producer, said: “We were so excited to harness the creative opportunities digital gave us to celebrate CFT’s 60th anniversary. These events enabled us to extend our reach and engagement with existing and new audiences and demonstrate our commitment as an organisation to developing new experiences through digital innovation.”

Explore the five project areas below...

Helena Berry, Heritage & Archive Manager and Julie Walter, Creative Digital Producer with UK Theatre Award for Digital Innovation

Visionary Stages

For the first time in 60 years, audiences travelled back in time to see the Festival Theatre just like it was in 1962. Using cutting-edge technology, we've brought the 1962 stage back to life for a virtual met-up with Artistic Director Daniel Evans and guests including Sir Derek Jacobi, actor John Simm and Antoni Cimolino, the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival Theatre in Ontario, Canada.

Digital Diorama

An online exhibition full of the riches from CFT's archive collection, looking at sixty milestones which shaped who the theatre is today. Many items were on public display for the first time, including 3D images of the 1962 'Loving Cup' gifted to Artistic Director Laurence Olivier, costumes designs, model boxes and backstage photographs. The exhibition now exists permanently on CFT's website page Our History... in fact you're reading it right now!

Backstage Virtual Tour

An immersive VR backstage tour revealing the inner workings of the Theatre in virtual reality. With a VR headset, you could also view the 360-degree version at home on YouTube. For the first time, theatre-goers could experience unseen areas of the theatre including the lighting decks and the curtain call of a performance!

Game Changer

Starting with nothing but a 3D scan of the theatre, CFT's ‘Wednesday and Friday’ community companies for adults with learning disabilities combined gaming technology with theatrical storytelling and music to create a new virtual theatre experience. The final game was available for friends, family, and theatre supporters to have a go and experience CFT like never before!

Your Dream

We invited members of our community groups to take part in an online performance of an extract from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The clips were edited into a final virtual video of the scene, available to view on YouTube.