Approximately 91% of stage crew found themselves out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an industry significantly impacted by lockdowns and restrictions, theatres are now in the difficult position of urgently needing to recruit, however qualified, experienced ‘junior’ technicians are in scare supply.
The Sandbox Theatres project will address this challenge using VR and AR to facilitate a vocational route into theatre employment for people to work as backstage crew and help them create a CV to launch themselves into a theatre crew career.
From operating a revolving stage, a large lighting rig or safety curtain - all common in large theatres but not in small venues - VR will help enable learners to build their experience. AR will be used to facilitate ‘experiencing issues in situ’ such as stage fires and building stage sets. The courses will be available virtually, ensuring the project is fully accessible.
Sandbox theatres already has interest from theatres, employers and 28 local authorities with an initial 680 learners eager to begin - illustrating the significant potential impact of the project.