From Sundance to Sheffield Doc/Fest, VR art has become a mainstay in the global festival circuit. But the chance to see the actual content touring these shows is fleeting at best. Immersive arts group Limina wants to change that.
You may remember Limina itself hosted such a festival in December 2018. Today, though, the group is announcing the UK’s first dedicated VR art venue, Limina: The Virtual Reality Theatre. Located in Bristol’s Harbourside area, the theatre will offer regular VR programming. Art lovers will be able to purchase tickets to shows, head into a room as a group, take a seat and strap on a headset.
Shows will run from Wednesday to Monday nights, with performances also taking place all-day on Saturdays and Sundays.
In its initial offering, the theatre will include 360-degree videos like My Africa, a short documentary narrated by Lupita Nyong’o that puts you in the heart of Kenyan country. The Roger Ross Williams-directed Traveling While Black, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, will also feature. There are even performances from Cirque du Soleil and the chance to explore one of the planet’s most endangered coral reefs.
The theatre’s opening comes at an uncertain time for VR movie making. Earlier this month we reported on the closure of Google Spotlight Stories, a studio that had made some groundbreaking VR movies. At the time we wrote about how the news highlighted the need for a new kind of VR storefront that was dedicated to these types of experiences. Limina’s approach to a permanent physical location is another interesting idea along those lines. It’s like a VR arcade for those that prefer the gallery over the games console.
“The trouble for audiences is that this new medium is very hard to see at home unless you have your own virtual reality headset and know what to look for,” Limina CEO Catherine Allen said in a prepared statement. “Limina bridge this gap by curating selections of amazing VR experiences for people to see together, much like going to the cinema, the theatre or a concert.”
Limina: The Virtual Reality Theatre opens on April 12th with public previews on April 4th. Tickets to the shows cost £12.50 plus a £1.42 booking fee and are suitable for ages 13 and up