Integrating 3D imaging into theatre

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Integrating 3D imaging into theatre

The client

Beck Gadsby, Founder of Inside Theatre and Sheffield-based Theatre Director and Producer, has a passion for experimenting with innovative digital technology for the future of performance.

The challenge

As the director of 5 Years, a new play written by Hayley Davis, Beck sought our 3D imaging and modelling expertise to create an animated model to explore the play's theme of the perfect body, and what people would do to achieve it.

What we did

3D imaging experts from our Sports Engineering Research Group, Dr John Hart and Dr Alice Bullas, scanned and generated digital 3D and miniature physical models of both play's actors. The 3D model of the lead actor was then animated by Games Art Course Lecturer and Character Design Specialist, Jamie Gibson.

Simon Goodwill, Head of the Sports Engineering Research Group said: “The potential translationary applications of our sports engineering are vast from health to, as this project has shown, art. We are delighted we have been able to assist Beck with her intention to integrate technology into theatre.”


Still from the 5 Years theatre performance. It sees two actors looking at the animated body of the leading actor who has wished to have the perfect body.

Images provided by Mark Turner.

The results

The animated 3D and miniature physical models are now integrated into the 5 years play, set to tour around the UK in 2023.

This work has demonstrated the potential, wide, interdisciplinary impact of our imaging technology in Sports Engineering, from the arts and theatre to ergonomics, fashion or design. The research, in combination with our Sheffield Multimodal Imaging Centre and the strategic partnership between Canon Medical and the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre provides the perfect opportunity for body imaging research and consultancy.

They say:

“By using this technology, we were able to demonstrate the concept of the piece - what do we lose in the pursuit of perfection - in a more tangible and visual way. It has been very well received by audiences who have said it is like a third actor on stage.”

Beck Gadsby, Director, 5 years


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