Cinderella Live, the world’s first live-streamed and interactive pantomime, produced by Panto Live, will be using Unreal Engine to create their virtual world this Christmas.
Whilst Unreal Engine has primarily been used for the development of video games, such as Fortnite, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom of Hearts III, over the years it has gradually started to make its way into film and television productions, particularly generating interest amongst broadcasting and live events. By offering real-time computer generated effects and camera tracking capabilities, it enhances the user experience, blurring boundaries between the worlds of gaming, television and, in the case of Cinderella Live, theatre.
Panto Live – the UK-based production company behind this Cinderella Pantomime, will be creating advanced 3D worlds in real-time, substituting the traditional stage scenery one would find in a theatre. “From the very beginning we set out to produce a pantomime that will make use of the best technology available,” says Producer Ben McNeill. “We have seen plenty of live events with static and lifeless backgrounds, making the watching experience less immersive and enjoyable – they are becoming a thing of the past. Cinderella Live will use animated and vibrant settings, recreating the interactivity of traditional pantomimes, whilst, of course, keeping safe this Christmas season.”
Cinderella Live is a pioneering take on the fusion of theatre and broadcast television, as it also brings gaming technologies into the equation. With Unreal Engine 5 launching in 2021, and Fortnite being the primary testbed for its tools, the creation platform is expanding its reach in the gaming world. Unreal Engine’s creator, Epic, is aiming to connect Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and Google devices and enable all users to play together, which will open a variety of new opportunities for non-gaming media utilising Unreal Engine. “This pantomime is only the beginning of virtual and interactive broadcast theatre. At this moment we are recreating the interaction between the stage and the audience, just like in a regular theatre. The next step would be to create a more advanced virtual world, enabling interaction between audiences to really make the experience unique for each individual,” McNeill adds. “The use of Unreal Engine in Cinderella Live means the performance of the visuals and the graphics quality will be heightened and superior to the traditional greenscreen.”
The implementation of real-time virtual sets is just one of the unique features Panto Live is utilising for this theatrical take on the classic Cinderella story. The Cinderella Live production will also allow audiences at home to influence the performance by interacting with the characters through virtual buttons on their screens. “Being the first theatrical venture to use Unreal Engine has been so exciting,” says director Charlotte Peters. “This, coupled with the ability for our viewers to interact with the production by clicking and tapping reactions, which we in the studio can hear and respond to, feels like we are further pushing the technological boundaries to return the joy to 2020.” A select few audience members will also be able to actually participate in the live performance through their webcam, in the true style of Channel 4’s Gogglebox.
Producer Lianne Collinson said, “Cinderella Live is much more than creating an interesting pantomime story and placing a few cameras in front of actors. We are not just trying to tick a box, we are truly merging television, theatre and gaming technologies to bring the best possible experience to both the actors and our audiences.”
More information is available at: www.pantolive.com
Notes to editors:
For press enquiries please contact:
Josie Connor, Panto Live Production Coordinator:
+44 7854 394809
Panto live is a UK-based production company, specialising in live online Pantomime production. As one of the UK’s leading live-streaming companies, Panto Live plays an important role in supporting theatre production during the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing benefit to talent and audiences alike. Panto Live has partnered with the Actors’ Children’s Trust and the Film and TV charity for the production of Cinderella Live, supporting film and TV professionals, as well as the families of actors.
Cinderella Live will be premiering in the UK and available to view Worldwide this Christmas, with 5 shows available to watch between 18th-24th of December. The shows will also be available on demand from 1st-31st Jan 2021. Exclusive screenings are also available to schools for in-classroom viewing of shows on the 16th and 17th of December. For full details on cast, the production and tickets, visit www.pantolive.com.