contemporary theatre and digital technology: SANT’ANNA school PERCRO lab., in partnership with The Tuscany Theatre Foundation, the Florence Theatre Academy, offers training for a new generation of performing arts technicians in scenery synthesis

The Tuscany Theatre Foundation (Fondazione Teatro della Toscana), the Florence Theatre Academy (Accademia Teatrale di Firenze) and the TeCIP Institute PERCRO Lab (Perceptual Robotics, Communications and Information Technology) at Sant’Anna School have partnered in the TESS project that aims to train a new generation of performing arts technicians in scenery synthesis.

These modern performing arts technicians in scenery synthesis are not traditional technicians working in theatres. This area is a major frontier in adopting new digital technologies, systems, and applications for scenery synthesis. Digital technology-enabled synthesis in computerized scenery systems will allow spectators to connect and interact in real-time, as well as connect multiple spaces around the globe, allowing a shared experience across distances. Microelectronics enabling mobile and wearable technologies, combined with wireless communication will result in fully digital theatre technology equipment for personalized experiences controlled by a technician.

TESS is a cross-disciplinary project in which students are focused on the integration of the arts and humanities with sciences, smart digital technology, virtual reality and augmented reality. They will become highly skilled technicians with experience in digital and virtual storytelling, advanced multimedia engineering, robotics, gamification and serious games under the supervision of Sant’Anna School professor of applied mechanics and robotics Massimo Bergamasco, and Pietro Bartolini, director of the Florence Theatre Academy.

TESS is a Tuscany Region-funded project under the program Fondo Sociale Europeo 2014/2020 and the ROSAM (“Regione Toscana, Operatori Culturali e Sant’Anna: percorsi di sviluppo nella ricerca applicata e nelle politiche in AMbito culturale”) initiative.

The digital technologies impacting the field of theatre enabled new experiences. Modern theatre is an essential field of expertise in the development of mixed reality technologies students can learn from academics and artists in the context of theatre and performance. Through multiple disciplinary and artistic perspectives, the course will provide an interdisciplinary approach to design mixed reality immersive systems supported by sensory outputs devices, audio, and haptic devices.

The TESS project enables reproducibility of results in several scenarios where performing arts share the same qualities of drama: design and organization, human experience, psychological processes, visual scanning, auditory discriminations, motor responses and perceptual patterns of learning. TESS presents the opportunity for technicians in scenery synthesis to reach individuals beyond traditional theatres such as work/smart factory/ advanced human-machine interfaces or learning environments for surgical robotics in the live screening of simulations that affect cognitive organization and social organization.