In 2014 MSL Digital was commissioned to create Transformations, a prototype app which demonstrated the understage workings of the ‘hidden’ Victorian Theatre within the famous Alexandra Palace in London. In collaboration with Hastings-based Zeroh Design Limited, the Friends of Alexandra Palace Theatre, Emeritus Professor David Mayer of Manchester University, and theatre consultant David Willmore, the app used a mix of filmed action and augmented reality, demonstrating the use of traps, mirrors and flying effects. This lost theatre tradition is exemplified in an old French theatre textbook, Trucs et Décors which shows, by way of quaint illustrations, how these extraordinary stage illusions were accomplished.

Following on from this, in 2016, MSL Digital began the second stage of the project using virtual reality. With Howard Griffin of Photogriffin and Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, we replicated some of Trucs et Decors’ stage illusions and then replayed them in real life through digital projection, in an authentic illusionist theatre setting at Alexandra Palace.

About the Palace:
In March 2015 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £18.6m of funding towards the East Wing restoration project of the Palace, which focusses on restoring the palace’s most significant historic spaces to their former glory. The eastern end of the palace, comprising the BBC Studios and the Victorian theatre, were repaired and refurbished. You can find out more about the renovations on the Alexandra Palace website.


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