A virtual collaboration

The Atom Room, a dystopian love story set in a destroyed Wellington 150 years from now, which opened just over a week ago has delighted its first audience with the introduction of a pre-show virtual reality experience, the first of its kind in New Zealand theatre.

In a truly Wellington themed show, The Atom Room has had many people involved throughout the inception. From the cast, director, set-makers and musicians, to virtual reality designers and supporting organisations, there is a strong feeling of collaboration from the wider Wellington art and technology communities.

The artist community in Wellington is incredibly supportive of each other, however there’s only so much funding and support available. So in order to progress your project forward, you need to do things differently to get attention.

“The arts can only go forward with the help of supportive businesses and audiences.”

- Lyndee-Jane Rutherford, Director, The Atom Room

An opportunity to create something new
The concept of this show left an opening for the exploration of introducing technology such as VR. As the Atom Room itself is essentially a virtual reality room for intergalactic communication, bringing this element as part of the overall experience is a true way to stand out and gain national, or even international exposure. By doing something so new and exciting, it wasn’t too difficult to gain interest and support to get this idea off the ground.

Designed and developed by Tony St. George of Polytronik Studios, and supported by Hell Pizza (a huge supporter of the arts in Wellington), the 60-second virtual journey through Wellington 150 years into the future, as interpreted by the playwright, gives the audience a true sense of the world they are about to step into when watching the show.

This prologue is a true sense of collaboration, and many key players have put support into bringing in something so high tech into the foyer of the Circa Theatre. With the support of the technology eco-system, including support from HP and ProjectR, the experience was made possible.

Creating the full experience
Not only has there been various organisations and individuals involved in the creation of the pre-show experience, but the show itself has also been a place for collaboration. As per normal, there are always a lot of people working behind the scenes on things such as set and costume design. But introducing an established band to create and curate tracks for the entire experience is something special.

The electronic music of MINUIT is a great example of a perfect partner for the show. Their style complimented the show perfectly and helped to communicate the dystopian world of post-disaster Wellington. MINUIT contributed existing tracks, as well as creating new tracks especially for the show, and also featured as part of the virtual reality experience.


"An epic love story set within a dystopian nightmare" - stuff.co.nz

"Director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford has successfully melded together a story of our primal need for survival, our innate nature to love and desire to procreate amidst a futurist dilemma of interplanetary habitation." - Broadway World

"The virtual reality prologue runs in the foyer of the Circa Theatre half an hour before each show starts, and it's a must-see." - Broadway World


The Atom Room
Circa Theatre, 9 June - 7 July
Book your tickets here

Brian Steele of GiddyUp is a director of Shoreline Partners, a supporter of The Atom Room.

CommunityBrian Steele