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Spring/Summer 2022 Updates: Artificial Outings & mr.coffeehead

Hello! It’s been a hot minute (aka a year) since we’ve updated the blog, it’s definitely overdue! We’re a small but mighty team, hence our few and far between updates. So what have we been up to over the past year?

Artificial Outings

We’ve been working on writing and producing Artificial Outings, our virtual reality podcast tour for almost two years now. Back in Spring/Summer of 2020, with the pandemic in full swing, our core creative team was wondering, “how can we keep making theatre when all theatres are closed for the foreseeable future?” We came up with the idea to take the characters of Barry and Jane from Artisanal Intelligence and bring them into the real world by hosting virtual tours of our city of Vancouver, BC. The show weaves together fictional characters and narratives with real stories and real places. It took us a while to realize exactly how big of a project this was, and we have had to push our expected release dates ahead multiple times. Our plan was a season of 6 episodes. Which is pretty lofty considering each episode is essentially a radio play. They are fully scripted, comedic, and also heavily researched. We also decided we wanted to experiment with technology and create a 360 video accompanying the audio tour. What can we say, we dream big.

In spring of 2021 we launched an Indiegogo campaign to help support the development of the project. We successfully raised a whopping $5,917 (omg thank you!!!) which helped with production costs and paying our artists, keeping us going. We also learned an important lesson about offering campaign perks: they take much, much, much more time than you think they will, so be careful not to go perk crazy! We went perk crazy, and unintentionally diverted time from the project to delivering perks. Ooops! Lessons learned. Thank you so much to everyone who donated to the campaign, we love you!

We were also thrilled to be the recipients of a neighbourhood matching fund, another huge win that means a lot to our passionate, hard working team.

We filmed episode 1 in 2021, and created a proof of concept with 360 video. After receiving some very helpful feedback from our test rovers regarding the format of the video, we decided to re-film. Flash forward a year and we have filmed both episode 1 and 2. Editing is in progress now, and episode 1 should be out very soon! Hold onto your butts, people!

Spec Theatre Society

Another big thing! We officially became a non-profit society in 2020. Say what!? We now have a board! Currently we are working on creating policy, specifically around inclusion. More to come on this!

mr.coffeehead

As if there wasn’t enough already on our plates, Spec Theatre will be hitting the road this summer for another Canadian Fringe tour! What can we say, we’re hungry.

mr.coffeehead is a foot-fuelled, slapstick tragedy about bikepacking, dreaming big and giving up in your 30s.

Stopping at 5 (so far) festivals throughout the summer, we will be premiering a new original work written and performed by Spec’s lead creative ira cooper. Look out for mr.coffeehead in the following cities this summer, Montreal, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Victoria and Vancouver.

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