In May 2022, Tanja took part in Digital Leap – a residency for dancers and circus artists to explore digitalisation with technology specialists in Vilnius, Lithuania. There she met Agnija Leonova – a theatre director with a passion for sci-fi and Virtual Reality. They began talking about the potential for using VR and dance to explore elements of spirituality and an idea was born.
In August, Tanja and John journeyed to Kaunas, where Gluk Media were presenting their new immersive production The Assembly. As well as taking part in workshops and experiencing The Assembly, they met with Rokas Kišonas – Gluk’s Technical Director, and Valdas Skinderis – Gluk’s Head of Business Development – to discuss potential for this new idea to become a reality.
In the Autumn, the City of Oulu launched an open call for long-term projects that are designed to peak during the European Capital of Culture 2026, providing the impetus for TaikaBox and Gluk Media to begin designing the production and come up with a plan. Over a series of online workshops and meetings with Agnija and Valdas, the team developed a rough sketch for an immersive performance.
At the end of November, with the support of a travel grant from Nordic Culture Point, John and Tanja were able to travel back to Lithuania for an intensive week with Gluk’s experts. Here they spent 6 days in the studio with Agnija and Vaidas Gecevičius – a VR expert who is at the forefront of developing the new technology of Mixed Reality. He’s also the guy who made an app to match rescued dogs with new owners, kind of like a pet Tinder.
Slowly, from this meeting of minds, The Dream Weaver emerged.
The plan is to make an immersive performance where audiences use VR headsets to embark on a spiritual journey. The Dream Weaver is an ancient being who takes them on a voyage of discovery where they learn something about themselves and their relationship with the planet and with each other.
The next step is to find funding to develop the script and get a creative team together to make it happen.