Saving the fire-givers

October 9, 2017 | By | Reply More

Dragon adventure plays out at Drummohr

A rare Red Dragon has descended on East Lothian, just in time for the half term break, and the Dragon Protection League needs help to look after this protected beast and ensure it doesn’t do any more damage…

Dragons of Drummohr is the latest theatre production-come-immersive gaming experience from Vision Mechanics. It sees the Edinburgh-based company combine online augmented reality, through a smartphone app, and its trademark work with real-world, super-sized puppetry.

A Dragon of Drummohr. Pic Vision Mechanics

The company has a history of creating impressive, other worldly performances. It first came to popular recognition in 2009 with the 8 metre giant Pictish puppet Big Man Walking. In 2013 its Dark Matter was at the Fringe, and in 2014 Scottish woodland-set Embrace, fused aerial artistry, dance, shadow, sound and light in the Botanics.



Now, company artistic director Symon Macintyre is charged with the massive task of bringing dragons to the its new space at Drummohr House and grounds. He told Æ that it’s been a “rollercoaster of hard work and fun”, from designing huge dragon sculptures to creating a virtual reality app.

Speaking of the new production, Macintyre said: “Dragons of Drummohr isn’t just a lit-up forest, it’s a unique augmented reality experience. Huge-scale puppets move through the trees, with sculptures and installations perched on branches.

“There are puzzles to solve and clues to follow throughout the abandoned mansion and grounds. Magic is all around, with mystical creatures and monsters guiding your way.”

proper narrative

The key to the event is that there is a proper narrative to follow. It is not another of those events which send you running around solving random clues, fighting mythical beasts and jumping through hoops which are there simply because the games maker liked them.

Strange plants – or dragon eggs? Pic: Vision Mechanics

“Like the rhino in our world, dragons are nearing extinction, due to illegal poachers,” Macintyre explains. “The Dragon Protection League need your help to protect them. The Laird of Drummohr House also needs your help to find out exactly how many magical creatures live in his grounds.”

This is the third time the company has created a dragon narrative-driven production. First there was DragonQuest at Monikie Country Park in 2015, which took the more traditional elements of woodland sound and light shows and augmented them with “layers of mystery and magic”. The technology got one step better the following year with Dragon Matrix in the same venue.

Now the company has got a new home in Drummohr House, converting the former stables as The Big Shed, a new workshop with studios it rents out and large rehearsal space. And which also gives it access to 25 acres of woods and grounds to play in.

The app which Vision Mechanics has been developing is called DragonMatrix – available free on Google Playstore and the Appstore. It is a location-based augmented reality app, interacting with the environment around the user through their phone’s camera and screen and using the phone’s GPS for real-world location.

augmented reality

Around the woods there will be Matrix Markers, which you can scan through your phone. These markers use augmented reality to bring magical creatures onto the screen, overlaid on top of what can be seen in front of you.

Enter the Dragon’s Layer… Pic: Vision Mechanics

Macintyre added: “Vision Mechanics works hard to integrate technology into a narrative structure. From Big Man Walking to Drift, [the company’s CATS-nominated 2016 show] we use tech to drive the story, while interacting with natural environment. This combination enriches both experiences.

“In Dragons of Drummohr, the characters in the DragonMatrix app lead the audience through the grounds, giving them clues and hints about where to go.”

The show has been created to work as a family show with “cross generational appeal” as Macintyre calls it.

“It’s a little scary, it’s fun and it’s active. As the nights get dark and the kids are on holiday, bring the whole family” he says.

“The new space is giving us the freedom to finally create epic events. We are really excited about Dragons of Drummohr. It is a seamless integration of technology and large scale installations, hovering between the virtual and real worlds. It is the perfect experience for anyone who loved suspending belief!”

Listings and details

Dragons of Drummohr
Meet Prestongrange Museum Visitor Centre, Morrisons Haven, Prestonpans, EH32 9RX
Tuesday 10 – Sunday 28 October.
Evenings (not Mondays), Showings start at 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm & 8.30pm.
Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3047697

Event website: http://dragonmatrix.org.uk.
Facebook: /VMDragonMatrix.
Vision Mechanics website: http://visionmechanics.org/.

Download the #DragonMatrix app:
Via Apple App Story: /id1130794509;
Via Google Play: id=com.visionmechanics.arapp2;
Via Amazon Apps: B01LQBJB3I.

Advice for those attending the production.

  • Download the #dragonmatrix app (linked above) to your phone or tablet in advance of the show.
  • Broadband at the venue may have variable reception so it could take a while to download the app there.
  • Once the #dragonmatrix app is on your phone/tablet, you won’t need broadband at the venue.
  • Don’t forget to charge your tablet or phone fully before you come along!
  • Meet at Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum Visitor Centre car park 30 minutes before your performance is due to start.
  • Parking there is free. The Dragon Bus shuttle will take you to the venue.
  • If going by public transport, take the LRT number 26 bus to Morrisons Haven (Timetable link)
  • Anyone with particular access requirements which means they cannot use the shuttle bus should contact Vision Mechanics directly on 0131 554 8923 or email anne@visionmechanics.org.

ENDS

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