Sermon - Professor of Visual Communication at the university's School of Art – has been awarded just under £240,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation. He will lead an international team exploring possibilities for what he has called the Telepresence Stage, in response to the COVID pandemic's impact on traditional ways of presenting theatre, dance and other performance arts.
The 18-month study will see the University of Brighton join experts at Third Space Network Studios in Washington DC and LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore to combine techniques such as green-screen technology and virtual set design to create live network shows drawing on full-body interactions between remote performers in shared online spaces.
Eight UK arts groups will create live-streamed public performances via residencies in which they will master techniques arising from Sermon's research project, based on standard computer and video resources. The first two ensembles to take part will be groundbreaking Manchester-based youth theatre Contact Young Company and Phoenix Dance Theatre, Britain's leading multicultural dance company. At the end of the project, information will be disseminated for other performers to use via simple PDF guides, step-by-step video tutorials and open-source resources.