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Welcome To The Virtual Theatricality Lab!

Virtual Theatricality integrates traditional stagecraft with virtual characters, scenery and props for live theatre production. Henry Ford College’s Virtual Theatricality Lab is a dynamic, risk-taking institute that combines artistic and technological disciplines in a pace-setting program that redefines the nature of live theatrical performance. The Virtual Theatricality Lab has established itself as a cutting-edge leader with the development of a revitalizing curriculum that unites the disciplines of computer science, art, music, theatre, dance, film, and video. The VTL is dedicated to forging the live performance technologies of the 21st century and beyond.

In 1994 virtual reality and 3D stereo were utilized as multimedia teaching aids in HFC Theatre Arts classes. After experimenting with processes and techniques for approximately four years, the Virtual Theatricality Lab began production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The Tempest (2003) used 3D stereoscopic projection and real-time VR navigated scenery to give new life and meaning to Shakespeare’s classic and make it accessible to a new generation of theatre-goers. The Tempest was a regional winner in The Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival. The Tempest was featured in many Michigan newspapers and on the Associated Press, including a 4 page feature article in the Detroit Free Press’ Sunday Entertainment Section.

The Skriker (2006) was the first full length theatrical production of a stage play to successfully combine real-time motion capture and 3D stereoscopic projection. The Skriker was featured in many Michigan newspapers and on the Associated Press, including articles in state and national entertainment magazines. Following the VTL's trend-setting lead, several major Michigan Universities attempted theatrical productions using Motion Capture and 3D stereo.

In January, 2009, a Motion Capture Certificate was developed and the first courses were offered to students, spring semester, 2009. During 2009 and 2010, VTL classes filled to capacity and the first Motion Capture Systems Certificate students graduated. As the film industry moved into Michigan, the VTL became a central hub for Motion Capture Animation activities. The VTL formed a relationship with the Screen Actors Guild and offered workshops and training to SAG members and Cadets. Major universities, such as the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor sent its faculty and staff to the VTL for training. Additionally, the VTL began artistic collaborations with other HFCC artistic areas, such as the HFCC Full Circle Dance Company.

After several years of research and development, production on the VTL's next show, Dinosaurus! began in 2013. The show was presented to overwhelming public and critical acclaim in November, 2014. For more information on Dinosaurus! click here.

Questions? Email or call: Dr. George Popovich, Henry Ford College, Dearborn, MI.; 313-845-6478.