The Dreamcatcher launch and exhibition

Photos by Judi Alston (right) and Tom Byron (left)

Pointing the projector at a large empty wall in the Undercroft at Serpentine Green Shopping Centre this unorthodox underground performance space lit up with a myriad of colourful dreams. Bright three-dimensional scenes of moving images and swirling text filled the wall as the dreams of a city were about to be revealed at the launch of The Dreamcatcher. All hands were on deck as the space was dressed in glorious multicoloured dreamcatchers hanging from the ceiling and tech stations set up to entice our audiences into a world of Virtual Reality experiences.

As part of Platform 8 Season 3 and commissioned by Jumped up Theatre, we have been collating the dreams and aspirations of people of all ages from different parts of the City. It has been a privilege gaining such insight into the hopes and dreams of participants. Gathered through creative sessions at the City’s festivals, contributions from schools and by using social media over 450 dreams were collected.

As we waited for our guests to arrive for the launch, myself and co-creator of The Dreamcatcher Andy Campbell were hiding last minute nerves by tweaking the tech. Our first commissioned project in Peterborough, the anxiety of a first night – would Dreamcatcher be liked? Would it be understood? Would anyone turn up?

Photos by Judi Alston (right) and Tom Byron (left)

The space filled up, it was full, nearly 100 people we were told, murmuring’s of anticipation from our guests sounded reassuring. The event was opened by Kate Hall of Jumped Up Theatre. Spinetingling poetry and spoken word was delivered by Keely Mills and Peterborough Poet Laureate Clare Currie, and musical earworm performed by Kid Carpet and Vic Llewelyn previewing tracks from their show. We introduced our work, talked about our creative practice and showcased films from Dreamcatcher inviting the audience to stay in the beautiful space, interact with the installation on the big screen, explore the beautiful hanging dreamcatchers made by artist Rose Croft and of course experience Dreamcatcher in Virtual Reality. My favourite comment from the night was from Kate our Commissioner delightedly saying how good it was there were so many people attending she ‘didn’t know’, new potential future audiences for the arts that Dreamcatcher attracted?

“A great experience for kids and family. A dream world… Wonderful!”

That is what we at One to One Development Trust are about – making innovative quality work with people at its heart. We use technology to tell stories, to engage and to offer a way for people to explore technology, breakdown barriers and become inspired. The next three days in the Undercroft were excellent.

Photos by Tom Byron 

We had a great team of volunteers who embraced the challenge of meeting, greeting and helping people explore the projection and VR environments. We had families, teens, older people, children, groups and individuals. The diversity of people attending our event in this quirky space under the escalator of a shopping centre was magical.

“Unlocking the imagination… Inspiring… An experience that will stay with me.”

People stayed a while – several of them for hours, some people returned to explore further the next day, people came back with friends and family, while some were happy to watch other people navigate the different environments within the Dreamcatcher. For many of our participants it was their first time experiencing VR. Having a go on a headset was for some a reflective and meditative experience, but for the most it was a talking point. Dreamcatcher stimulated discussions, ideas, conversations, friendships and more dreams.

“Absorbing, relaxing, mindful … Loved it!”

As we packed up the kit on the Saturday night we reflected on what a lovely pilot project this has been. I had no voice left, a head full of ideas and a heart full and warmed by the support and interest from the people of Peterborough.

Thank you to the artists and volunteers who have so generously supported The Dreamcatcher. We looking forward to developing ideas, building on partnerships and creating more work in Peterborough soon.

“An amazing use of technology… It’s really exciting to see such a creative project in Peterborough.”

One to One Development Trust are running VR workshops inspired by Dreamcatcher at the Allia Business Innovation Centre on 30th November and 7th December 6-8pm. Booking required.

Please visit the project website for more information about The Dreamcatcher

Written by Judi Alston

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