StoryTrails, the UK’s largest immersive storytelling project has completed its summer tour of the UK, with thousands of people taking part across 15 town and cities, which included a special residency at the British Film Institute (BFI) IMAX in London.
The StoryFutures Academy team also trained and recruited 50 of the next generation of UK creative talent to help develop and deliver StoryTrails. These emerging creatives, a talented and dynamic cohort representative of the UK population, brought together diversity and innovation to chart a new course for the future of storytelling.
Led by StoryFutures Academy, the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling run by Royal Holloway and the National Film and Television School (NFTS), StoryTrails was one of 10 commissions as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a celebration of creativity taking place across the UK in 2022.
The StoryTrails live tour started in Omagh, Northern Ireland, in July, visiting each location for two days in a whistle-stop tour of the UK. It travelled to Dundee and Dumfries in Scotland before visiting Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield, Lincoln and Wolverhampton. In August the project reached Swansea and Newport in Wales before Bristol, Swindon and Slough finishing in London in the boroughs of Lambeth and Lewisham with an additional residency at the BFI IMAX.
StoryTrails featured digital experiences that invited audiences to experience their hometown like they have never seen before through augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and an immersive emotional map of their town or city. The experiences were centred around their local library and on the streets of each town or city. Each location had a bespoke augmented reality story trail specially created and accessed via mobile phone, a bespoke emotional map created by 3D scanning people and buildings that build up a picture of the life and heritage of each location overlaid with interviews of local figures viewed on a cycloramic screen and via iPads and six virtual reality experiences via headsets inside the library.
Following the tour, the StoryTrails experience continues at participating local libraries, with the opportunity for people to explore their hometown’s unique emotional map created with the community or follow the magical augmented reality trail and more.
Visit story-trails.com/locations for more information. The Story-Trails app is available to download for free from Apple and Android stores and includes the AR story trails and experiences from each of the 15 locations. Audiences can complete their local AR trail on the streets of their town or city, view it from the comfort of their home or experience any of the 15 AR trails created for each StoryTrails location.
TV historian, presenter and StoryTrails Executive Producer David Olusoga’s companion film The People’s Piazza, A History of Covent Garden, recently premiered at the London Film Festival in October and will be broadcast on BBC 2 this November.
StoryTrails was delivered in partnership with the BFI, broadcaster and filmmaker, David Olusoga, the BBC, Uplands Television, and leading immersive specialists ISO Design and Nexus Studios. It used cutting edge technology from Niantic, makers of Pokémon Go, was brought to life in The Reading Agency’s national network of libraries and by event-making specialists ProduceUK.