As part of its £1.9 million capital investment in infrastructure, sector-leading Rose Bruford College has partnered with technical solutions specialist White Light (WL) on its new extended reality (XR) stage. Funded by a capital grant from the Office for Students – England’s higher education independent regulator – the investment has also enabled a significant upgrade across all college Lighting, Audio and IT resources.
WL was appointed following a rigorous tender process, based on finding a collaborative partner to equip the college with cutting-edge technologies to help prepare its students for a changing world, particularly in the broadcast, media and virtual production spheres; where technical skills are converging. Having the right toolkit to facilitate this evolution and heighten learning is of huge importance to the college.
“This investment into our digital and technical infrastructure builds on our existing capabilities,” said Dr Nick Hunt, digital research and innovation fellow at Rose Bruford College. “We can now offer students undertaking a range of courses, unparalleled learning and development opportunities, preparing them for both traditional sector roles and the rapidly expanding mixed reality entertainment world. With WL’s expertise in this field, they were the ideal choice to collaborate with. With high demand for the XR stage across multiple stakeholders, we needed a partner who would understand and engage with the many different requirements and deliver a seamlessly interchangeable solution.”
Throughout the system design process, workshops were conducted to value-engineer a solution that harnessed the potential of WL’s award-winning SmartStage technology, while satisfying the College’s bespoke needs and budget parameters. This enables Rose Bruford to benefit from film and broadcast-grade technologies, integrated into a system that allows flexibility for re-configuration and evolution in the future. The Rose Bruford XR stage will have a broad application for technical arts and design students, training actors to perform on mixed reality stages and for professional training purposes.
“This future facing investment follows in the college’s long history of being the first in the field to develop innovative degree level technical courses, we are the only drama school in the UK with this resource currently, and demonstrates our understanding of how the theatre crafts are expanding into a wide range of media production sectors,” explained Mary Oliver, acting principal.
Sarah Cox, WL’s business development consultant, added: “Rose Bruford’s tender originated from their desire to explore and invest in XR technologies and virtual production techniques in this fast-moving industry. We understood that the facility had to be a flexible and configurable solution for maximising accessibility across the college. Drawing on our pioneering R&D in XR and learnings from producing SmartStage to achieve a smooth UI/UX end user experience, we designed and installed a multi-purpose LED volume system. We’re confident that this will greatly enhance the learning journey for their students and we’re excited to see how the solution evolves.”