PhD student blends the world of theatre and video games


A PhD student from Abertay University is preparing to take over an uninhabited island to stage a pioneering cultural experiment – blending the traditional world of theatre with video games.

Mona Bozdog will attempt to blend a BAFTA-nominated video game, with a new site-specific promenade performance to the backdrop of live orchestral music on the Island of Inchcolm, 4 miles east of the Forth Bridge.

Working alongside a team of international, Scotland-based artists, Mona will stage an ‘audio geo-tagged promenade performance’ with a play-through of the Dear Esther (The Chinese Room, 2012)  video game within the island’s 12th century Inchcolm Abbey.

Seventy invited guests will embark on a ferry journey to Inchcolm to experience the two-hour event this Sunday.

“My research is focused on making the connections between theatre and video games apparent through practice,” she said. “With trans-media storytelling we merge live performance and video games to develop one narrative and immersive experience that benefits from the unique abilities of both.

“Alongside a team of tremendously talented artists and volunteers, we have been working to design a world that is evocative and atmospheric, trying to build bridges between the game world and the world of Inchcolm.

“In Inchcolm Project I have taken the fictional world of ‘Dear Esther’, and built a larger story world around it. I have written a text in response to the game, the site and the current discussions about refuge, shelter and home. This text, entitled Dear Rachel, is scattered all around the island and left there for the audience to find.”

The production is investigating the connections between theatrical performance and video games for the development of both fields, part of an Applied Research Collaboration Studentship initiated by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities in partnership with Abertay University, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The National Theatre of Scotland.

The event ends with a special acoustic arrangement of two songs from the Dear Esther soundtrack, composed and performed by Mantra Collective, an Edinburgh based ensemble of musicians, artists and filmmakers who produce and perform live multisensory experiences.

Mona’s previous experience as a theatre maker has influenced her take on video games and led her to develop Inchcolm Project over the last 4 months.