Play the Knave

A standing partnership between The Games Institute and the Stratford Festival in Ontario has fostered this international collaboration with IMMERSe researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Waterloo. IMMERSe Co-Applicant, Colin Milburn of UC Davis, leveraged the partnership grant to bring Dr. Gina Bloom on board for the Play the Knave project.

Play the Knave is a motion capture video game for Windows that lets 1-4 players design and perform in scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. Users choose the scene they want to perform and select options for set design, sound, lighting, costumes, and theater space. Then they perform the scene, karaoke-style, by reading the script lines that scroll on the screen.

The concept, content and design for Play the Knave are the result of an established collaboration between literary critics, theater artists, and computer scientists at the University of California, Davis. The prototype of the game runs on Mekanimator, an open-source platform developed in-house at the UC Davis ModLab. The Mekanimator platform is explicitly designed to make it possible to switch out assets very easily, and thus the game can be modified quickly to serve the needs of different audiences and institutions.

Gaining the attention of teachers worldwide, the game is centered on widening the audience demographics for Shakespearian plays, as well as providing educators with the tools they need to adequately teach Shakespeare in the classroom.

The game is currently aiming for distribution through the online platform Steam. Please help support Play the Knave by voting “Yes” on our Steam Greenlight page HERE. Your support will help students and teachers worldwide learn and experiment with Shakespeare!

Interview footage by: Schooling Pictures

ZU-UK and TAG Lab

IMMERSe researchers from Concordia University were invited by ZU-UK, London, to participate in a week long workshop to collaborate on immersive theater games. Formerly known as Zecora Ura and Para  Active, ZU-UK is an established award winning independent theatre and digital arts company based in East London and Rio de Janeiro.

Their DRIFT International residencies provide emerging artists with an opportunity to fast-track international partnerships through match-making, and to expand their practice by providing tools and vocabulary to enable collaboration within new disciplines and cultures.

Building on a previous partnership with IMMERSe collaborator, Bart Simon, this games-focused workshop was created specifically for TAG Lab members from Concordia by the Artistic and Executive Directors of ZU-UK, Persis Jade Maravala & Jorge Lopes Ramos.

Encompassing multiple IMMERSe themes from Interactions and Gameplay Mechanics, Narrative and Dialogue in Games, to Cultural and Social Interactions, game prototypes were created to enhance and modify the immersive theater experiences created by ZU-UK. An official partnership is under discussion between ZU-UK and the IMMERSe funded TAG Lab to further this international collaboration.


TAG Lab original video found here.

Hotel Medea original video found here.