CGI flies actor Mark Quartley’s Ariel avatar into the eye of The Tempest

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The Royal Shakespeare Company is pushing the boat out for The Tempest with state-of-the-art effects to capture the magic in the performance of its temperamental spirit.

Mark Quartley has joined the cast to play Ariel in the RSC’s forthcoming production of The Tempest, which opens in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in November to conclude Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year.

Mark will be taking on a whole new area of stage craft by wearing a motion capture suit provided by The Imaginarium Studios, live on the RST stage for the very first time.

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This allows the movements of his ‘avatar’ Ariel to be projected on and around the stage, including flying and morphing into different versions of the spirit which are delivered by using new technology.

Mark’s previous theatre work includes Written on the Heart and Measure for Measure (RSC 2011/12), Private Peaceful (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios), Ghosts (Rose theatre, Kingston) and a regular role in the television comedy Hoff the Record.

Gregory Doran directs the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Prospero in his return to the company for the first time in 23 years.

This production of Shakespeare’s late play has been in development since September 2015 and aims to break new boundaries in theatre-making with the very first live motion capture performance appearing in a major classical stage production.

The Tempest will also be broadcast live to cinemas across the UK and Europe on January 11 as part of the RSC’s ongoing Live from Stratford-upon-Avon screenings.

The Tempest runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from November 8–January 21.

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