Codebase to become Edinburgh Fringe venue

Fringe-goers will wear virtual reality headsets to experience the show Frogman at Codebase.
Fringe-goers will wear virtual reality headsets to experience the show Frogman at Codebase.
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Codebase, the Edinburgh-based firm which has grown to become Europe’s biggest tech incubator, is to become a Fringe venue.

A futuristic show which will use virtual reality headsets to transport audiences to the depths of the Great Barrier Reef will be unveiled in its headquarters overlooking Edinburgh Castle.

The Traverse Theatre is joining forces with Codebase, which is home to more than 90 start-up firms employing around 600 people, to help stage one of its world premieres this August.

Norwich-based theatre company Curious Directive is creating the “multi-sensory” show Frogman, which has been three years in the making, but will be performed to an audience of just 30 at a time.

The “coming-of-age thriller,” which is said to combine live theatre with 360 film, has involved underwater shoots in Australia and Indonesia and will feature more than 30 actors, although just one will appear on stage at at Codebase, which has more than quadrupled in size since 2014.

Marine biologists and scientists have acted as advisors on the show, which looks at the ongoing damage being done to coral reefs.

Frogman will be going on tour around the UK after its world premiere in Edinburgh, including a finale as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture programme.

Curious Directive said the production would “bridge that intriguing space between science and art.”

Artistic director Jack Lowe said: "Frogman is an attempt to draw audiences into the lives of young people in a small Australian coastal community in the mid-1990s.

"Using virtual reality offers us the chance as storytellers to stretch our imaginations of how theatre can take the next step to harness technology and create new offers for audiences. A small group of 30 audience members will spend an intimate time together, an hour we hope which will be a memorable experience."

Orla O’Loughlin, artistic director at the Traverse, said: “Frogman is a ground-breaking, world-first theatre experience experienced through VR headsets.

“A superatural thriller set on the Great Barrier Reef, it promises to be epic, intimate and exhilarating.”