Annual Event Features XR Commissions and is an Industry-first Partnership Between VAST VR Platform and OSF’s O! Digital Stage
Tickets Available Beginning October 20 at osfashland.org/quillsfest
Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) announces the second edition of Quills Fest, an artist-centric space that invites the public—in person and virtually—to experience Extended Reality (XR) commissioned projects that boldly explore interactivity and immersive storytelling. First launched in 2021, Quills Fest was envisioned by Artistic Director Nataki Garrett as the cornerstone event of OSF’s new Innovation & Strategy Team led by Scarlett Kim.
“As a destination theatre that serves a national and global audience, OSF is the only theatre organization focused on producing a festival as ambitious as Quills Fest.” said Garrett. “This unique exploration of the intersection between the creativity of XR technology and the luminous storytelling of live theatre is where we will discover a singular immersive experience. We are creating accessibility to our work beyond the limitations of the physical stage and offering theatre artists an opportunity to engage audiences through a new, boundless form of storytelling. I am excited to introduce OSF’s Immersive Festival to the world.”
Quills Fest brings to life Garrett’s vision for OSF as an innovative hub for multi-modal and mixed discipline storytelling—with an expanded OSF platform that traverses live and digital spaces, and empowers artists to engage with audiences through transformative experiences.
“Quills Fest is a playground for both artists and audiences,” said Kim. “It is a process-oriented festival that invites theatre and performance artists to bring their uniquely powerful perspectives on liveness into the XR world. With Quills Fest, OSF boldly proposes that at the heart of innovation is iteration, and we are grateful to prototype the future of storytelling with our brilliant community of artists and audiences.”
For Quills Fest 2022, OSF brings together a kaleidoscopic mix of global artists and creative technologists. This year’s Festival launches the bespoke Quills Fest Virtual Reality World featuring a playful, interactive, and physics-defying version of OSF’s iconic Allen Elizabethan Theatre—helmed by OSF’s Creative Technologists in Residence, Illya Szilak and Cyril Tsiboulski. In an industry-first partnership, the Quills Fest VR World is hosted on VAST, a social multiverse platform by Beijing-based Sandman Studios.
VAST recently served as the VR platform for SXSW. The VR World features avatar design by Selly Raby Kane, a renowned Sengalese fashion designer and artist pioneering Africa’s booming art and design movement, and original music by Justin Hicks, a groundbreaking multidisciplinary artist, composer, and vocalist.
This year’s festival features an abundance of new, original work by multi-hyphenate and genre-breaking artists, including legendary artist and filmmaker Nao Bustamante (BLOOM, in partnership with the Park Avenue Armory), trailblazing VR experience makers Mengtai Zhang and Lemon Guo (Diagnosia, Loom), and visionary performance artist Daniel Alexander Jones (ATEN, The Hanged Man). Innovative matches of creative technologists and artists abound, such as artist, designer and anthropologist Ayodamola Tanimowo Okunseinde with scholar and writer Nehal El-Hadi, in partnership with New York Live Arts(Haboob: The Sublime Nature of Sudanese Sandstorms).
The complete lineup detailing the full slate of OSF commissioned projects and other iconic XR projects being presented at Quills Fest is attached and can also be found on osfashland.org/quillsfest.
“You can think of Quills Fest as a constellation of ‘studio visits’ where you will intimately engage with the artist’s process and access their art at various stages of creation,” says Kim. “Grounded in holistic artist support, Quills Fest is an expansive container for OSF to nurture the most adventurous artists working today.”
Quills Fest 2022 features exhibitions of world-premiere Virtual Reality (VR), juxtaposing seminal works in the field with early stage experiments. These art experiences will be accompanied by conversations that invite the audience into the behind-the-scenes of XR production, elevating the most innovative voices in art and immersive technology.
The New York City in-person pop-up offers an opportunity for in-person engagement with the Quills Fest VR World and the featured projects, as well as a slate of special social events and workshops.
Events include the IRL & URL Jam Session on Nov. 4, 7-9 pm ET, a Hands-on Workshop: Intro to XR for Theatremakers with Michaela Holland on Nov. 5, 6-8 pm ET; and a special NFT Party marking the launch of OSF’s first NFT collection drop, in partnership with Lauren Ruffin and Mark Sabb, artistic thought leaders in the Web3 space, from 8-10 pm ET, all at NYU Tandon @The Yard, Brooklyn Navy Yard, BLDG 22, Floor 3; Brooklyn, NY, 11205.
Audiences can experience Quills Fest in three ways: through their web browser, with a VR headset (tethered and untethered), or at the in-person VR pop-up hosted at NYU Tandon @The Yard, Brooklyn Navy Yard, BLDG 22, Floor 3; Brooklyn, NY, 11205. All in-person events will be held at this location, with the exception of the Playtest of Herstory in the House Immersive Audio Experience, which will take place at Merchant’s House Museum, 29 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003.
November 4-5, 2022
Tickets for access during the Festival ($10) are available beginning October 20 at osfashland.org/quillsfest. The digital programming of the festival will also be available through the end of November 2022 via web browser or through a VR headset on quillsfest.com.
About the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Led by Artistic Director Nataki Garrett and Executive Director David Schmitz, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) expands access to the transformational power of art and art-making. A global entity and an ever-evolving container for the future that responds to changing tides, the organization is committed to collaboration through radically inclusive, accessible, and collaborative practices. OSF centers and nurtures artists and multimodal, multidisciplinary work. OSF was founded in 1935 and has grown from a three-day festival of two plays to a nationally renowned theatre arts organization that presents a rotating repertory season of up to 8 plays and musicals, including both classics and new work. OSF productions have been presented on Broadway, internationally, and at regional, community, and high school theatres across the country. In 2020, the organization launched O!, its new digital stage featuring performances of groundbreaking art and mind-expanding discussions that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. O! attracts more than 10,000 views per month from audience members in over 50 countries. Learn more at osfashland.org.
Special thanks to The Cymbeline Project / Quills Fest sponsor The Standard.
OSF’s 2022 Season is possible thanks to the extraordinary generosity of its supporters. OSF is deeply grateful for the contributions of generous individuals, foundations, corporate partners, and government agencies that sustained us through the challenges of the past two years. For an up-to-date list of donors, visit osfashland.org.