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Take a bow with the Stamford Shakespeare Company at Tolethorpe Hall

Imagineer invites you to travel back in time and tour a (nearly) thousand-year-old estate

It’s not often that you have the opportunity to literally step into history. However, at Tolethorpe Hall, visitors can do just that.

The historic halls of the property transport you back to 1088, when three of England’s most distinguished families would go on to call the estate their home until 1839. Passed from generation to generation, Tolethorpe Hall wouldn't be returned to its former glory until 1977, when it eventually found its way into the loving hands of the Stamford Shakespeare Company. 

The theater group transformed the hall and its gardens into a one-of-kind, outdoor Shakespearean theater, welcoming an audience to sit back and enjoy its three-month season each summer. And now, visitors from all over the world can take part in it all thanks to Imagineer.

Recently, we caught up with Angus Norriss, CEO of Imagineer, as he shared his team's (or should we say "troupe's”?) process of capturing this one-of-a-kind property:

Tolethorpe Hall 4

What inspired the 3D capture of this space?

At Imagineer, we have been keen to help theaters and performing arts faculties emerge from the pandemic by embracing virtual technology to encourage the return of theatergoers. That’s why we were honored to volunteer to help one of the UK's most famous outdoor theater companies, The Stamford Shakespeare Company, present their safe-spacing policy in the auditorium and surrounding grounds. 

Nestled in the Rutland countryside, the seven-acre site contains Tolethorpe Hall, a Grade II Listed building dating back to 1088. The hall and its gardens are now noted as an outdoor Shakespearian theater. The hall itself stands in the middle of three terraces cut into sloping ground. Its raked auditorium is arranged on the lower one, looking outward across the lower terrace which forms the open-air stage behind which is the open country of the Gwash Valley. The auditorium is permanently covered. The Stamford Shakespeare Company presents a three-month season each summer. The combination of the Matterport Pro 2 and the Leica BLK360 enabled us to cover the grounds completely providing one seamless integrated indoor and outdoor virtual walkthrough.

What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?

Stand on the Main Stage and see what it feels like to play Romeo or Juliet, looking out with the sky above you and gardens behind you. It’s amazing!

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What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring your 3D tour?

Peace of mind. I want people to realize that the Matterport digital twins now play a part in our new culture! It’s good to reappraise our surroundings and seek out those places that we used to love before the pandemic, and now see them again virtually. This helps people see where they are going before they get there, often reducing anxiety.

What are the benefits of Matterport digital twins?

Theater companies have used this tour to help remotely produce their plays. Actors have used the stage to imagine their position and projection, and directors, producers, and set designers have been able to plan accurate measurements for stage design and scene changes. Theatergoers have selected which area of the auditorium to book tickets, and even plan their picnic setting! It has given peace of mind to many areas of theater marketing and production, demonstrating the capability now available to all who choose to embrace digital twins.

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Do you have any plans to capture more 3D experiences?

Yes – we have completed hundreds of tours combining indoor and outdoor spaces using the indoor/outdoor capability of the Matterport platform; way-finding applications have adapted our captures for use by emergency services, schools, campuses, transport hubs, railway stations, and airports. All benefit from the speed of capture and powerful point cloud data can be manipulated to accelerate their workflows and assist public navigation.

Anything else you would like to add?

We continue to sit on the edge of integration between spatial data and end-user experiences. We work with drones, Matterport source files, and clients to help bring answers to their questions. Quite often clients know what they want but don’t know how to ask. Imagineer combines imagination and engineering – there is always a solution, and we aim to answer it. We call this process “Make. Believe.” Just ask us!

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