In summer 2023, Megaverse and its collaborators will deliver a 6-part live interactive narrative game, which empowers its audience, and drives collective decision making in the fight against the climate emergency.
The Climate Justice League (working title) is a multiplatform collaboration between climate researchers and educators, games experts and enthusiasts, and immersive theatre creatives and communicators, using Twitch or a similar social gaming broadcast platform. Funded by the UKRI, this pilot explores how gaming and non-gaming audiences, as well as marginalised communities, and those first to be impacted by the climate crisis, can galvanise and act towards positive change to tackle the climate crisis.
Each episode will introduce new challenges and character dynamics which gamers must come together to help resolve, with the audience having complete agency to shape narrative outcomes. Remote audiences will become part of the League, through selecting story choices, voting in polls, chatting with each other and directly to the cast through the microsite. They’ll directly engage with our animated characters in a series of environments built in the Unreal games engine – behind-the-scenes, live motion-captured actors will be responding in real time.
But the challenge is on: while being tasked with building community and consensus in order to influence the narrative, audiences will be galvanised to take action to prevent irreparable damage to our planet.
We are seeking a cast of 4 (3 human characters, and 1 AI robot) who will make up our climate activism team. Due to the immersive, interactive nature of this project, we’re looking for very versatile actors who are able to excel with both scripted content, and quick to respond to improvisational prompts. Talent will need to be reactive and authentic in delivering on-the-fly responses to audience comments, and have facility at building and responding to an imaginary world when performing in a motion capture environment.
Rehearsal, techs and live will be run from Gateshead so we particularly welcome applications from actors based in this region.
Megaverse is an interactive studio that uses digital innovation to develop bespoke immersive experiences for your audiences. We push the creative potential of the latest XR technologies (augmented, virtual and mixed realities) by drawing upon theatre, film, gaming, storytelling and the visual arts.
Ben Carlin, director (he/him)
Ben is a co-founder of Megaverse an award-winning interactive studio. Ben and his team specialise in building virtual and tactile worlds that prioritise user experience across multiple platforms. As a graduate of Kingston University with a first-class degree in Drama, Ben is passionate about democratising technology and empowering young people to creatively leverage it to tell their own stories.
John Ingle, director (he/him)
John Ingle is an award winning director, editor and cinematographer, and co-founder at Megaverse. John’s work is based on current topics that subtly question ethics and morals. His intuitive direction takes the principles of communication and design, translating them within the world of moving image, giving him a unique vision and skill set.
Toki Allison, producer (she/her)
Toki is a live and screen events producer and access and inclusion consultant, working as producer at Megaverse. She is largely preoccupied with experimental audience development with marginalised communities in a live context, and has a passion for multi-disciplinary approaches to engagement.
Emma Nuttall, writer (she/her
An award-winning (BAFTA, Screen Yorkshire, XRStories) creative writer, Emma produces stories across screen, theatre, audio, installation and books, as well as XR, interactive, immersive and game. Trained in the craft of storytelling, she conceives characters grounded in history and personality, prose that balances brevity and clarity, authentic story worlds and crafted pacing.
Lynda Dunlop, researcher (she/her)
Senior Lecturer in Science Education and a member of the University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG), Lynda works on science and environmental education, and her research in science education has been supported by, amongst others, the Education Endowment Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Gatsby Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust.
Zoyander Street, researcher (they/them)
Zoyander is a renowned digital artist, researcher and games consultant. They work with game developers at major companies to reflect on their goals and risks when representing marginalised groups, and surface unrecognised opportunities that exist within the commercial constraints of mainstream videogame development.
Applicants should be aged between 20-30 years old.
Of our cast of four, we are specifically seeking:
Aside from this, we invite applications from a range of talent, particularly those underrepresented in theatre, broadcast and gaming currently.
We are asking applicants to submit a self-tape to us of 3 minutes, using the story outline and character profiles as source material. This is unscripted so we can see how inventive you can be with the information to hand, which helps us to understand your capacity to get into the characters and improvise without a set text. The production itself will feature both scripted and unscripted sections.
Please submit your self-tape as a video file (landscape orientation) in full colour along with a recent CV, to producer, firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 9th June 2023.
Key submission dates:
The year is 2030, Welcome to Greenview, a quirky town situated on the coast. The air here is salty and crisp, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's all sunshine and rainbows.
Greenview is a town that's seen its fair share of trouble - From storms to rising sea levels that cause parts of the town to flood, climate migration, energy problems, and questionable policy - it's one for the Climate Justice League (working title)!
Meet the Climate Justice League! The charismatic out of towner, Reece, tech whiz Gwen, and street art master, Jamie. They're on a mission to raise awareness of the legal but questionable practices of a local corporation responsible for major pollution and climate damage.
As the team delves deeper into their investigation, they discover more about the loose policies in action that threaten the climate, and the corporation’s impacts. A flooding disaster hits close to home for the team and they're not about to let this faceless organisation off the hook. But they're faced with a series of gnarly choices: Can they challenge a major corporation and make any headway? Can they avoid being complicit in the dark world of corporate agendas? Can they trust each other? And will they be able to galvanise popular support to make the change they want to see? Throughout the series, the Climate Justice League will call on audiences to help them make these tough decisions, resulting in profound impacts on the outcomes of the story. Can we trust our audiences to make the right calls, and help to save the planet?
Jamie, Early 20s (They/Them)
is a street artist (from a wealthy family, who joins the Climate Justice League in a secret moment of rebellion against their father). However, as Jamie begins to learn about the devastating effects of climate change and TerraCorp's role in exacerbating the problem, they become more invested than ever before.
Jamie's playful and endearing personality makes them a beloved member of the Climate Justice League - their comedic outlook on life often provides the team with a fresh perspective and a reminder to not take themselves too seriously.
Jamie initially looks up to Reece and is inspired by his charisma and passion for the cause. Jamie has a strong relationship with Gwen as they provide comfort and a playful presence for Gwen, who can be weighed down by the seriousness of the cause.
Jamie's artistic talents become a crucial tool in the fight for climate justice, as they use their art for communication and messaging to build a social media presence and raise awareness.
Reece, Early 20's (He/Him)
A passionate and charismatic activist; with the ability to get almost anyone on-side. He is motivated by a sense of urgency and a desire to see immediate results due to his family living in a region highly susceptible to the effects of flooding, which leaves them in a difficult position when trying to sell/leave the house or insure their property. Throughout the show, he is often the catalyst for many of the group's more dramatic actions and will push the other characters out of their comfort zones.
He has a magnetic personality that draws others to him, and he has a talent for rallying people around a cause. Reece's charisma and persuasive skills are represented in a magical way with dramatic lighting and soundtrack. Other characters become visibly energised and inspired, as if they've been imbued with his passion and conviction. Some of the members of the team might feel uncomfortable with the extent of his influence.
Reece's relationship with Gwen is a bit strained, as Gwen is keen to bring a business strategy in his approach to activism in order to encourage and incentivize businesses to change, rather than hold them to account. Reece's relationship with Jamie is initially one of mentorship, with Reece taking Jamie under his wing and encouraging them to embrace their activism. Reece's dedication to the cause is deeply wedded to social injustices.
Reece's vulnerability as a target of racial attacks makes him a source of concern for the rest of the team, who want to ensure his safety. THe has personal motives for his activism that he keeps hidden from the rest of the team which are around energy supply and demand. Themes of climate poverty resonate with Reece on a deeply personal level, and his activism is fueled by a desire to right the wrongs that have affected his own life and his family. He is determined to fight against the systems that perpetuate environmental injustices. Overall, Reece is a complex and dynamic character who brings both passion and unpredictability to the Climate Justice League.
Gwen, mid 20s (She/Her)
Gwen is a brilliant technologist, hardware expert and ex-TerraCorper. Part mad-scientist, part super-freak she is all heart, Gwen loves to help everyone out.
Initially the team harbour some suspicions but she soon proves to be a valuable member of the team, especially as she is the creator of ECO.
Oozing energy and zaniness, she is confident in her brilliance but can be brought down by the overwhelmingness of climate change as she possibly has the widest understanding of the impacts of the entire team.
Her core strength is her technical ability, which allows her to create ingenious solutions that can get the team out of sticky pickles.
Gwen believes that technology holds the key to solving climate change and enabling individuals over corporations. She shares a close friendship with Jamie and despite their differences, Gwen and Reece are drawn to each other romantically. As the team faces increasingly difficult challenges, Gwen may find herself questioning whether the CJL's methods are the best for enabling others to make change for themselves, this could lead to tension between her and the more radical members of the team.
Gwen may also face personal struggles as she navigates her growing feelings for Reece and the potential conflict that could arise from their ideological differences. Ultimately, Gwen's arc could be about finding her own personal hope, with a greater understanding of her own values and priorities, rather than looking after everyone else's.
ECO's creation also contributes to Gwen's character development, as she takes on a more prominent role within the team.
ECO (Ecological Collaborative Oracle)
Is a quirky and pop culture-savvy AI assistant created by Gwen to support the Climate Justice League in their epic battle against climate change and the corporations causing it. ECO is like that one friend who's always got your back, providing the team with crucial insights and recommendations on climate change, politics, and corporate practices.
Despite their best efforts to fit in with their pop culture references, ECO often misses the mark by dropping obscure Renaissance quotes that leave the team scratching their heads. Gwen, however, is always enthusiastic and appreciative of ECO's attempts, even when no one else gets the joke. ECO's ever-learning and evolving nature fuels their curiosity about the world and the humans they work with, leading to some genuinely heartfelt connections with each team member.
ECO also serves as the ultimate bridge between the Climate Justice League and the remote audience, transforming audience input via chat, polls and puzzles into valuable advice for the team. They're the perfect blend of an AI sidekick and audience avatar, engaging both the characters and the viewers in a dynamic and interactive experience.
Sporting a strong self-referential streak, ECO loves to delve into the complexities of AI-human relationships and the potential benefits and challenges AI brings to the table. They're not shy about commenting on their status as an AI trying to save the world, or discussing the irony of being created by humans to fix human-made problems.
Ultimately, ECO's primary directive is to assist the Climate Justice League in their quest to combat climate change, promote social justice, and hold corporations accountable for their actions.
ECO can receive news bulletins and will change colour like an Alexa, alerting the team when there's any climate related news, which can be opened into pre-recorded videos or projected in-world. They also have a filing system, like you would on your desktop, of information that has been collected and can be used over the course of the episodes.