The Theatron application has been produced by a European consortium including leading academic institutions, architectural and information technology specialists and part-funded by the European Commission. Theatron represents the first serious attempt to bring the study of virtual reality computer models within the scope of a humanities subject.
The Primary objective was to carry out a carefully focused programme of work, addressing the use of multi-media for teaching European theatre history.
After gathering and closely evaluating examples of current needs and best practice in a variety of institutions engaged in the teaching of theatre, the consortium has created an online software application. This currently consists of 10 3D virtual architectural theatres from across Europe, with a user interface enabling students and teachers to access graphical and textual material, illustrating and exploring the history, evolution, variety and current range of theatrical practice in Europe.
In addition to providing extensive primary factual information, the software allows students and teachers to access and study essential elements of theatre, such as time, space, acoustics, lighting and sightlines, which are difficult to convey using conventional teaching materials.
The Theatron Project and its outcomes have drawn widely upon diverse theatrical activity within a great many member states, contributing to the identification and preservation of cultural diversity in Europe through innovative learning systems.
The Theatron computer software uses a specially enhanced web browser enabling the user to navigate virtual reality reconstructions of the theatre and performance sites. In addition the user has access to a wide variety of related multimedia assets and narrative text accessible from the model and information panels. These include photographs, computer animations and 360 degree panoramas. Some of the theatre sites also have audio reconstructions, enabling the user to hear what the audience would have heard from different parts of the theatre.