Research IT

Reconstructing a 16th Century Theatre in 3D

Research IT will soon be helping Oscar Seip from Italian Studies, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures to recreate a 3D prototype model of a 16th century theatre supposedly built for the King of France, Francis I. There has been some debate whether this theatre had in fact been a ‘real’ theatre but Oscar has discovered new evidence which suggests that it did actually exist.

Oscar was recently awarded a Digital Humanities start-up grant from John Rylands Research Institute to recreate a model of the theatre built by the Italian humanist, Giulio Camillo (1480-1544) for the King. Up until now previous studies have based their visual and literary reconstructions of the theatre on a single contemporary description and Camillo’s posthumously published book L’Idea del Theatro (1550). However these sources are highly problematic and only provide partial descriptions. Fortunately, new manuscripts have resurfaced in the previous decades, which offer new insights and contain partial descriptions of the theatre. Unfortunately the descriptions are not only very detailed and fragmented, which makes them difficult to grasp, they are also often contradictory.

Oscar will research, analyse, and bring together for the first time in a systematic way these fragmented descriptions of the theatre to inform the creation of a 3D prototype model of Camillo’s theatre. Research IT will be providing expertise in the 3D software platform Unity 3D which will allow preliminary Google SketchUp models created by Oscar to be disseminated and accessed via different media (2D, 3D, Virtual reality, websites, apps, etc.). The reconstruction of the theatre will provide a better understanding of its contents, design, and ultimately its operation. This, in turn, will demonstrate the academic potential and benefit of using digital techniques to reconstruct historical artefacts.

If you are applying for research funding and you think we might be able to help with your application or contribute to your research, please get in touch. We have a range of skilled Research IT staff available to work on research projects.