In a city recognised for technology firsts, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival has partnered with Digital Catapult to launch one of the first performance, arts and cultural venues equipped with 5G technology anywhere in the UK.

Over the next year, the project will develop new ideas for integrating 5G technology into the venues, such as live streaming performances in high quality and real time. In the true spirit of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, audiences will be able to engage and interact with artists experimenting with new work enabled and delivered over 5G infrastructure. The 5G network will initially be deployed in Brighton Dome’s Founder’s Room and Foyer offering Brighton-based small businesses, community groups and artists the opportunity to test and develop new 5G-enabled applications.

The collaboration builds on the success of Digital Catapult’s existing 5G Brighton testbed delivered with Wired Sussex at the Fusebox, which is helping local businesses to develop 5G products and services. The testbed was funded by the Coast to Capital LEP with a £1.2 million Local Growth Fund contribution to enable the city to be at the forefront of innovation and offer businesses in the area access to new technology.

5G has the potential to profoundly alter the arts and culture sector; a 5G network will allow thousands of people to be online at the same time helping to democratise shared experiences, faster speeds will allow new forms of content to emerge, and continued innovation will drive down costs and barriers to entry for small businesses.

“5G is expected to be rolled out across the UK later this year, but we’re still very much in the black and white television era of this technology,” says Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult. “To be in with a chance of entering technicolour, we need to test the network’s capabilities and enable businesses and users to prepare for the opportunity it presents.

Brighton is renowned for being a centre of creativity and increasingly technology. It is our mission at Digital Catapult to bring these two worlds together to accelerate innovation in both for the benefit of the UK economy.”

The integration of 5G network into Brighton Dome’s venues is part of a wider regeneration of the Royal Pavilion Estate including the refurbishment of the Grade I listed Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council.

“Brighton Dome will be among the first arts venues in the country to explore the potential of 5G technology in the application of new artistic work and performance,” says Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival. “Not only will it offer artists the chance to create exciting new work but our audiences and visitors to Brighton will be able to enjoy and experience arts events in a completely different way. We’re excited by the endless possibilities this could bring.”

The 5G test network is expected to play a key role in unlocking economic benefits for the region by allowing emerging and established artists and companies to develop and deliver outstanding work using 5G technology.

Tristan Sharps, Artistic Director of Brighton based performance company dreamthinkspeak, and associate artist of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival is convinced of the system’s benefits – “For artists, 5G has the potential to offer a new set of tools to do things we have always dreamt about or dream up new things we could never have imagined. It provides us with new questions to explore and new forms of expression to examine those questions. Whether we create large-scale projects with progressive technologies, or intimate pieces on a bare stage in torchlight, 5G will change how our artistic work is made, seen and circulated. It will give artists and audiences a thrilling opportunity to engage with our rapidly changing world.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive of Coast to Capital said: “It is crucial that we invest in Brighton to future proof 5G technology. This will ensure that the area continues to flourish as a hotbed for creativity, we are thrilled to be part of a truly game changing project.”

Brighton Festival takes place on Sun 4 May – Sat 26 May 2019

www.digicatapult.org.uk

www.brightondome.org