StoryTrails announces special residency at BFI IMAX 23 September – 2 October 2022

September 20th 2022

StoryTrails, the UK’s largest immersive storytelling experience has been travelling across the UK this summer, from Omagh to Dundee and Swansea to Slough. Showcasing hundreds of local stories and hidden histories using exciting new interactive technologies, StoryTrails is part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. A special StoryTrails Residency at BFI IMAX will take place from 23 September to 2 October.

StoryTrails at BFI IMAX will be the first time the hundreds of different stories and experiences created for the StoryTrails UK tour will be showcased together in one place. In the BFI IMAX foyer and available for free audiences will be able to participate in virtual reality experiences and documentaries, they can watch a cycloramic cinema screen showcasing immersive emotional maps of each of the 15 StoryTrails towns and cities. Audiences can also access augmented reality story trails and experiences via smartphones and iPads allowing audiences the opportunity to explore hundreds of local stories from 15 towns and cities across the UK, including London. These digital experiences have been created using film and television archive from the BFI, BBC and national and regional archives to present a unique and magical window into the past.

Fifty emerging creatives from around the UK were selected to take part in the development of StoryTrails and benefited from expert training and mentoring opportunities from StoryFutures Academy, the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, the team behind StoryTrails. StoryFutures Academy is run by Royal Holloway, University of London and the National Film and Television School (NFTS).

Professor James Bennett, Director of StoryFutures and StoryTrails, said: “StoryTrails has travelled the length and breadth of the UK this summer during its live tour, connecting people to the stories of their towns and cities from the past and present through the lens of new technologies like AR and VR. We’re thrilled to be able to showcase all these incredible stories in one place for the first time at the BFI IMAX in London so audiences can explore hidden histories using immersive technologies”.

Stuart Brown, Head of Programme & Acquisitions at the BFI said: “The BFI has been a partner on StoryTrails since the outset. It has been thrilling to see young creatives to be inspired by archive film and use it in such innovative way to bring these immersive experiences to audiences all over the country. To now host this closing celebratory programme at BFI IMAX, not only ensure more people can experience this work, it gives a tasters of the of the range of screen culture we have the potential to showcase at the BFI IMAX in the future.”

This innovative project is led by StoryFutures Academy, the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling and delivered in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), broadcaster and filmmaker, David Olusoga, the BBC, Uplands Television, and leading immersive specialists ISO Design and Nexus Studios. It uses cutting edge technology from Niantic, makers of Pokémon Go, and brought to life in The Reading Agency’s national network of libraries and by event-making specialists ProduceUK.

Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, said: “StoryTrails is one of ten ground-breaking UNBOXED projects taking place in 2022 that demonstrate the power of creative collaboration across science, technology and the arts to create extraordinary and never-seen-before public experiences. StoryTrails uses cutting edge technology to offer people the opportunity to hear about the places they live – the stories of individuals and communities – in a way that has not been done before. We’re delighted that London audiences will have the opportunity to experience StoryTrails and discover untold stories from across the UK.”

The Story-Trails app is also now available to download for free from Apple and Android stores. The app includes all of the augmented reality story trails and experiences from each of the 15 locations the project has visited this summer, bringing to life untold local stories from different communities across the UK. Audiences can do their local trail themselves on the streets of their local town or from the comfort of their home.

StoryTrails’ live 15-stop UK tour runs until 18 September 2022 and culminates in a new film presented by David Olusoga that will screen in UK cinemas and on the BBC iPlayer. A special residency at the BFI IMAX will take place from 23 September to 2 October. The free Story-Trails app is available on the App Store and Google Play and is available online throughout 2022

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales and EventScotland.


StoryTrails at BFI IMAX
23 September to 2 October
2pm-9pm (except 2 October 1-4pm)
Closed 29 September
1 Charlie Chaplin Walk South Bank London SE1 8XR




Photo credit: Ocean Outdoor

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