Symphony to a Lost Generation An 85 Minute Stage Performance Commemorating The First World War
Premiering at LSO St Lukes May 2016
Symphony to a Lost Generation is, to the best of our knowledge, the world’s first fully holographic feature length production, featuring an estimated total of 450 in the cast. A visual effects artist who has worked on Oscar winning films and a music producer who has worked on grammy award winning albums.
Symphony to a Lost Generation is a commemoration of the generation that endured the horror of the First World War, both those that fought and those that stayed at home. Concerned not with countries but with people, it uses every art form at our age’s disposal and the latest technology to impress the War’s burning importance as a living part of our present to a period on those (particularly those under 35) who know terrifyingly little about it other than as a piece of greyed and increasingly distant history. The work moves from country to country, culture to culture, and from 1913 to 1920 to emphasise the commonality between all who found themselves in the trenches, and shows the destruction of a generation that lasted long after the guns fell silent. No written words can convey the scale and impact of this production. The work is a comprehensive documentary of the First World War that presents both the monumental (Gallipoli, the Somme, Passchendaele) and deeply personal, and treats the entire conflict as the stories of individuals: their passions, their hopes, their struggles.
200 MUSICIANS* – 250 ACTORS AND DANCERS – EARTH SHATTERING 3D LANDSCAPES – EVERYTHING WILL APPEAR TO BE LIVE – EVERYTHING WILL BE PRE-RECORDED*from the world renowned Vienna Philharmonic Choir, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra & Grammy Award winning New London Children’s Choir.
Through the use of holographics we aim to stage a performance in every small theatre in Britain, Germany and the rest of Europe at a fraction of the cost of a comparable touring stage production. Total staging cost of £680 a night, with tickets being sold for £20. Our aim is to present a Royal Opera House-scale performance in regional theatres.
The work presents a 3D audio-visual spectacular without a single cast member, using a series of projections to give the illusion of live stage performance, produced by a special effects artist who has worked on Oscar winning films. In various forms, holographics have been used for a century (Pepper’s Ghost was regarded as an earth- shattering event for Victorian theatregoers), but its use has always been as a high-budget ‘shock and awe’ illusion.
The technology to do what we’re doing is not new: we believe holographics has been lying dormant, waiting to be used in such a way for the best part of a century. It is only now affordable to create visuals that can exploit them in a jaw-dropping fashion.
The visual effects we intend to employ – showing, for example, an entire forest uprooted by shelling, apparently live on stage – in our opinion would have taken a year and a half to render 5 years ago – now it can be done in days using a combination of FX artists and computers.We believe that holographics are inevitably the way that much live performance will be presented in the near future. Holographics allows us to reduce the cost of a long-running performance by as much as 99%.
- Proven technology – but currently marketed as a premium product
- ‘Wow factor’ – more even than same performers appearing live
- Exponential increase in computing power makes visual effects affordable
- Disruptive tech – delivering a product at a fraction of the cost of the industry standard.
- Affordability of ultra-high lumens projectors. The projectors that we have already purchased and allow the flexibility that we need to stage this in any theatre did not exist more than a couple of years ago.
We will enjoy a number of first-mover advantages – generating audiences from the novelty of the technology alone as well as being able to charge normal theatrical ticket prices despite massively reduced costs. To stage an opera production (i.e. non- holographically) could cost over £100,000 per night depending on the production. Our nightly costs are projected to be less than £1,000, while providing an even more powerful impact through the use of a never-before-seen format. We will be able to maximise these first-mover advantages by presenting at multiple venues simultaneously.
Our intention is to democratise access to serious art, and provide a ‘Royal Opera House’ experience to places that would never have access to such things.
To this end we intend to stage sponsored free shows for school children at no extra cost during the day.
Invested to Date – To date we have raised £210,000 of our total production budget of £350,000. £150,000 already invested through our SEIS share round and £60,000 as part of our EIS share round.
Use of Funds – Production is already under way at our large central London production studio as well as our plan to host our premiere at a central London theatre in May this year when production is complete. With the funding we have received to date we have been able to build up the infrastructure of the business including a fully operational holographic touring rig. New funds will be used to continue the recording of actors and the post VFX production work.
How We Will Make Our Return – The business strategy is like that of a disruptive tech start up; we are reproducing an existing product at a fraction of the cost of the industry standard.
We aim to win bookings for Symphony to a Lost Generation for theatres across Europe beginning April 2016. It will specifically target non-major cities and theatres of 500 – 1500 seats, promising a spectacular of the sort usually belonging only to ‘capital city’ theatres and opera houses.
The nature of the business model means that we can put on shows in different locations at the same time. Year 1 shows are based on having 1 touring holographic rig. In year 2 we will have an additional holographic rig, meaning shows can run concurrently. In year 3 we aim to have further rigs (talks already underway for the aim to tour the production in the US and Japan, neither of which are included in our forecasts.)
The company aims to be net cash flow positive from the start.
Our financial forecasts are based on ticket sales of just 40% per show (obviously we intend to sell more) . With 150 shows in year 1 we can generate annual profits of £200,000.
Our projections for the fourthcoming years are:
- Year 2 profit based on 500 shows is £840,000
- Year 3 profit based on 600 shows is £1,000,000
- Year 4 profit based on 400* shows is £600,000
- Year 5 profit based on 300* shows is £425,000
We will look to take this work to new markets outside of Europe, which for the sake of caution we have not sought to include in our forecasts. We think there is every likelihood that we will not just beat these forecasts but significantly so.
To breakeven, including equity capital and fixed costs incurred in staging the shows, our calculations have suggested that we need only stage 75 shows assuming we sell out each show.
Full financial forecasts and financial snapshot are available on request
Progress and achievements to date
- The infrastructure of the business is in place and all major capital equipment has been purchased.
Tour post premiere in May now being booked
National PR – late stage discussions with Arthur Leone, and local PR with Tobias Oliver.
- The original symphony to the work has been fully recorded with the Lithuanian State Orchestra, and The Vienna Philharmonic Choir.
- Production is now well underway at our large North London studio.
- We recently staged a preview of our work as a headline act at The Bloomsbury festival where over 200 invited guests were in attendance.
- The business has raised £210,000 to date having recently closed its SEIS investment round raising £150,000. We have now raised £60,000 at EIS.
Talks progressing on sponsored free matinee shows for school children. Partnership with i-child to reach out to schools around the country.
The world premiere is scheduled to be held in May 2016 at the beautiful LSO St Lukes concert venue
We will be touring this work to local theatres across the UK and Europe. We believe this is the first time the technology will be used to take great art to everyone, not just those in the great capitals – London, Paris, Berlin and the like.
We can stage this show in any town across Europe that has a medium sized theatre. Our competition is, by design, a local production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. With a staging cost of just £680 and low fixed costs we can stage our show profitably in almost any venue. The average sized theatre that we aim to tour in will have 500 seats.
Filmed Royal Opera House and Metropolitan Opera events are screened to large audiences across the world, and have ticket prices comparable to those we would charge for our production. These are two dimensional film recording; Symphony to a Lost Generation would have equivalent sound quality in our opinion, and would appear in 3 dimensions, whilst being designed to make use of every effect the additional dimension can provide (e.g. characters stepping out of archival film into 3 dimensions). We believe the existence of filmed live performances is a proof of our concept, but that our offering is far more exciting for audiences.
a) World first – we believe no-one has ever put on a feature length holographic performance before.
b) Local first, everywhere – we believe no-one has ever brought the Vienna Philharmonic Choir, the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra or anything equivalent to Coventry or Bremerhaven.
c) For theatre owners considering hosting the show: We believe the capacity to book a run without incurring any costs per additional show other than front- of-house staff is a significant attraction.
d) Minimal cost of additional performances and of additional runs: the cost of taking a show to a new city is negligible; the cost of multiple performances in one day is minimal.
e) Ability to stage sponsored shows for school children will be attractive for theatres while the cost to us is minimal. We will be seeking sponsorship to allow us to stage these shows with much reduced ticket prices.
We are explicitly not trying to enter the same market as West End productions, major opera houses in major cities and the like. We are attempting to deliver a comparable experience to those who do not have access to such things. As such, we believe our competition is of a far lower grade.
Size of Market
There are over 1,100 theaters in the UK, of which more than 900 are outside of London. There are even more in Germany and France.
According to a 2013 study, 35% of EU citizens have been to a concert at least once in the last year, 28% have attended the theatre, and 18% have attended opera. Lack of access to high quality works was one of the reasons cited by those who had not attended at least one of the above.
We are certain that a very substantial market exists to support this product.