Expanded Realities Conversations with Robin McNicholas and Sarah Ellis

Discover how creative directors and producers are working in blended reality spaces and creating new paradigms for how immersive storytelling can be experienced.

The second session of Expanded Realities Conversations features creative industry visionaries Robin McNicholas (Co-founder and Director of the award-winning creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast) and Sarah Ellis (Head of Digital Development at Royal Shakespeare Company). Join us as Robin discusses Marshmallow Laser Feast’s creative approach to their works that explore sensory perspectives and themes of reality, and Sarah shares how Royal Shakespeare Company harnesses emerging technologies in their new projects to imagine the future of live performance.

This iteration in Expanded Realities Conversations is presented in conjunction with the global premiere of Virtual Realms: Videogames Transformed at ArtScience Museum.

The programme will be hosted and moderated by Zhang Baoxin (Curator, Public Programmes at ArtScience Museum).

About Expanded Realities Conversations

Expanded Realities Conversations dialogues with trailblazers in art and technology who are sculpting the possibilities of immersive media and extended reality technologies. Unfolding as a marquee series of talks interlacing with ArtScience Museum’s exhibitions, Expanded Realities Conversations features artists, technologists and storytellers around the world who are creating at the frontier of the digital future and their groundbreaking projects.

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About the Exhibition

Step into the realm of the videogame in a series of playful and immersive installations that will take you on a journey through new sonic landscapes and exciting kaleidoscopic worlds.

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13 Jul, 8pm – 9pm

About the Speakers

  • Robin McNicholas (Co-founder and Director of Marshmallow Laser Feast)

    Co-founder and Director of the award-winning creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF), Robin McNicholas has directed a myriad of immersive experiences, large-scale installations and live performances. His primary focus is fixed on creating mixed reality storyworlds and developing narrative works for live virtual productions that explore tactile, multi-sensory interaction. At MLF, he leads exploratory teams investigating new processes and techniques using machine learning and other methods to help enhance tactile mixed reality experiences.


    The live aspect of Robin’s work has involved touring installations and productions to some of the world’s largest venues, concert halls and cultural spaces. He directed iconic shows for the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors’ Showcase (Cannes Palais, France) and has worked with a range of musical acts including U2, Aphex Twin and Lenny Kravitz.


    In 2021 Robin directed Dream, a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Philharmonia Orchestra, Epic Games and Manchester International Festival that explored how audiences could experience live performance in the future. Robin’s latest project is MLF’s most ambitious to date – the multi-sensory location-based experience Sweet Dreams presented in collaboration with writer Simon Wroe and the British Film Institute.

  • Sarah Ellis (Head of Digital Development at Royal Shakespeare Company)

    Sarah Ellis is an award-winning producer currently working as Director of Digital Development for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to explore new artistic initiatives and partnerships. The latest partnership for the RSC is the Audience of the Future Live Performance Demonstrator funded by Innovate UK – a consortium consisting of arts organisations, research partners and technology companies to explore the future of performances and real-time immersive experiences.


    Sarah is a fellow of the University of Worcester for her work in arts and technology, and has been awarded The Hospital Club & Creatives Industries award for cross industry collaboration for her work with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios on the RSC’s The Tempest. In 2013 she was listed in the 100 most influential people working in Gaming and Technology by The Hospital Club and Guardian Culture.


    Sarah is a regular speaker and commentator on digital arts practice, as well as an Industry Champion for the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, which helps inform academic research on the creative industries to lead to better policies for the sector. She has been appointed Chair of digital agency, The Space, established by Arts Council England and the BBC to help promote digital engagement across the arts.

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