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This Interactive Theatre Turns You into an Online ‘Juror’ in a Mock Murder Trial

David Paul

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Interactive Theatre

The re-imagined online show is an exploration of how we make decisions, what we find persuasive and how being part of a group can affect our decisions.

A new online theatre piece due to be released will see crime writers and members of the public play the part of jurors in an interactive mock murder trial.

The piece was co-developed at the University of Dundee’s Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) and is set to make makes its online debut this week (23 July).

The live show premiered at the University’s Festival of the Future last year and saw participants gather in a real jury deliberation room. Experience design studio Fast Familiar have now reimagined it as an interactive courtroom drama for remote audiences.

In an online jury deliberation room, participants will watch the testimonies and scrutinise the evidence before debating them with fellow jurors before they reach their verdict.

‘The Evidence Chamber’ was designed to raise questions about how we respond to the communication of different types of evidence and how our preconceptions can affect decisions, by allowing members of the public to play the role of a juror in a murder trial.

Part interactive theatre, part social experiment, it asks a group of strangers sat in their own homes to reach a verdict on a difficult fictional case.

Crime writers Val McDermid, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Craig Robertson will be among the jurors when the show premieres on Thursday. Members of the public will be able to take their place in the virtual jury box from the following day.

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Professor Niamh Nic Daéid, Director of LRCFS, commented: “We are delighted that Fast Familiar have repurposed The Evidence Chamber for remote audiences, as discovering innovating new ways of communicating forensic science is vital to our mission to ensure that the evidence presented in court is as scientifically robust as possible.

“When juries are making decisions about a person’s guilt or innocence, it is vital that they have confidence in their understanding of the scientific robustness of the evidence presented to them.

“That is why we work creatively and collaboratively to make science accessible to the public within the criminal justice context.”

Fast Familiar is a collaboration between ex-theatre company fanSHEN and computational artist Joe McAlister. They work together to create artworks which are participatory, playful and political and use digital technology to create new forms of human connection.

The Evidence Chamber takes place at various times from Friday 24 July to Thursday 8 August. Participation is limited to 12 people per show and tickets, costing £5-£12, can be purchased via Eventbrite.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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