Newark recently experienced the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood style film première! Hundreds of people including actors, producers, app designers and project chiefs watched a riveting costumed drama unfold on the big screen of the Palace Theatre. But this blockbuster is aiming to be an even bigger hit on the small screen.
As part of an ambitious £6m British Civil War project, Newark witnessed the launch of the UK’s most ambitious ever augmented reality town trail designed specifically for smart devices. The eye-catching venture by Newark and Sherwood District Council has been backed by £500,000 from Nottinghamshire County Council.
Cutting edge technology and lavishly shot scenes with top actors have been melded together to tell the epic story of how King and Parliament clashed in the nation’s deadliest war 350 years ago.
Downloading the free app and holding up a smart device to a trigger image at eight key Civil War locations around Newark will see characters leap into life on screen to tell their own true stories.
Whether it’s the servant girl moaning about meagre rations, a man lamenting the devastation caused to his family by plague, or King Charles quarrelling with his ablest lieutenant, Prince Rupert.
Royalist Newark – which was besieged by 16,000 troops – retains incredible eye witness accounts of these troubled times together with one of the nation’s best preserved Civil War landscapes.
Deborah Johnson, from Newark and Sherwood District Council, said:
“We have the perfect setting for pioneering a new way of telling history and nothing on the scale of this app has been done before in the UK. Newark has an incredible Civil War story to tell and even if people know nothing about the conflict the human stories of those involved are utterly compelling. The film sequences are spectacular and combine seamlessly with augmented reality technology to provide amazing viewing. It really puts you in the frame of these incredible events. We think the app will be a huge hit with visitors.”
Nearly 30 separate stories were filmed by a cast and crew of up to 200 people with most of the tales lasting less than a minute. Longer sequences were also filmed for showing at the £5.4m National Civil War Centre, which opens on 3 May.
The films were researched, scripted and produced by Nottingham-based Spool Films, while the app was designed by Oakley Mobile. Actors taking part included Elizabeth Berrington (Doctor Who, Waterloo Rd and The Crimson Petal) who played Queen Henrietta Maria and Notts-born Karl Collins (Hollyoaks, Youngers and Black Mirror) who took the role of John Americanus.
How to use the app
The app (see trailer below) is free and can be downloaded from Google Play or iTunes App Store by searching for NCWT. Once on your device open the application’s AR viewer and point it to a trigger image on storyboards along the trail. Technology does the rest, providing the cue for characters to spark into life. Also included in the app is an interactive map, time-line of the Civil War and a fabulous siege game. More exciting content can be unlocked if you visit the National Civil War Centre.
The £5.4m National Civil War Centre opens in the Old Magnus Building, Appletongate, Newark, on 3rd May after a major restoration scheme. The attraction, supported by £3.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is the first in the UK telling the epic story of the struggle between King and Parliament. Amazing artefacts, interactive displays, armour and exhibitions combine to provide a thrilling experience of these turbulent times for all the family. More details at www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com
Twitter: @ civilwarcentre