17 Jun 2024

UK’s biggest immersive VR experience to launch in Birmingham

In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats Phil McNulty.jpg

In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats, the award-winning interactive VR adventure that transports you into the heart of the Acid House movement, is heading on a national tour opening at Waterhall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from 19 July. 

The VR experience, produced by East City Films and created by Darren Emerson, will visit eight cities across the UK with Birmingham opening the tour. 

The tour is jointly supported by Arts Council England and BFI National Lottery Audience Projects Fund.

The experience will take audiences back in time to the beginning of the Acid House movement and the creation of UK rave culture telling a multicultural story of collaboration and unity that celebrates music, friendship, and the joy of youth.

‘Beats uses Virtual Reality (VR) technology to fully immerse audiences in a one-hour multi-sensory interactive experience that is awash with meticulous period detail. It surrounds participants with the sounds, senses, and the thrill of being young (again).  

'Beats was produced with the support of the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, and Coventry City of Culture Trust. Following its world premiere and sell-out run as part of the 2022 Coventry UK City of Culture, ‘Beats travelled on the international festival circuit and was seen by audiences across the globe at festivals such as BFI London Film Festival, South by Southwest Festival, Austin; Melbourne International Film Festival; IDFA Amsterdam and Geneva International Film Festival.

‘Beats has won four high-profile VR awards including the Location-Based VR Entertainment of the Year at the VR Awards 2023, the DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction at IDFA 2022, the Anidox: VR Award at the Viborg Animation Festival 2023, followed by winning the Best Film & Digital: Interactive Award at Adelaide Fringe in 2024.

Returning to the UK for its homecoming tour, ‘Beats launches at Waterhall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from 19 July until 1 September 2024.

Following the VR experience there will be a dedicated display containing archive, flyers, posters, photography, and objects exploring the local rave scene connected to the venue’s city.

The creative team behind ‘Beats spent time making the experience fully accessible to wheelchair users with a seated version and d/Deaf audiences with subtitles, Haptics (vibration), Access Packs, VR Explainer and scene descriptions and Touch Tour.

To further enhance the experience, East City Films has partnered with Woojer. Woojer’s innovative haptic vests will add to the multi-sensory journey, immersing users in a vibrant auditory landscape and enhancing accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing community. This collaboration aims to deliver an inclusive experience that resonates deeply with all audiences.

Tickets will go on sale on 6 June for In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats at Waterhall at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery HERE.

Director Darren Emerson, East City Films said: “The response to ‘Beats has been overwhelming; seeing people emerge from VR moved and excited and wanting to connect with each other has been so rewarding.  After success touring Internationally, I’m delighted we are now bringing ‘Beats back to the UK, to connect with the audiences that were shaped in some way by the cultural revolution that was Acid House. 

“For us to start the tour in the West Midlands is a particularly special homecoming.”

Sara Wajid, Co-CEO, Birmingham Museums Trust said: "In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats is simply one of the most fun experiences I've ever had. I knew after trying the experience and the amount of joy I felt that we had to be a part of bringing this experience to the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands.”

Photo credit: Phil McNulty

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