Dragon Experience Design Lab (DXDL) is a platform for exploration and innovation. Drawing on our varied backgrounds and the richness of theatrical traditions, the team at DXDL are obsessed with asking
“What are ALL the things that theatre can accomplish in the 21st century?”

To achieve our mission of serving the community and fostering artistic empowerment, DXDL aims to devise indelible experiences which connect with and create lasting impacts on the audience and break through the constant noise of the “information age.”

By investing in and partnering with projects that ask audience members to connect with an experience in a new or unfamiliar way, DXDL aims to expand the notion of what theatre looks like and who participates in it. Connecting the vast experience of Dragon staff and collaborators to the wide range of theatrical forms that exist, our ultimate goal is to lay down a foundation for future generations that theatre can be for everyone, and that skills developed and possessed by theatre artists are invaluable for applications beyond the stage.


What makes a project part of DXDL?

Audience
Experience

DXDL prioritizes the journey and experience of the audience member, from the first interaction on our website to the post-show thank you email. Considering the many parts that the audience can play (witness, participant, instigator, disruptor), DXDL seeks to expand the accepted norms of contemporary theatre audiences and challenge the conventional approach to theatrical storytelling by considering the entire journey of the audience member.

Innovation

Drawing on the full breadth of theatrical forms, techniques, experiences from around the world and through history, DXDL aims to revitalize and adapt them into contemporary theatre practice while integrating emerging and established technologies. Digging deep into the rich history and traditions of theatre, DXDL focuses on creating new forms and utilizing technologies as they serve the contemporary audience experience and contribute to the overall storytelling of the encounter.

Process

This is User Experience (UX) Design...for Audiences. Many of the same standards of UX and the Scientific Method are applied in the creation of DXDL content. We understand a need, and make a hypothesis on how to fulfill it through story and the interface(s) through which it is told. We do our research. We wireframe, prototype, and experiment. We analyze. And after we launch, we analyze again. Through these methods we seek to create experiences which are as intuitive as your favorite apps, and as proven as well-tested science.

Real-World Application

DXDL brings together like-minded people from different backgrounds and disciplines to build up our collective knowledge and empower artists to solve the critical challenges faced by humanity in the 21st century. We aim to expand the role that the theatre arts play in society by transcending traditional theatre applications and utilizing the full breadth of skills sets possessed by theatre practitioners.

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Upcoming Projects


The Creature Podcast

Think you know the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster? Trevor Allen’s The Creature strips the monster classic of the melodrama and neck-bolts, and instead presents the tale in the style of a classic radio play. Listen each week as the team behind The Creature creates an aurally stunning experience using binaural recording technology to relay the story of a brilliant, but ethically questionable scientist, and the monstrous, yet sympathetic, creature he creates. Originally slated to be a staged production in the Dragon’s 2020 season, the project was re-imagined for the audio-only experience due to COVID-19.

LEARN MORE


The Signal Tower

Where do you find hope when none seems to exist? In this companion piece to the Pear Theatre’s highly imaginative presentation of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood;  The Signal Tower is a large-scale virtual immersive experience hosted on Gather that explores our shared humanity through the lens of a impending human extinction. Part immersive-play, part post-apocalyptic “renaissance festival,” this experience will be available for a limited 2-weekend run at the beginning of May 2021. Featuring partnerships with Cirque de la Luna and Taiko with San Jose Taiko. More info coming soon!

Coming Soon!


Thea L’Anna

Something’s not quite right in the arthropod world, and Science needs your help to find out why. As courageous volunteers in cutting edge research, you and your fellow humans are invited to super secret Nomtanso Laboratories, where the state-of-the-art Shrinker Machine (patent pending) will send you on a bug-sized recon adventure to find out what has happened to the pesky pests little critters at the bottom of the food chain. However, what, or rather, who awaits may surprise you. How will your research play out? Will you find Thea L’Anna?  

This is a playful interactive tale about the myriad of ways we experience grief, and the opportunities we have to help each other through it. Hosted on the Gather.town proximity chat platform, audiences of 20 will set out to uncover the mystery of Thea L’Anna in a branching narrative adventure story with light escape room-like puzzling elements, surprising characters, and poetic dialogue. This is part show, part game; something like a mix between Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Pokémon Red if it were written by T.S. Elliot. Don’t miss this soul-stirring experience. We’ve shared so much grief together, it’s worth sharing the recovery too.

Coming Summer 2021!


Meet Nate Card, Director of Experience Design

Nathanael is a theatre and virtual events professional. Among his occupations are producing, directing, scenic design and scenic art, lighting design and electrics, and occasionally performing. Before relocating to Oakland, CA in 2014, he was a company member with Chicago’s CollaborAction Theatre Company, where he designed interactive experiences for Electric Forest Music Festival, The Art Institute of Chicago, City of Chicago DCASE, and others; and technical directed the first Chicago Parks tour of Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology, which eventually became Peacebook. At Dragon, he has designed scenic and lighting for a number of shows, including The Nether, Shoggoths on the Veldt, and The Revolutionists; he has produced and directed AJ’s Virtual Party, and the multi-voice video poem “We Howl,” and has designed a number of maps for Dragon’s virtual events on the Gather.town proximity chat platform, including Party at the End of the World, and Redwood City Park & Arts’ Family Camp-In Campout. He also serves on the board for TigerBear Productions. Artistic inspiration for Nathanael often comes from nature, literature, games, and the evolution of human technology.