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Pioneering the future of live performance with a new R&D lab

Posted on 22 November 2023

Experts at the University of York are redefining live events with the CoSTAR LiveLAB, a brand new state-of-the-art research and development facility at Production Park in Wakefield.

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The LiveLAB is a core component of CoSTAR, the £75.6m UK R&D network for creative technology, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation. Led by the University of York, CoSTAR LiveLAB brings together a team of experts committed to advancing the creative industries through cutting-edge applied research.

Facilities will include spaces dedicated to developing new technologies for screen, stage and into the metaverse. The lab will leverage novel R&D in virtual production technologies including computer generated imagery (CGI), spatial audio, motion capture and extended reality (XR) to create groundbreaking live performance experiences. 

“The LiveLAB is poised to be at the forefront of innovation for live events,” says Professor Gavin Kearney, Lab Director and professor of audio engineering at the University of York. “We’re combining York’s research expertise with industry, public and third sector partners who are all dedicated to innovation in live performance.”

“The way we experience live performances will be completely transformed over the next decade” adds Professor Helena Daffern, LiveLAB’s Co-Director and professor of music science at the University of York. “Imagine a live concert of your favourite artists where every member of the audience can shape their own unique audio-visual experience. You’ll have the ability to engage with every aspect of a production wherever you are, be it in the arena or the comfort of your own living room.”

The CoSTAR LiveLAB will also significantly contribute to the growth of the UK economy and job market. “Early next year we’ll launch our Access Programme,” says Professor Kearney. “That will incubate startups, accelerate creative industry organisations and deliver training programmes around next generation live performance technologies.”

The lab is located at Production Park, Europe’s largest campus of companies dedicated to innovation in live performance. It’s supported by the networking expertise of Vodafone, as well as production support and skills development from Screen Yorkshire. Business development is supported by Wakefield Council and the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. 

Production Park CEO Lee Brooks says: "We are delighted to be joining the University of York in leading this work, which will push innovation in the entertainment industry. It’s a proud moment for Yorkshire and the North as we continue in our ambition to make Production Park a global hub for the creative industry."

CoSTAR LiveLAB includes a dynamic partnership with key industry players, including Sony Interactive Entertainment, Opera North, TAIT, Megaverse and the recently established Tileyard North.

Further information:

About CoSTAR

The convergent screen technologies and performance in realtime (CoSTAR) programme provides researchers, companies and institutions across the UK with the infrastructure they need to conduct world-class research and development (R&D) in screen and performance technology.

CoSTAR will support the design, development and creation of state-of-the-art facilities, resources and expertise to underpin the long-term competitiveness of the UK’s screen and performance sectors.

Established with £75.6 million of funding and delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the CoSTAR national network comprises a National Lab, three Network Labs and a Foresight Lab.

More information about CoSTAR


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