Technology Meets Storytelling: How Can XR Shift our Perspectives?

“This sector doesn’t currently exist, we’re kind of the first people doing it. This intersection hasn’t really been explored yet. The tech combined with the storytelling combined with ancient wellness techniques all comes together to essentially give you this massive perspective shift.”

Hatch graduate Andrew Richardson is on a mission to harness cutting edge technology to promote positive change through challenging entrenched beliefs and shifting audience perspectives. 

A lofty goal, and something that seemed out of reach fifteen years ago when he first began exploring the psychological power of a truly immersive theatre experience, but thanks to developments across the extended reality (XR) sector this is no longer a theoretical undertaking.

XR refers to a number of methods by which technology intersects with reality including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). Through utilising this cutting edge technology alongside proven psychological techniques and impact storytelling Andrew is building a business that will facilitate immersive experiences on a grand scale: Chaos Incarnate.

Chaos Incarnate

‘We believe that storytelling can change the world’. That is the claim on the Chaos Incarnate website from Andrew and his co-founder Stacia Pfeiffer. The business sits at the intersection of technology, wellness, and theatre, creating an innovative theatrical experience which is designed to shift the audience’s perception.

Chaos Inc launched its inaugural installation for Mental Health Awareness Week this May: Monolith. This reactive installation, based around social anxiety, used a combination of collaborative technologies to mimic the effects of anxiety and overstimulation, increasing in intensity as more people entered the space. 

In collaboration with digital artist Jack Dartford and sound designer Halina Rice the piece was designed to raise awareness and provide an insight into the experiences of people who struggle with their mental health. Over 80% of those surveyed after experiencing Monolith stated that their perspective on anxiety had shifted as a result.

This is only the beginning – with investment Andrew plans to scale up the experience provided by Chaos Inc and launch a fully immersive show. Sitting at the cutting edge of new technologies and psychological research the team is well positioned to leverage these fields to make a real impact.

Andrew's Founder Journey

Headshot of Andrew on a dark background

The journey to launching Chaos Inc was a winding one.

The idea was sparked over a decade ago in an architecture lecture exploring the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries whereby initiates to the cult would traverse an underground cave system, journeying through as if it were the actual Underworld and emerging in a form of rebirth. 

The idea of this immersive experience tied to ancient traditions and spiritual awakenings was an appealing one, but it did not seem feasible at the time to create this in a meaningful, realistic, and impactful way. 

What followed for Andrew was a creative career spanning set design, modelling, and film production, eventually leading to the virtual production sector where he was engaging with the newest technology in film. This rekindled his dormant interest in immersive theatre, and presented an exciting opportunity to finally bring his dream to life.

Joining forces with virtual production producer Stacia, who brought with her a wealth of expertise from a career in live events, Chaos Inc was born. 

“It was just one of those beautiful spontaneous things where everything just fell into place and clicked.”

The Hatch Launchpad Programme

The idea was there, as well as the expertise, but Andrew wanted to be fully prepared before facing investors and decided to join the Hatch Launchpad programme to get a thorough grounding in business knowledge and theory.

A picture from the Monolith installation showing a dark background with lots of bright lights.

He was accepted onto a cohort in May 2023 as part of the New Founder Programme sponsored by Pizza Hut.

“It just seemed to fit the bill perfectly and it’s been a really amazing experience. It was a really great high level overview of each of the areas of each segment of how to run the business.”

Andrew really benefited from direct access to experts who were able to break down concepts in simple, applicable ways, and the structure provided by the programme which balanced his natural creative tendency to want to pursue a range of exciting ideas.

The next step for the business is investment, which will enable Andrew and Stacia to bring their concept to life not only in London, but globally too.

Chaos Incarnate

Discover more about Andrew and Stacia's business and how you can get in touch.
Black and white headshot of Andrew
Headshot of Stacia

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