Introducing the world’s first wikimusical

The world’s first wikimusical project Xerxes’ Atlas based in Auckland will use Creative Commons licences to achieve a highly collaborative musical feat. The production team have now announced they’re ready for contributors from theatre lovers around the globe.

The story is based on biblical/Jewish tale and follows Esther in the ancient Persia. After finding herself caught up in a beauty pageant where the winner becomes Queen of King Xerxes’ massive empire, she wins the heart of the king only to discover a plot to declare a law of genocide against her own people.

The age-old story is set to be revived in a truly twenty first century breed of theatre production. “Xerxes’ Atlas is about community and collaboration on a scale not seen in modern times in theatre,” said 28-year old creator and production board member Jade Wood.

Once composers have signed up online, they are able to start contributing to storyboard and song briefs by adding to other people’s work-in-progress or craft their own Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licensed versions based on the briefs. Similar processes follow for the choreography and visual design elements whereby the internet community is invited to submit ideas and work with each other. A process of selection and polishing then takes place under the supervision of the show’s Board of Directors. The script is co-developed by two writers and once the product is complete, people are able to remix and change it for themselves.

The premiere will be live-streamed from Auckland and made available online under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommecial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand licence. The wikimuscial format means that a production could sound vastly different on Broadway than it is in the West End or even the West End a month after you saw it, since derivative versions are encouraged.

Chairwomen of the Xerxes’ Atlas Board, Bridget Marsh, said “declining theatre numbers, especially among younger generations, is a very real threat to the industry. We’re reaching out to a younger audience by developing a musical that connects with them through the internet and social media.”

“People can visit the website right now to read the song briefs and hear others’ contributions,” says Wood, “bringing a whole new audience around the world.”

Find out more about the project on their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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