Aardman Animations & University of Liverpool to develop immersive Shaun the Sheep experience

Aardman Animations Ltd., the award-winning UK studio, is collaborating with the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Architecture and Visual Arts (CAVA) to develop an immersive Shaun the Sheep experience for China.

Aardman Animations is pleased to announce that CAVA has secured over £500,000 of funding to develop an immersive Shaun the Sheep experience for China. The project is funded through the UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) Fund for International Collaboration (FIC).

CAVA won the support through the AHRC Research-Industry Creative Partnership, part of a new international programme that aims to build creative industry links between the UK and China.

A new way of storytelling

Professor Richard Koeck, Director of CAVA, says: “We are pleased to be working with Aardman – the UK’s leading, BAFTA and Oscar-winning animation studio – and the prestigious Shanghai Theatre Academy to develop a genuinely new cinematic, AI-driven, spatially immersive way of  storytelling that will have the potential to transform family entertainment experiences in China and globally.”

This new project will mean that people of all ages will be able to interact with the much-loved character in a completely new way. During the experience, they will be immersed into a classic Shaun the Sheep adventure with Chinese cultural values, without needing any equipment such as headsets, gloves or mobile devices.

Stephanie Owen, Senior Producer at Aardman, says: “At Aardman, finding new and innovative ways to tell stories is at the forefront, so we’re delighted to enable family audiences in Shanghai to experience Shaun the Sheep through AI. We’re keen to see how these developments might lead to new opportunities in family entertainment centres, theme parks and visitor attractions throughout China.”

New ties and collaborations

This project, which aims to strengthen cultural and creative ties between the UK and China, will receive £500,000 from the UKRI/AHRC. It is also expected to receive additional combined cash and in-kind contribution of around £580,000 from partners in both countries. The total project value will be £1.08 million.

Three academic partners will be working together to make the project a reality. These are the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the Shanghai Theatre Academy (STA). It also has industry partners in Aardman, the Media Industry Association and Digital Fun and is supported by the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC).

The Shaun the Sheep: Immersive Experience project is led by Professor Richard Koeck, alongside Pete Woodbridge (Liverpool John Moores University), Dr Shan Luo (University of Liverpool) and Stephanie Owen (Senior Producer, Aardman).

Aardman Animations also recently announced the opening of Fabula, a new 4D film adventure located at Efteling, the popular fairytale theme park in the south of Holland.