HomeNewsProjection mapping theatre set to wow audiences

Projection mapping theatre set to wow audiences

By UCOL on Thursday, 20 July 2023

Phillip Andrews - UCOL Lecturer

An upcoming projection mapping show promises to treat audiences to a unique augmented reality experience, while also showcasing talented artists from the Manawatū.

HIGH-LIGHT - Projection Mapping Theatre, created by UCOL Senior Design Lecturer Phillip Andrews (pictured above), will run at Globe Theatre from August 17 to 19.

HIGH-LIGHT will combine animation, film, photography, illustration, AI-generated images, and music into a cinematic experience where images will pop out at the audience in 3D.

Images will be projected onto a purpose-designed set (pictured below) made out of corflute and Hologauze, a highly reflective fabric that supports 3D projection. The set measures nine metres wide and three metres high, and incorporates shapes and angles that are optimal for projection mapping.

"I played around with a lot of designs for the set. The end design allows us to make images look like they're on a flat screen and, at other times, pop out at the audience," says Andrews.

3D model of the HiGH-LIGHT stage set

The Palmerston North City Council events department has loaned two projectors for the show, which will be pumping out 32,000 lumens of light.

"The city council has these amazing projectors, but what they need is content creators to make use of them. The aim of the show is to provide an opportunity for local artists to show off their work in a new and exciting way," says Andrews.

The name HIGH-LIGHT refers to the powerful projectors used in the show, as well as the show's purpose of highlighting the established and immerging artists from the Manawatū.


The show will feature the work of 23 artists who are either based in the Manawatū or have connections to the region. Many of the artists have either studied or taught at UCOL.

Among the UCOL graduates involved is Mikal Carter, a.k.a SwiftMantis, who has built a reputation for his hyper-realistic murals. One of his most notable murals is the 3-story portrait of a local stray cat, which he painted on the back of the Grand Hotel building.

"I've been sitting on a lot of great drone footage from my mural work over the past few years, and thought HIGH-LIGHT would be a great opportunity to put it all together in a show-reel," says Carter.

"I'm excited to see the projection mapping in action. Phill has such a vibrant creative energy, so I already know it is going to be amazing"

All of the artists will be paid for their contribution thanks to funding from Earle Creativity Trust.

HIGH-LIGHT is doubling as a research output for Andrews, who has been exploring the possibilities of projection mapping for the past decade.

"As a teacher, it's my job to keep up with the latest trends in design and learn how to use new technology. Being able to pass on these skills and knowledge to our Bachelor of Creative Media learners ensures that they keep pushing boundaries and have the tools to make an impact in the industry when they graduate."   


HIGH-LIGHT - Projection Mapping Theatre

When: Thursday 17 August – Saturday 19 August, 7pm

Where: Globe Theatre, Palmerston North

Price: $6. Tickets are available online here, or at the Globe Theatre box office.

Sponsored by Earle Creativity Trust. Supported by Palmerston North City Council and UCOL | Te Pūkenga


Artists who have contributed work to HIGH-LIGHT:

Mikal Carter –  illustrator, designer, mural artist, tattooist *

Victoria White – 3D animator/illustrator *

Philip Sue – Illustrator *

Niamh Mora — videographer * 

Luke Turfrey — videographer

Meshach Kirifi – illustrator *

Alistair Thom — videographer *

Kane Parsons – musician **

Dan West — video artist **

Leanne Miller – photographer **

Lisa Purda – mixed media artist

Callum Coacher – musician

Carson Taare — musician

Hayden Lauridson — musician

Nathan Lauridson — musician

Jonathan Couper-Smatt — musician

Leanne Bodell — writer/poet

Karen Liu — 3D animator ***

Jack Doyle — 3D animator ***

Connor Watson — augmented reality/AI video ***

Floor Schalk – videographer ***

Albert McCarthy – mixed media artist (also doing a karakia)

Tracey Underwood – mixed media artist (also doing a karakia)


* UCOL graduate

** UCOL kaimahi (staff)

*** Current UCOL akōnga (learner)