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Digital Culture Award Winner Case Study: Dante or Die
In this article
Dante or Die is an award-winning theatre company specialising in creating and touring unique site-specific performances and experimenting with digital productions. Their mission is to bring communities together creatively to confront knotty contemporary topics and inspire people to see every day local spaces in a new light.
They won the Digital Content category in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards for their interactive short film Odds On.
The winning project
Odds On is an interactive short film that fuses narrative, gameplay, and animation and which was created in collaboration with people with lived experiences of gambling harm across the UK. It invites the audience to play an online slot machine game, alongside the protagonist, Felicity, watching as she becomes more and more immersed in the seductive slots.
Collaboration took the lead in the development and distribution of this project. The company undertook a significant research & development phase, facilitating workshops with people in recovery from gambling harm and inviting them to be part of a creative advisory group. They built interactivity and accessibility into the dramaturgy of the production, bringing together theatre makers, technologists, web developers and animators to create an impactful immersive experience.
Dante or Die took a multi-pronged approach to distribution, partnering with cinemas and cultural venues to screen the film for free, and also experimenting with interactive, digital screenings alongside panel discussions featuring experts in gambling harm and those with lived experience. In a piece of ingenious marketing, they took advantage of ‘in-site’ social media advertising, meaning the film pops up mid game for those playing online gambling apps within Facebook – their desired audience!
From a solid research base and working in collaboration with people with lived experience of gambling harm, Dante or Die have experimented successfully with form to create a work that elicits real empathy and in doing so have created a valuable resource that they’ve worked diligently to embed in service provision where the work can achieve the greatest impact.Derek Richards, Digital Content Judge
Dante or Die’s Odds On project showcases their commitment to technological innovation and creative storytelling. Their work demonstrates the power of creative digital media to spark important conversations and inspire new perspectives on contemporary issues.
Let’s catch up with Terry O’Donovan, Dante or Die Co-Artistic Director, to learn more about the company’s digital ambitions and the legacy of Odds On.
What have you learned?
Working with people with lived experience of the subject matter (gambling harm) was the most integral part of creating authenticity, and meaningful connection with audiences as a result.
Digitally, the most important thing we’ve learned is that the long-term impacts of the project can continue to grow and develop.
Would you have done anything differently?
I think it would be about distribution. We’ve had brilliant partnerships with arts venues, with varying degrees of reach, so allocating more resource to finding other distribution opportunities/platformin, as well as to marketing resources, could aid this element of reaching more audiences.
Has the project impacted your strategy or ambitions?
The project has inspired us artistically to create more digital work. Odds On is now being used in gambling recovery treatments centres on a year-long project, facilitated by our animator/editor and lead actress. Using the film in this way is really exciting. We’ll be making a short animated film as a response to the workshops.
As a direct result of this impact and success, we’re building new artistic projects that can allow us to show digital work in prisons and in hospice settings, alongside creative activity for participants.
What’s next on your digital journey?
We’re making a short animated film as a result of our creative workshop programmes in Gordon Moody residential treatment centres. Following that we’ll make a hybrid animation/live action short about the first same-sex marriage to take place in a UK prison; and an interactive experience about assisted dying.
About the Digital Content category
Digital Content celebrates an organisation’s innovative use of digital technology to create and distribute creative and cultural content into homes, venues and community spaces, demonstrating how innovation in digital content has had a positive impact on your goals and audiences. Dante or Die were the category winners in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards with their entry Odds On – an interactive short film about gambling harm.
2023 Digital Culture Award Winners
Meet and be inspired by more of the brilliant Winners in the 2023 Digital Culture Awards. The nine categories celebrate innovation in areas including digital content creation and distribution, online audience engagement, digital income development strategies, data-led decision-making and overall commitment to digital skills development and capacity building.
Looking to brush up your digital content skills?
The Digital Culture Network can help! Our digital experts can provide free 1-2-1 support to all creative and cultural individuals and organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help with a specific issue or would just like to chat about your digital ambitions, please get in touch.
Learn more about DaDa’s 'Digital Transformation' winning research & development project, which explored the use of augmented reality holograms to provide BSL interpretation for non-traditional theatre.
Learn about Julie Nicholson and her work at Digital Voice to amplify the voices of marginalised people and groups. Julie was named the 'Digital Ambassador' category Winner for the DigitalMe project.
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