Lovecraft Country Sanctum: HBO Launches Exclusive Social VR Experience
To celebrate the highly anticipated new series Lovecraft Country, HBO has announced Lovecraft Country: Sanctum, a series of exclusive virtual reality events transporting invited guests into a world inspired by the show. The series airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and is available to stream on HBO Max. You can check out a teaser for Sanctum in the player below!
In a first-of-its-kind, groundbreaking social VR event series, 100 select influential voices will experience three events consisting of immersive theater, escape rooms, art installations, puzzles, and a live concert, via the Oculus Quest headset, all inspired by Lovecraft Country. The events will be simultaneously run on the social VR platform VRChat, which allows guests to talk and interact with each other in real-time within the environment, and streamed to the world via YouTube Live. Viewers on the YouTube Live stream will be able to interact in real-time, solving riddles to trigger spells that directly impact the experience.
“We were very inspired by the deeply layered and dynamic world Misha Green has brought to life in Lovecraft Country and wanted to create a digital experience for fans that is just as innovative as the series itself,” said Dana Flax, Vice President, Program Marketing at HBO. “We’re so thrilled to be partnering with The Mill on creating a virtual reality ‘secret society’ in Sanctum. So much of Lovecraft Country is rooted in the idea of travel as a catalyst for self-discovery. Sanctum provides a way for fans to come together virtually and safely in a unique new place and experience incredible performances that further explore themes and ideas from the show. These virtual events also give us the special opportunity of spotlighting the work of Black artists in celebration of this very important series.”
Guests will experience voiceover performances by series’ Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance, and Michael Kenneth Williams; afrofuturist art installations by David Alabo, Devan Shimoyama, and Adeyemi Adegbesan; a theatrical performance inspired by the words of James Baldwin, adapted by Lovecraft Country writer Shannon Houston, and performed by star Jurnee Smollett; and an exclusive VR concert given by a soon to be announced artist.
Sanctum was developed in partnership with HBO by creative production partner and experience studio The Mill, whose team of artists, coders, and strategists developed the experience during global lockdown, in close collaboration with HBO’s marketing team.
“We created Sanctum as a space to expand the possibilities of what the future of theatre, games, art installations, concerts, and live events can be,” said Rama Allen, Executive Creative Director at The Mill and lead creative on the Sanctum experience. “It is an alternate universe, built for Social VR, that tests, and exceeds, the boundaries of what we believe possible. We sought to create a space in partnership with Black artists and voices that centers on the Black experience. We chose Social VR because it is the most transportive medium to lift us from the isolation of quarantine, to coexist in a rarefied location. This technology can erase geography to bring us together.”
You can view Sanctum via YouTube Live during the following dates and times this Fall:
Event #1: Garden of Eden
Thursday, September 3
10:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM PT
Event #2: An American Dream
Thursday, September 24
10:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM PT
Event #3: Music of the Cosmos
Monday, October 19
10:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM PT
Based on author Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
The ensemble cast is led by Jonathan Majors (White Boy Rick) as Atticus Black, Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey) as Letitia Dandridge, Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story) as George Black, Wunmi Mosaku (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) as Ruby Dandridge, Aunjanue Ellis (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Hippolyta Black, Michael Kenneth Williams (Hap & Leonard) as Montrose Freeman, Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road) as Christina Braithwhite, and Tony Goldwyn (Scandal) as Samuel Braithwhite. Also starring Jamie Harris (Rise of the Planets of Apes) as Eustace Hunt, Jamie Chung (The Gifted) as Ji-Ah, Jordan Patrick Smith as William, Jamie Neumann as Hillary, Erica Tazel as Dora Freeman, and Mac Brandt as Lancaster.
Lovecraft Country is executive produced by Misha Green, who also serves as showrunner, J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele, Bill Carraro, Yann Demange (who also directed Episode 1), Daniel Sackheim (who also directed Episodes 2 and 3) and David Knoller (executive producer on Episode 1); based on the novel by Matt Ruff.