HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ Gets Companion Social VR Experience ‘Sanctum’

Series of three virtual reality events will take 100 invited guests into a world inspired by the show and be available for streaming on YouTube Live

Last Updated: September 1, 2020 @ 9:01 AM

HBO is launching a social VR experience tied to its new Misha Green-created sci-fi series “Lovecraft Country,” the pay TV channel said Tuesday.

Called “Lovecraft Country: Sanctum​,” the experience will consist of “a series of exclusive virtual reality events transporting invited guests into a world inspired by the show.” And while not everyone will be able to participate in the VR events, everyone will be able to stream them.

Here’s how it will work, per HBO:

“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.”

“Sanctum” guests will experience voiceover performances by “Lovecraft Country” stars 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, according to HBO.

“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 of 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.”

“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,” according to the pay TV channel.

“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,” added ​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.”

“Lovecraft Country” fans can view “Sanctum” via ​YouTube Live​ during the following dates and times and head over to lovecraftsanctum.com for additional information.

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

“Lovecraft Country” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.