Mozilla have closed down the Mozilla Hubs platform that HAYDN SPACE OPERA was built on, so the piece’s future after 31 May 2024 is uncertain. For now, there are walkthroughs of some of the rooms available on my YouTube channel

This page is preserved for archival purposes, and in case I manage to reconstruct the piece in Hubs Community Edition (not as simple as it sounds!)

  1. Recommendations (mobile phones, vertigo)
  3. Moving around & communicating with others
  4. If you get lost…
  5. Feedback/Questions



Mobile phones: While HAYDN SPACE OPERA can be accessed on mobile devices, for performance reasons it is not recommended. Video walkthroughs are available here (YouTube playlist) if you are experiencing difficulties »

Vertigo: Virtual reality has been known to trigger vertigo in some users. If this is of concern to you, note that only one room – ‘The Apocalypse’ – has no ‘floor’ plane (that is, you appear to be flying through infinite space). Not enabling flying will prevent accidentally passing through the ‘floor’ of other rooms.



HAYDN SPACE OPERA is an always-open piece created on the Mozilla Hubs online virtual reality platform. It considers generative spaces of the composer’s practice – her notebooks, rehearsal rooms with her Bastard Assignments colleagues, cafés where she writes about pieces in progress – and the piling up of ideas, which are sometimes closely tied to the environment they are generated in. Every permanent element of the rooms you explore has some relationship to the piece’s genesis.

The experience of HAYDN SPACE OPERA is different for every visit, being shaped by the way the visitor moves through the spaces, experiencing localised and roomwide audio, turning sounds on and off.

As HAYDN SPACE OPERA uses an open-source, always-in-development platform, that sometimes things break that I am not aware of. If something feels broken to you, please consider sending me some feedback so I can check it out and if need be lodge a bug fix request.


Moving around & communicating with others

HAYDN SPACE OPERA can be navigated with a keyboard and mouse, by touchscreen devices (mobile possible but not recommended), or with VR hardware.

The basic controls for keyboard/mouse use are:

  • Turn: Click and hold the left mouse button or use the Q and E keys
  • Move: Arrow keys or WASD keys. Hold down SHIFT to move faster
  • Fly: type   /fly   into the chat to toggle flying on or off. Most rooms allow flying

Full control guides for all devices can be found here (opens in a new tab or window for easy reference while in the piece).

Joining rooms & using links

The piece consists of several ‘rooms’, each of which needs to be ‘joined’ to move around it (if you click ‘Spectate’ instead of ‘Join’ you will be able to hear and see the room but not move around or interact with objects).

Links to other rooms take the form of panels which display a preview image of the room they link to. Hovering your cursor over the panel reveals a button – click to enter, then Join the room, set up your audio and avatar (name and a visual form to represent you to others in the room) if prompted. Once you’ve clicked through all this, you should find yourself in the new room so start exploring! All rooms contain a link to return to the central ‘Warm-Up Room’ where you entered the piece.

Communicating with others

You can talk with other visitors if their avatars are near you in the room, but otherwise please keep microphones muted. Text chat – accessible by clicking the Chat button at the bottom of the screen – will reach everyone in the room you are in.

If you get lost…

The exit – as on a plane – may be behind you. If you can’t find it, though, just close the browser tab, come back here and enter again. Reload as often as you need it, but if this is happening a lot, please consider contacting me to let me know.


Feedback & questions

HAYDN SPACE OPERA is part of my PhD research – any feedback you have about your experience of the piece (positive or negative) will be gratefully received. If you have comments, questions or problems, please contact me by email or social media.


Concept, programming and artwork: Caitlin Rowley
Performances by Bastard Assignments – Caitlin Rowley, Timothy Cape, Edward Henderson and Josh Spear

Huge thanks to my colleagues in Bastard Assignments, whose performances and conversation make up the bulk of this work, and whose assistance as I reimagined this piece as a purely online experience has been invaluable. Thanks, too, to my supervisors, James Saunders and Robert Luzar, and the other members of Open Scores Lab at Bath Spa University, who provided very helpful testing feedback and suggestions. And giant ducks all over the Warm-Up Room.

Thanks, too, to the places represented here: Centre 151 in Haggerston, London where we recorded most of the audio material and The Premises Studios in Hackney, London where the rest of it was captured; Replay Espresso café in Turramurra, Sydney where several of the notebook pages used here were created and the coffee videos were filmed; the Illy Café near South Kensington tube station in London was the venue for the writing video; and of course the homes of Bastard Assignments members where additional material was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The premiere of HAYDN SPACE OPERA was presented by Bath Spa University’s SparkFest digital festival, 10-23 May 2021.
Between 21 and 30 August 2021 it was presented by Electric Medway festival as part of their Showcase programme.

part of Electric Medway, 21-30 August 2021