An ESRC placement at an app development company led to a 300 per cent increase in turnover and major expansion of the business.


  • The ESRC placement provided crucial input to the development of 'White The App' for digital developer Hippotrix, by analysing early-years apps and developing a framework comparing theatre and apps
  • ESRC support was instrumental in getting additional funding from Creative Scotland to support the expansion of Hippotrix as a company
  • As a result Hippotrix increased turnover by 300 per cent for 2013/14, expanded their development team, and collaborated with major new UK partners
  • Following the launch of White the App, Hippotrix are developing five new apps
  • The placement enabled Ben Fletcher-Watson to develop a general framework for early-years apps to be used by theatre companies and digital developers.

About the research

In 2013 Catherine Wheels Theatre Company commissioned the East Lothian app developer Hippotrix to create an app for mobile tablet computers inspired by the theatre play White. It was intended to complement the theatre production, while also appealing to new audiences unfamiliar with the play.

Ben Fletcher-Watson, a graduate student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying early-years theatre, joined Hippotrix on a six month ESRC placement to work on the development of early-years app and specifically White The App. The placement was followed by a studentship with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and industry sponsors Imaginate and Starcatchers, where Ben is examining the development of best practices for theatre for pre-school children. Both the placement and studentship are part of the ESRC research grant Creative Industries Scotland: Capitalising on Creativity.