Performance and the Virtual. Liveness and Intimacy in a Digital Age

Research Question:
As innovations in digital technologies continue to expand exponentially in quality, quantity and use, suggest how they may influence developments in theatre and subsequent understandings of theatre’s live presence and ability to intimately engage an audience in a digital age?
In my final year of my undergraduate degree I wrote my research dissertation. I wanted my research to contribute to not only current, but also possible future trends in the arts, looking into new ways how one accesses, interacts and performs in the arts. With thoughts that theatre in the twenty-first century in particular is perhaps an aging art form in comparison to film and television for example. Not only do concerns over geographical accessibility to theatres arise but also socio-economic difficulties are present to. Furthermore, future generations are turning to online ways to access entertainment, I look at how the theatre can do this as well in order to not be left behind.
A key factor in what makes theatre 'theatre' is the here and now aspect, the liveness to a performance. Audience and performer in the same space at the same time. I question and examine whether this is a fair anaylisis of what it means to be 'live' in a digital age and how the addition of different types of technologies, such as Augmented Realities and 360 degree video, provide new accessible ways to view and interact with the theatre.
I use three case studies to draw upon in my analysis, each using slightly different interactive technoligies. I describe each performance text and write critically the effects, imparticularly the effects surrounding intimacy, this has on an audience member. Would the addition of technology decrease or aid a performance's entertainment or educational value?  
What's Next?
I am exploring the possibility of writing a new short piece, inflenced by Bertolt Brechtt's style. I'd wish to combine his techniques with those of imersive technologies to continue my research into looking how audience's empathise and make decisions when they watch political theatre.
Please Note:
I would be happy and willing to share parts of my dissertation and full bibliography to any interested parties. Please contact me on my email:


  • National Theatre

    National Theatre

    • Performing Arts
  • Google


    • Technology
  • R

    Royal Holloway, University of London

    • J

      Jane Gauntlett

      • Royal Shakespeare Company

        Royal Shakespeare Company

        • Performing Arts


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      Graduate in BA Hons Drama and Theatre (1st Class)