About this Project

The Search for Digital Theatre

What you need to know about this project is that it is an evolving web site which stems from my online, journal, and in person research of digital theatre. Initially the web site was to feature links I found specifically on digital theatre, but after being introduced to the rich resource of the Digital Performance Archive -I felt compelled to glean what digital theatre projects were listed- and in the process developed basic criteria for what might be considered both digital and theatre. This is why you will find yes, no, and maybe responses to the theatrical nature of DPA entries.

This refers to my perceptions and does not place a value judgment as to the worthiness of these projects...just a thermometer to their relation to theatre. T, H, S, V (in the no section) stand for Technology, co-present Human minimum audience/performer, Structure (the message sender or performer is not obscured by intense levels of interactivity), and the Verbal element (which differentiates dance and other non-verbal art). This is simply meant to be a guide to the groups held within the DPA and will feature additional sources not listed. Additional information about this process was discussed in a paper for ASTR this past fall.

DPA Companion


Initially, working on this project I felt the need to determine what is/is not Digital Theatre…to save "theatre" from encroachment by other media (CDs, art, etc.) and consumption by all digital means of production. The term "live" while disputed in terms of human and computers- is still used by digital performers to describe the in house present human actor before his/her co-present audience. Given the conflicted terms and the fact that theatre has often described puppets and other non-live elements… I have decided to rethink my approach. It is no longer to doggedly declare what is or is not theatre, but to simply say that these are the areas which are most interesting to me and these productions the richest source of material when looking for hybrid digital/human productions which feature live and co-present audience, performers, and digital tools accompanied by the use of spoken words. Enjoy.

Process: Notes on the construction of this website.

Originally this research website was to be a log of the digital performances which I found through independent research. In addition to keyword searches (on the web as well as in journal databases) I spent a good deal of time examining telematic art and dance related sites such as Dance and Technology Zone and Riverbed, and collecting assets. Through a journal article, I was introduced to the Digital Performance Archive. At first I was crushed that here was a resource which had done everything I would like to (capturing sites and recorded resources on digital performance). Then I realized that as full as the archives are, they lack a certain degree of accessibility (through the search function - one must know what they are searching for) and a made no distinctions between theatre and other types of performance including dance, art or computer/robotic items. This was essential to my interests - the combination of the live present actor with digital elements.

To use the DPA as a either DPA collaborator or Group Name (maybe unable to find with out any Performance name)

Also use links

Simplified version of my spreadsheet/notes

Commend their work cataloguing and saving websites (beyond the resources of one - a team effort)

Keywords, search (Database=hidden, misconception later in process make it sortable.)

Why nos don't all have links, sample materials of what's on DPA, use names to search site

Began recording links for all DPA the for different yes' sake only maybes and yeses, for frees to use DPA name to search for yeses links

Cut info considerably from Excel Spreadsheets (screenshot)

Components of Performances which interest me contain, Liveness= Human co-presence, Directed = Structured vs. Interactivity, Verbal vs. AV, Tech

1) it has to involve digital Technology used in performance
2) It has to have at least minimal Human co-presence (formerly Liveness of performer and audience)
3) Must have a pre-determined Structure, vs. being totally interactive and without roles
4) Must contain Verbal elements (as well as visual, musical) to distinguish from other artistic areas THSV ….area of digital theatre

The Yeses and Maybes should climb as I make it through the DPA lists on to journals and other sources I've found, and am in progress of logging.

Maybes unmarked need more investigation.

Originally in the format of what is or is not digital theatre (see paper) since realized that this is not a determination for one person to make as theatre means so many things to so many people…instead emphasize what areas are most interesting to me, and most effective in combining fully present human actors and digital media. (Part of this realization came through the awareness of Futurist and other inanimate theatre as well as productions of dance theatre and performance art) This has turned the research project from proving what is and is not to what is most interesting, which is what I really wanted all along. Because of this change, I've reinterpreted the information accordingly, instead of being yes, no, maybe - the data now reflects a spectrum of intensity (almost hot, warm and cold in terms of interest, very interesting, mildly interesting, somewhat.)

Maybes also a sample of the data collected (sometimes blank HVST= more info was needed to determine, but not a definite yes)

Steps on collecting the information:

1. Last name of collaborator
2. Description
3. Visit Site (copy/ print off read relevant info)
4. determine as much as possible info on usefulness
5. repeat
6. Organize and thin data

Working through the process I discovered that I must distill info into what I felt was most important at different levels.

In hindsight, practitioner, is the most important info to gather in using DPA site.

It may have been more efficient to enter the information gathered directly into a web site, however, I was not sure how the information would sort out. (too many descriptions)

DPA- search = buggy? May have to use practitioner and keyword (title) to find the information.

(numbers N=126, M=67, Y=40)

Where possible I tried to improve on the directness of the DPA's links (connecting to a specific performance rather than an index page, you may check any broken links by going to that site's home page.)

No's I gave a concise description, maybes= sample of types of determining info which sent to y or n. Yeses= Fullest Descriptions.