Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Virtual theatres
Clarisse Bardiot
2nd Author
3rd Author
Ph. D.
Number of Pages
Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris 3) / CNRS (Arias lab)
Thesis Supervisor
Béatrice Picon-Vallin
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
performing arts
Languages Familiar to Author
French, English, Spanish
URL where full thesis can be found
theatre, new media, presence, telepresence, augmented stage, virtual, stage design, dramaturgy, spectator, actor, body
Abstract: 200-500 words
As their main characteristic feature, virtual theatres proceed by using computer language. They now form a body of international pieces which, according to their authors, partake of theatre and include a number of productions designed either for the World Wide Web or for the stage, as well as immersive set-ups, installations, CD-ROMs, etc. Drawing on this corpus, the purpose of this dissertation is to examine how digital technologies and telecommunication networks affect theatre. Indeed, virtual theatres provide an incentive to rethink the basic components of modern occidental theatre — space, actors and spectators, writing and directing for the stage. ‘Moiré’ set designs, make it impossible to distinguish between the actor and the space, which is always made up of digital data and material elements. Arguably, the digital dimension is crucial towards a redefinition and a reappraisal of the actor’s and the spectator’s positions. Also, the presence of the body is a key aspect of virtual theatres, whether it be the body of the actor-as-‘subjectile’ (making interactivity tangible and breathing life into digital automata) or the body of the spectator-as-performer and the spectator-as-onlooker (whose action and multimodal perception lead to a synaesthetic experience). That is why the concept of presence seems more relevant than the concept of interactivity, as exemplified by the different writing strategies used in virtual theatres (animated text, hypermedia writing, procedural writing…). In each and every component of virtual theatres, two notions keep recurring, flux and the envelope, as they contribute to define a dramaturgy of the paramorph. Ultimately, what is at stake is no longer how to design a shape, but how to determine its variables, its components, and their relationships.