“Make it so…”: Communal augmented reality and the future of theatre and performance

Shane Pike

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Digital technology continues to change and transform the way audiences interact with art and entertainment. The impact that streaming devices and high-definition recording equipment has had on the actor’s craft, in particular, is irreversible and the increasing prevalence of digitally rendered characters and animated stories has changed the performative storytelling landscape forever. This paper reflects on the increasing evolution of reality-augmenting technologies and proposes how these might influence and benefit the development of theatre arts and live, dramatic performance. It is argued that while the technology is not yet at a point where it can most-usefully supplement the established ability for traditional theatre to generate fantastic worlds in the minds of its audience, projection-based augmentation is rapidly moving towards a point where it can take the dramatic arts to their next evolutionary level. Rather than supplanting the actor and nullifying their specialist skills and artistry, it is predicted that this technology will encourage the live performer to heighten their artform and allow them to use advances in digital entertainment to serve theatre and performance, and its audiences, well into the future.


Performing Arts; Theatre; Art and Technology; Practice-led Research; Augmented Reality and Theatre; Projection Mapping and Performance

To cite this article

Pike, Shane. ““Make it so…”: Communal augmented reality and the future of theatre and performance.” Fusion Journal, no. 15, 2019, pp. 108-118. http://www.fusion-journal.com/make-it-so-communal-augmented-reality-and-the-future-of-theatre-and-performance/

First published online: March 2019

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