Background Event

Why are we doing this?

In January 2001, at the Transit Festival at Odin Teatret, Denmark, Helen Varley Jamieson demonstrated cyberformance - a live online performance with Adriene Jenik and Lisa Brenneis, both in California (Desktop Theater).

Following the presentation, the audience of theatre practitioners errupted into a fiery debate about whether or not this was "theatre". What they had seen was a series of scenes performed by avatars in a graphical chat room (projected from a computer onto a screen). The scenes had been scripted and rehearsed beforehand, and were performed live by performers thousands of miles apart.


The audience reacted strongly: some were completely blown away by the possibilities, others were adamant that this could not be called theatre, because there was no "body" or emotion. The tight programming of the festival meant that the debate had to be cut short when it had only just begun.

This event raised many questions, that we have now refined down to the questions:

how is technology changing our definitions of "theatre"?

what place does cyberformance have within theatre?

The ABC Experiment addresses these questions - whether or not we can answer them remains to be seen, but we plan to have a good time trying.


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