The project Telepresence in Theatre
has been nominated for Times Higher Education Award 2018 in Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.
Telepresence may be defined as “live video that allows for human-sized interactions, while offering clear sound and visual fidelity to individuals in remote rooms” (Miller et al. 2015) and this project explores its potential for teaching and learning in the field of performing arts. At the same time, it is quite clear that telepresence technology provides new perspectives and horizons to professionals working in the performing arts fields.
This project mainly facilitates international virtual mobility collaborations between theatre students at the University of Tampere (Finland) and Coventry University (UK), with a particular focus on acting in a foreign language. While providing students with opportunities to engage in intercultural collaborations and to develop valuable global attributes, the project promotes a more environmentally sustainable model, diminishing the need to move large groups of student actors across the globe for rehearsals, workshops and even performances.
The project also imagines and visualizes new possibilities for the theatrical arts with the help of the latest telepresence technology. Modern telepresence technology offers new, practical solutions to international collaboration and poses theoretical questions for the actor’s expression and bodily awareness whilst giving possible insights into the future of how we rehearse and make work. As the hardware and software becomes cheaper, artistic telepresence methods are becoming more common in low-budget theatres also. This project also intends to investigate how real and virtual environments intersect to support teaching and learning for educators/learners/performers and analyse any opportunities and challenges that may emerge in this setting. It also seeks to examine the pedagogic practices that the telepresence technology enables for synchronous teaching and learning across two different sites and time zones, and finally, explores the individual’s experience as a performer being mediated by technology.