03 August, 2023

INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS INTERMEDIAL STAGE:  Immersivity, interactivity and technology in 21st Century Performing Arts.


Immersivity, interactivity and technology in 21st Century Performing Arts.

Madrid, 29th-30th January 2024


The Instituto del Teatro de Madrid (Madrid Theatre Institute, Universidad Complutense de Madrid), the research group GILCO (Grupo de Investigación en Literatura Contemporánea, Universidad de Alcalá) and the research project Poetics of the Real in 21st Century Theatre (UNED) are together organizing the international congress Intermedial Stage: Immersivity, interactivity and technology in 21st-Century Performing Arts.



Experimenting with immersive and interactive performances has intensified over the past 50 years. Brazilian director Augusto Boal (1931-2009) coined the word spect-actor to refer to the audiences that contribute to the development of the performance. His techniques have been merged in the past decades with other experimental practices, particularly those originating from performance art. The results are new formulae in terms of immersivity –the spatial breaking-down of the fourth wall–, interactivity –the fictional breaking-down of the fourth wall– and the integration of mediated communication devices during performances, such as mobile phones and augmented reality. These formulae have allowed the emergence of new relationships between the performance and the audience, explicitly asking spectators to physically change their viewpoint and, therefore, their point of view about the show (in immersivity) or to impact the content of the show (in interactivity).


            Immersivity, interactivity and mediated communication embedded in performance question the ontology of theatre as we know it. In addition, these formulae reveal certain political and sociological aspects of human nature:


a)     Due to the reconfiguration of the sender-receiver relationship (in terms of Roman Jakobson), immersivity and interactivity question the power dialectics in the dramaturgical discourse, both in how the public is asked to shift their perception and the potential impact of their decisions and/or activity during the performance.

b)    The general trend is to merge immersivity and interactivity with science fiction narrativity. This is in its essence a very political genre, since it implies conceiving a completely new society, given a fictitious premise and taking it to the extreme. The possibility that an individual spectactor, instead of being a passive receiver, becomes active in this imagined world makes them a political agent in a controlled environment.

c)     Immersivity and interactivity allow multiple power relationships between audience members and the performance, depending on the space in which it takes place and/or the type of impact audiences can have on the show.

d)    Likewise, these formulae challenge the standard reception mode for performing-arts audiences, negating the possibilities of the presence of the body of the receiver, this is, speaking out and moving. Therefore, writing for stage has to include these possibilities and reconfigure the micropolitics of narrativity.

e)     Finally, these formulae establish unexpected links between the dominant paradigm and secondary ones in the representation dramaturgy and the power relationships embedded in spatiality and collaboration between audiences and creators, which spontaneously remodels immersivity and interactivity as performance laboratories about collective and individual driving forces which determine decisions about communitary issues.


This congress aims to explore the intersection between dramaturgical paradigms, narrative genres, new performance formulae, mediated communication and political discourse, all the while taking into consideration that this is a new field of investigation.


Proposals may seek to engage with the following topics, but are not restricted to:


  1. Discoursive and political implications of diverse formulae of the audience-performance relationship (immersivity, interactivity, intermedial stage).
  2. Dramaturgical paradigms in immersive and interactive performances.
  3. Reception of intermedial stage and political thought frames. 
  4. Fictional and non-fictional discourse in mass media and its relationship with intermedial stage.
  5. Performative experience and political engagement.


Confirmed guests

  • Keynote speaker 1: Belén Santa Olalla (Stroke 114)
  • Keynote speaker 2: still to be confirmed.
  • Discussion panel 1: Lucía Miranda, Carlos Tuñón, Pablo Fernández Santa-Cecilia, Pilar G. Almansa
  • Discussion panel 2: Carlota Gaviño, Jorge Esteban Blein, Hugo Nieto, Miguel Oyarzun.
  • Group dynamics 1: Carlos Tuñón and Iara Solano.
  • Group dynamics 2: Iñigo Rodríguez-Claro y Miguel Oyarzun.


Call for participation open for all scholars and practitioners. Please send by 16 October 2023 top.gonzalezalmansa@edu.uah.es  a single document (Word, PDF) with the following information:


-        Full name

-        Academic and/or professional affiliation, email and phone number.

-        Title of the communication

-        Abstract (maximum: 250 words)

-        Research topic

-        Brief bio (maximum: 200 words).


Working languages: Spanish, English.

Accepted communications will be notified by 15th of November 2023 via email.

Participation costs are 55 euros and include meals at university.


If you need more information, you can contact p.gonzalezalmansa@edu.uah.es


Scientific Commitee:

Elena Cano Sánchez

Arno Gimber

Isabel Guerrero Llorente

Javier Huerta Calvo

Nieves Rodríguez Rodríguez

Sergio Santiago Romero

Julio Vélez Sáinz



Pilar G. Almansa (Universidad de Alcalá - Universidad Complutense de Madrid) y Jara Martínez Valderas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

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