Intermediality in Theatre & Performance

Intermediality in Theatre & Performance

The Intermediality in Theatre & Performance Working Group was founded in 2003 and examines the interrelationships of theatre with other media, the combinations of different media in performance and wider digital/postdigital culture through a performance studies lens.

WG Twitter feed: @IFTRInt_medial

Conference Hashtag: #IFTRIntermediality


Mission Statement

The Intermediality in Theatre and Performance Working Group has played a highly significant role in defining and mapping the field and continues to represent one of the leading international forums for the sharing of research in the study of intermediality in performance practices. The group looks at theories and conceptualizations of media in live performance, historical developments and transformations of media, and contemporary manifestations of intermediality. The group members work in diverse areas and within different methodologies but share a focus on the self-reflexivity of media, an interest in media applications and functions in culture and society, an analysis of technology’s effects and affects, as well as an understanding of theatre practice as an object and method of research.

The groups recent research interests include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital and postdigital performance 
  • Interactive practices
  • Remediation & adaptation
  • Political activism and deconstructing media
  • Augmented reality
  • Pervasive theatre and performance-making
  • Social media & networked performance
  • AI compositions
  • Wearable computing, tracking & self-quantifying
  • Big data in performance
  • Gamification
  • Cyborg theatre
  • Immersive practices
  • VR in performance and applied contexts
  • Hacking and maker-culture 
  • Motion/performance capture
  • Video mapping/multimedia in public spaces

We welcome early career researchers and postgraduate scholars (either as presenters or observer/participants),* and our WG panels are mostly open to new or non-working group members during the conference, with the exception of closed panel sessions for active group members to develop and plan new research projects and outputs (which are usually held on the final WG panel of the conference unless stated otherwise in the main conference programme).   

Although our WG sessions tend to be paper formats, alongside conference papers we welcome a range of unique performance experiments and experiences (e.g. performance lectures, podcast submissions, audio provocations, headphone pieces, VR/gaming experiences) that compliment panel themes and enrich the group’s critical discussions. We disseminate our research through a variety forms – from journal special editions and edited collections to performance events. Our research group also attracts a variety of researcher-practitioners working in, or across a range of different media.

The Intermediality WG have been prolific and research active in terms of publications over the years (see the WG bibliography below), and we are currently working toward a new group publication in 2020, which will follow the contributions in previous years.    

* Please Note: Postgraduate researchers may also wish to contribute to the IFTR New Scholars programme at each annual World Congress, but the IFTR rules prevent individuals from presenting more than one paper during the conference.

WG Publications:

  • Arfara, Katia, Aneta Mancewicz and Ralf Remshardt, eds. (2018). Intermedial Performance in the Public Sphere. Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Bay-Cheng, Sarah, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender and Robin Nelson, eds. (2010). Mapping Intermediality in Performance. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP. MediaMatters, 5.
  • Chapple, Freda, Chiel Kattenbelt (eds.) and International Federation for Theatre Research's Theatre Intermediality Working Group (2006). Intermediality in Theatre and Performance. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. Themes in Theatre : Collective Approaches to Theatre and Performance; 2.                

Upcoming WG publications:

  • Jarvis, Liam and Karen Savage, eds. (2020) Avatars, Activism & Postdigital Performance: Precarious Identities [working title]                


Conference Reports:

Sao Paulo 2017

The group received 22 paper proposals, of which 13 – from 7 different countries – were presented at the conference, followed by energised and thought-provoking discussions. A reduced version of a networked performance called Hypernatural was also presented by Kònic Lab on 13th July 2017 at the Teatro Laboratório at the University of Sao Paulo.

With permission from the WG contributors and the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (IJPADM), we live-tweeted for the first time from all of our open WG panels using the IJPADM Twitter account to engage with an online audience with a shared interest in performance research in digital culture. 

The final WG session was a closed roundtable discussion in which the following action points arose:

  • We migrated all WG contacts from the old Yahoo group to an email list that new members can be added to.
  • The WG wanted a password protected WordPress site to share PowerPoint slides/papers, which we created in the week after the conference.
  • Following the previous WG publication on Intermedial Performance and Politics in the Public Sphere (2018), we discussed what might be a prospective new collaborative output arising from the group in the following 3 years? We explored key themes and topics arising from the CFP/papers and the merits of a digital/hyperlinked output (multimedia dissemination) – but we agreed that it would have to be a peer reviewed/double peer reviewed process to be REF-able and assure quality (the journal title/profile/ranking was also flagged as important to some WG members for their respective institutions).
  • We discussed the importance of providing performance experiences that the WG members can attend collectively to prompt debate and fertile critical discussions.
  • We reaffirmed our commitment over the coming years to engage with the International Society for Intermedial Studies.   



Belgrade 2018

The group received a record 34 paper proposals for this meeting, the second highest number of paper submissions for any Working Group in 2018. 19 papers were presented from contributors from 7 different countries. To accommodate a larger number of speakers in 2018, we pre-circulated all WG papers 2 weeks in advance of the conference and reduced presentation times to 10-15 mins. for the first time in the WG’s history. 

In addition, the possibility of a co-sponsored panel between the Intermediality and Scenography WGs had been discussed under the previous convenors in 2014/‘15, and we were delighted to finally realise this ambition in 2018 on the topic of ‘Digital Spaces and Migrating Forms - New Strategies for Performance’; this panel was exceptionally well attended and the papers examined the attention economy in the cellular age and the design of audience experience through online apps and mobile devices.

As part of the conference side program, Anna Monteverdi (who undertook her final year with us as co-convenor in 2018) helped to co-ordinate a lecture on ‘Immersive Virtual Reality Applied to Theatre’ by Prof. Massimo Bergamasco (University of Pisa), and we supported the organisation and delivery of a VR performance across the first 3 days of the conference called Hamlet Encounters by Eric Joris (founder of CREW), Chiel Kattenbelt, Aneta Mancewicz, Robin Nelson, Joris Weijdom and Urland Collective. 

We organised a book launch for Intermedial Performance and Politics in the Public Sphere (2018) in our final WG open panel of the conference, which led to an in-depth discussion about the focus of the next collaborative WG publication. 

The final WG session was a closed roundtable discussion in which the following action points arose:

  • We discussed our meeting with Palgrave Macmillan to discuss our initial ideas for the next WG collected edition based on themes arising from the conference papers at the 2017/2018 WG panels. Subsequently, we discussed the new prospective WG book entitled Precarious Identities: Avatars, Activism & Postdigital Culture [working title], which will be edited by WG convenors Karen Savage and Liam Jarvis (please see the CfP below)
  • We plan to use either the conference in Shanghai or potentially an interim event in 2019 to develop the book’s contents with the selected authors. The submission process for proposals and a full timeline leading up to publication in 2020 was discussed and will be circulated to WG members within 2 weeks of the 2018 conference.
  • WG member William Lewis circulated hard copies to the WG of a call for proposals for an International Journal of Performance Arts & Digital Media (IJPADM) special edition titled ‘Reterritorializing Digital Performance from South to North’ edited by Sonali Pahwa (University of Minnesota) and William Lewis (University of Colorado Boulder).
  • We determined as a group to continue our ‘policy’ of opening most of our WG panel sessions to non-members, and consequently presentations should be accessible to those who have not read papers in advance, even when time may be limited to 10-15 minutes per speaker (depending on the number of papers accepted at a particular conference). However, the group decided that it may be a good approach from next year to nominate selected panels as open and to select discussants to pre-read the papers and help facilitate and provoke conversations and draw connections between the papers.  
  • We also discussed the Disability and Performance Working Group’s letter to the IFTR Executive Committee and agreed as a group to lend our support to improving access across all areas of the conference (by following the measures and advice where possible that are outlined in this WG’s access plan).
  • We created a new WG Twitter account (@IFTRInt_medial) and live-tweeted from the 2018 panels and performances with the permissions of contributors and practitioners.       


WG Book Proposal (CfP): Precarious Identities: Avatars, Activism & Postdigital Culture [working title]         

Dear colleagues,

We would like to take this opportunity to circulate the themes/topics/research areas coming from both the Sao Paulo and the Belgrade conferences.

Sao Paulo:

In 2017, the IWG presented and explored areas around: 

  • Empathy & Empathy Activism
  • Post-truth/alternative truths
  • Place-making
  • Citizenship
  • Networks and networked performance

Questions were raised, such as: how does post-truth instate uncertain epistemologies? And, what kind of intermedial interventions are artists making? 


In 2018, the IWG presented material on:

  • Performance capture
  • Robotic voices in performance
  • Interventions between the senses, mediatised resonances between bodies and other bodies/objects
  • Avatars in performance / social activism
  • Sexuality and death in digital culture
  • Body hacking / body machines  – zombification and digital doubles using the zombie to rethink interratlions between theatre and other media
  • Digital solitude  / home sickness at home
  • Apps as applied interventions in the attention economy
  • Digital legacy
  • Cyborgian aesthetics and postdigital maker culture
  • Postdigital ethics
  • Performance through Social Media
  • Immersion and affect, tranference of the body or glitches that might throw a spanner in the machine
  • Body hacking & bodily prosthetics
  • Algorithms, Audience emotion and dramaturgy
  • Uncertain boundaries of the body / mediated intercultural encounters

We thought the list of topics would be useful, at this stage, to help fashion your abstract proposal for the book. You'll note that the summary themes, although varied, could identify in some way to the projects proposed. 

We also used the closing panel session at both conferences to draw together themes and to discuss the possible research projects. Hopefully these discussions will also help to guide the abstract proposal.

In Belgrade we identified the proposed book project with the working title: Precarious Identities: Avatars, Activism & Postdigital Culture (and also the special edition of IJPADM with further details to be circulated by William W. Lewis).

Once we have received abstracts from the WG members for the book we can begin to shape it, and make more specific requests if necessary.

Timeline - Key dates:

  • Mid July 2018: Editors to produce and circulate summary of themes and discussions from 2017 and 2018, as well as further connections to the proposed book title.
  • November 1st 2018: Working group members to submit 1000 word extended abstract proposals and 250 word bios to the editors.
  • January 15th 2019: Editors to notify contributors. This will also include a reason for any proposals not accepted.  We consider this to be a part of the ‘mentorship’ element of the WG. Individual/s may also be approached in regards to a sample chapter for the proposal to the publisher. Individuals may also be approached to write specifically about an area that the editors identify as an important contribution to the publication.
  • February 28th 2019: Editors to submit book proposal (including 2 sample chapters) to Palgrave.
  • June 1st 2019: Contributors to submit chapters to the editors.
  • June and July 2019: depending on the structure of the book, the editors may reach out and identify ‘section’ leads. Initial discussions with Palgrave supported the possibility of a structure that encourages a fluid dialogue and the voices of practitioner/makers. It may be that we choose to section the book with introductions for each section – and these may have a section lead who might not also be a chapter contributor.
  • August 1st 2019: Editors to send feedback to the contributors for chapter redrafting.
  • November 1st 2019: Contributors to submit final chapter submission.
  • January 2020: Editors to submit the full draft to the publisher.

The clearance reader may come back with further suggestions, and individuals will be contacted as appropriate.

Please note: Although we can’t guarantee that the publisher will accept our proposal, the initial conversations have been very positive. If however, we are not successful with Palgrave the editors will endeavor to work with a different publisher. We will also forward any peer review feedback to the contributors following the book proposal.

We can’t guarantee a publication date for this project. There are many factors to consider – and these will depend upon the publisher too. However, if everything goes as smoothly as we detail above then we could probably expect the publication to be ready in 2020. However (for UK colleagues) we would not want any contributor to expect this publication to be ready for this REF cycle. 



Shanghai 2019  

In 2019, the IWG presented material within four themed panels on the following topics:

Restaging Selves in the City: Intimate Mediatized Acts

Chair: Liam Jarvis (University of Essex)

  • Katie Hawthorne (University of Edinburgh), Feeling, Feelingly: Digitally Mediated Experiences of Intimacy and Solitude at the Edinburgh Festivals
  • Lynne Kendrick (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama), Head/Phone: theatre and the proximate voice           

Shifting Interiors/Exteriors: Curating Spaces & Sensations in Digital Culture

Chair: Maria Chatzichristodoulou (London South Bank University)

  • Rosemary Klich (University of Essex), Visceral Technologies and Curating Sensation in Intermedial Performance
  • Alda Terracciano (University College London), Place-making, Community Memories and Immersive Technologies in the multisensory installation and live art event Zelige Door on Golborne Road
  • Qianxiong Yang, A Journey to Reimaging the Exterior and Interior – Art of Projection and Interaction        

Techno-human Realities: Social Robots & Algorithmic Actors

Chair: Rosemary Klich (University of Essex)

  • Thomas Riccio (University of Texas at Dallas), Sophia the Robot: Performing the Mechanical Goddess
  • Douglas Eacho (Stanford University), Automatic Theaters: Ian Cheng's "Emissaries" and the Live-Stream Economy 

New Resistances: VR Environments & Citizen Media

Chair: Karen Savage (University of Lincoln)

  • Jennifer Parker-Starbuck (Royal Holloway, University of London), Resistant Architectures in Immersive Worlds?: Embodiment, VR Environments, and the Trigger Finger
  • Maria Chatzichristodoulou (London South Bank University), Performance as Citizen Media: Gesturing the Revolution 

Glocalisation: Mediated Intercultural Collaborations & Globalised Creative Learning

Chair: Thomas Riccio (University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Rosa Sanchez (Konic Thtr), Performance, technological mediation and cross-cultural collaboration
  • Paul Sutton (C&T), Solvitur ambulando: Using applied theatre and psychogeography to solve the real through digital landscapes


The group received 15 paper proposals for this meeting. 11 papers were presented from contributors from 4 different countries. 

At the end of the final WG panel session, we dedicated 10mins. to updating the group on the developments with the new WG co-edited book proposal, Avatars, Activism and Postdigital Performance: Precarious Identities [working title], which has been submitted to Bloomsbury Methuen and is currently in the process of being peer-reviewed.

We also discussed the possibility of an IFTR: IWG Journal Special edition with the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media (IJPADM), which would be due for publication in 2021. We talked through our plans to use the next CfP for the 2020 IFTR conference at the National University of Ireland in Galway (13th 17th July 2020) to shape and develop the focus of the journal special edition in line with the conference’s wider theme of ‘Theatre Ecologies, Environment, Sustainability and Politics’.

Members of the group expressed an ongoing interest in exploring ways in which we might capture and disseminate multimedia content/outputs online in more innovative and multi-modal ways, which we will consider further at our next meeting.  

We live-tweeted throughout the week from our panels on the IWG Twitter account (@IFTRInt_medial) with the permissions of contributors and practitioners (#IFTR2019)   


WG Convenors 2017-2020*:

  • Dr Karen Savage, University of Lincoln (
  • Dr Liam Jarvis, University of Essex (


*We will co-ordinate online elections to determine the next WG convenors in 2020 (who will co-ordinate the WG’s activities at IFTR conferences/interim events from 2021-2024)

Past WG convenors:

  • Anna Monteverdi, University of Milan (co-convenor from 2017-2018)
  • Dr Aneta Mancewicz, University of Birmingham (2013-2016)
  • Prof Ralf Remshardt, University of Florida (2013-2016)
  • Prof Andy Lavender, University of Warwick 
  • WG Founders: Freda Chapple and Chiel Kattenbelt 


17 October, 2018 by Liam Jarvis | 0 comments

The Intermediality in Theatre & Performance Working Group invites proposals for participation from academics and practitioner-researchers at all career stages for IFTR/FIRT 2019 in Shanghai Read more

Intermediality in Theatre & Performance Working Group CFP

CFP: Intermediality in Theatre & Performance Working Group, Belgrade 2018

05 December, 2017 by Liam Jarvis | 0 comments

The Intermediality in Theatre & Performance Working Group invites proposals for participation from academics and practitioner-researchers at all career stages Read more

CFP: Intermediality in Theatre and Performance WG, IFTR2017

CFP: Intermediality in Theatre and Performance WG, São Paulo IFTR 2017

16 December, 2016 by Liam Jarvis | 0 comments

The Intermediality Working Group is inviting proposals for our forthcoming meeting at the IFTR annual conference in São Paulo in July 2017. Read more

Call for Papers - Stockholm 2016

Call for Papers - Stockholm 2016

04 January, 2016 by Ralf Remshardt | 0 comments

Call for Papers - Stockholm 2016 Read more

Intermediality WG in Hyderabad

Intermediality WG in Hyderabad

26 February, 2015 | 0 comments

In response to the theme of the Hyderabad conference in 2015, we propose the following questions: - dissemination, access, and privilege in digital performance - intermediality and the politics of public sphere - intermedial performance and representations of identity - intermediality and multiculturalism - gender and intermedial performance - digital performance and traditional theatre Read more

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