LIFT – Theatre and the Digital Democracy – Debate at the ICA

by , under Arts, Technology

Really interesting debate happening at the ICA next Thursday, hosted by LIFT, entitled The Digital Democracy:

The desire to reconfigure the relationship between theatre and audience has been a recurring theme in experimental theatre practice for decades. Catalysed by a new generation of theatre makers for whom gaming and the associated digital interactivity is the norm, we now see the development of theatre based on the idea of public play and playfulness where adults are encouraged to shed their grown-up characters and to have straightforwardly silly fun.

Digital interactivity has also allowed for a massive rise in the use of public contributions in the making of a piece of theatre. They may determine the events being played out on stage, alter the outcome or direct the performers but user-generated content provides for a situation where the “ordinary” theatregoer with no professional stake in the piece of work is now on a par with the professional theatre makers. Interestingly for an art form constantly looking for new audiences and fighting a rearguard action against multiplying calls on people’s leisure time, theatre makers have traditionally been very reluctant to confer ownership on non-professional participants. Theatre the only art form that has such rigid boundaries between amateur and professional – is user-generated content the way, finally, to break down the amateur professional divide?

Chaired by the artistic director of LIFT, Mark Ball, with speakers including Charlie Tims from Demos and games designer Margaret Robertson, we ask whether we are all theatre makers now. Have the gaming generation and the DIY ethos produced democratic theatre?

Details: Thursday 24 June, 3.30-5.30pm, ICA Cinema 1, £5

Box Office 020 7930 3647

The effects of the digital revolution are being felt in all areas of life, and the arts. It’s very interesting to see a theatre festival like LIFT properly engage in this debate, in a way that I don’t think I’ve heard other organisations involved in theatre doing… Well worth getting to if you can.


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