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20 Dec 2022, 09:00
Aberystwyth Arts Centre Round Studio

Background image: A.I. generated Fractal Landscape 

Theatre, A.I. and 'ludic technologies'


The network will investigate three related yet distinct fields of: contemporary theatre, artificial intelligence and ludic technologies. The main focus will be to investigate these fields from the perspective of humanist discourses and artistic practice. We feel that this perspective has often been omitted in the current discussions and academic discourses on A.I. We also feel that in our current post-digital age, there is scope, novelty and timeliness in an interdisciplinary research approach to these three fields, in particular when considering how contemporary artistic practices can question our relationship with newly emerging technologies.


The network will bring together academics from the field of A.I. research, computer studies, game studies, arts and humanities, theatre and performance artists/practitioners with the aim of exploring the above research agenda.

Investigators/Directors: Dr Alan Chamberlain (University of Nottingham) and Dr Piotr Woycicki (Aberystwyth University)


Aberystwyth University

University of Nottingham

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Workshop: Performing A.I.: Stage, Sound and Screen

Aberystwyth University Arts Centre, 20th and 21st of December 2022. This will be an in-person event.

A series of workshops that will explore how A.I., theatre and 'ludic technologies' can be employed and used as part of creative devising methodologies to develop work for the stage, sound art and screen. Attendance is for FREE.

Tuesday 20th of December

Session I: Workshops

09:00-09:15 Coffee and Cookies

09:15-09:30 Introductions

09:30-11:00 Performing AI: Using AI tools for playwriting led by Vlad Butucea

11:00-11:30 Coffee Break

11:30-13:00 Sounding AI: Performance, Collaboration and Synthetic voices led by Dr Yaron Shyldkrot

13:00-14:00 Lunch


Session II: Workshop (In-Person)

14:00-17:00 Design Fiction Worldbuilding led by Prof Paul Coulton

Wednesday 21st of December

10:00-10:30 Coffee

10:30-13:30 Talks and discussion round table.

13:30 Lunch


Main Event

Aberystwyth Arts Centre Round Studio (First Floor)

Aberystwyth University, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth SY23 3DE, UK


Symposium I: Humanist Perspectives

Nottingham University, 9th of April 2021 (the event was held online)


The symposium explored approaches towards a humanistic understanding of the inter-relation between the domains of A.I., theatre and performance and ludic technologies. 

Symposium II: Ruptures/Disruptions

Aberystwyth University, 29th of July 2021 (the event was held online)

The symposium will explore how the application of A.I. in theatre and performance and ludic technologies can instantiate ruptures and disruptions to our contemporary cultural context and the everyday. It will also look at ways in which A.I. can be used in staging provocations and provocative design. 

The Internet of Guitars - Steve Benford

​This was a PETRAS event, chaired by Alan Chamberlain (University of Nottingham) & Dave De Roure (University of Oxford), the PI and CO-I of the EXIoT Project (PETRAS). It brings together the PETRAS, TAS Hub and nTAIL (AHRC) communities. The event is promoted as part of N-STAR, Nottingham Science, Technology, Art Research - in the Faculty of Science UoN, directed by Alan.

Symposium III: Immersion and Embodied Experiences: AI, VR and Inclusive Futures

University of Nottingham, 13th and 14th of June 2022. This will be an in-person event, however, keynotes will be streamed online.

The symposium will explore how A.I., theatre and performance and ludic technologies impact our understanding of immersion and corporeal/embodied experiences in the postdigital age. There will be scope for further exploration of the impact of A.I. development on VR, AR and MR technologies which are opening up new modes of experience and engagement with virtual worlds.

Check out the Events and Workshops page for more details.


Steve Benford is the Dunford Professor of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham where he co-founded the Mixed Reality Laboratory. He is Director of the EPSRC-funded Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training and also Director of the University's Smart Products beacon of research excellence. He was previously an EPSRC Dream Fellow, a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge and a Visiting Professor at the BBC.

An immersive technology specialist Jessica Driscoll is the Head of Immersive Technology at Digital Catapult. She has an MA in Digital Culture and Technology and experience of working with a variety of technologies from virtual reality, augmented reality and haptics in the creative and industrial sectors. She has implemented immersive training solutions in both educational and commercial institutions in particular NGO’s, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Pharmaceutical, Construction and Automotive industries. Her previous experience at BBC Research and Development gave her understanding and insight into audiences and testing new broadcast technologies at scale. With experience of each part of the immersive value chain from startups to international broadcaster, from business development to content production, this hands-on experience in immersive will help to shape the support offered for startups and scaleups in the immersive economy.



Workshop: Performing A.I.: Stage, Sound and Screen

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Vlad Butucea (University of Glasgow, Queen Margaret University)



Vlad Butucea is a Glasgow-based, Romanian-born playwright and screenwriter. Recent credits include the film/ stage hybrid The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (National Theatre of Scotland, Selkie Productions, Sky Arts), and Silkworm (Pearlfisher) which won a 2022 Fringe First Award. Vlad is in the final stages of a PhD in Digital Performance at the University of Glasgow, exploring embodied spectatorship in digital performance.  

Dr Yaron Shyldkrot  (University of Leeds)

Dr Yaron Shyldkrot is a practitioner-researcher and performance maker. He is a lecturer in Scenography and Design-led Performance at the University of Leeds (UK) and his work explores the different relationships between uncertainty and performance; investigating the the blurriness between natural and artificial, relationships with technology and each other, and the edges of sound and vision. Yaron is currently involved in an interdisciplinary research project exploring the virtual performer with colleagues from Robotics, computer science, music and psychology.

Prof Paul Coulton (Lancaster University)

Paul Coulton is Professor of Speculative and Game Design. His research can more generally be considered as Speculative Design. Speculative Design combines real and/or hypothetical extrapolations of the development of emerging technologies with a consideration of the cultural landscape into which they may be deployed. This activity is embodied as ‘research through design’ and, in particular, to the design of speculative physical/digital interactive games, playful experiences, and artifacts. Some of his early research was conducted using a, 'situated' evaluation methodology in that he utilised 'app stores' and social networks as experimental platforms. This element of his work led to international recognition by industry as well as academia in that he was selected as one of 50 most talented mobile developers worldwide from a community of over 2 million to be a founding Nokia Champion and the first academic invited to speak at the Game Developers Conference. Increasingly, his work relates to more-than-human futures using a particular practice of Speculative Design which is Design Fiction as a way of exploring futures for emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Genetic modification etc. Design Fictions are collections of artifacts, that, when viewed together build a fictional world. 

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