What’s Media Theatre Technology and Performance?

Media Theatre Technology and Performance is hitting the theatrical stages around the world in many unorthodox ways. Most Broadway’s and music concerts have media incorporated in their shows that can grab the attention of the audience in a split second. Today, there are many ways to use media within the realm of theatre. Alison Dobbins of Michigan State University is taking media and theatre to the next level.

In 2010 we began a project titled Media Theatre Performance Laboratory (MTPL), which is funded in part by the College of Arts & Letters and housed in Lansing’s Riverwalk Theatre. Within this program we aim to explore how different narrative styles and concepts of game design can influence a performance. In June 2011, MTPL performed “The Digitizer,” an original work where the individual audience members had control of characters and where the outcome of digital challenges determined the outcome of the play. We examine how an audience, through control of the media in a performance, can become part of the performance.

But Why?

In 2010, the Department of Theatre at MSU, College of Outreach and Engagement, the College of Arts & Letter’s and the Riverwalk Theatre donated time, money and space to the development of creativity within the Lansing community. Alison Dobbins, Assistant Professor of Integrated Performance Media Design at Michigan State University, has big plans for current and future Theatre and Media students of Michigan State University. The goal is to inspire current and future students of MSU with creative outlets and research opportunities. This project will create a thriving community of people to research and explore media in theatre.

Alison Dobbins,
Assistant Professor of Integrated Performance Media Design at Michigan State University, has been working with students and faculty of Michigan State University and Kent State University on creating technology that allows the audience to control aspects of the performance on stage. Rather than just being AT the performance, be IN the performance.

The integration of theatre and media is not simply a matter of one art form bending or adjusting to allow the other to exist, but a realization of an entirely new art form, one that challenges any audience to new experiences that must be processed in a non-traditional method.

What’s The Plan?

In 2011, the Media Theatre Performance Laboratory takes on a new face and action to developing a culture of interest in Media Theatre Technology and Performance.

Workshops and Education

In December 2011, the Media Theatre Performance Laboratory is hosting a 2-day workshop. The goal of the workshop is to introduce high school and college students to the world of Media Theatre Technology and Performance. This requires, actors, dancers, directors, set designers, lighting, audio, artistic directors, computer game designers, computer software developers, film, broadcast, and a whole host of career pathways. Information on the workshops coming soon!


In 2012, the Media Theatre Per
formance Laboratory will be producing a performance that Media Theatre Technology and Performance that was taught at the workshops. Information on the 2012 performance coming soon!


The first element of this research is the “Theatre Engine,” the creation of a stable interactive media control interface:
  • Research opportunities for graduates and undergraduates in the arts.
  • Teaching opportunities for students.
  • Research in pedagogical methods for incorporating technology into a creative performance arts curriculum.