Stages, audiences, artistic practices, the public sphere itself: how do they become transformed when theatre in the pandemic turns into a space of standstill or disruption?

Viral Theatres is a practice-based research project that documents the emergence of new realities for and in theatre and performance practice. We explore the novel split in how we produce, make present and experience cultural production that is shaped by a combination of theatre closures and a migration into the digital sphere. What happens to embodied exchange, collaboration and liveness in this current context? In our applied research project, artists and scholars come together to build a “living archive” of the pandemic and to experiment with gaming, narrating and experiencing performance in an expanded digital or hybrid sphere.


Here you can find an overview of our research activities and events.


In a series of research residencies we document new digital projects and initiatives at various Berlin Theatres hands on. Participating institutions include: The Junges DT, the Berliner Ensemble, the Schaubühne; and the Hebbel-am-Ufer Theatre.


We are setting up a series of workshops with guest artists to explore the nature of digital liveness in a lab context. The lab will take place from June 30- July 3, 2021 and will combine Zoom workshop discussion sessions with practical lab work. We are also excited to participate in the 25th annual Digital Research in the Humanities Conference, which will be held in Berlin in September 2021. More info on DRHA 2021 here.


Research and artistic interventions will combine to create an online dictionary of digital performance practices in a Living Archive that will be launched online and be displayed in a final performance installation & symposium in Berlin in December 2021.

This practice-based research project is based at the Excellence Cluster EXC Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective (Freie Universität Berlin) and works in cooperation with EXC Matters of Activity: Image – Space -Material (Humboldt University Berlin) and Bard College Berlin.