Viral Workshops

Workshop Series I

STAGING VIRAL THEATRES

Online Workshop

July 1 , 2021, 2pm -8pm (CEST)

Viral Theatres invites you to a day of public online workshops to investigate the changes to theatre infrastructures and aesthetics during the pandemic. In our three sessions, we are exploring how the shift to digital forms has affected how liveness becomes constituted, what participation implies and how we might document the current moment. With this workshop day of exchanges and collaborative discussions with a series of international guests, we launch a series of practical laboratories with XR and digital participatory technologies that seek to capture the habits, practices, and forms of attention we bring to digital theatre.

SESSION 1: Digital Forms of Participation (2pm-3:45pm)

The theatre as a building, institution and event is full of rituals: rituals of going to and being at the theatre; rituals of rehearsing and performing; rituals of practicing collectivity, of becoming a public. In this session, we want to explore how this participation in and partaking of ritual changes in the digital public sphere and how these processes and encounters can be translated into or rendered in alternate ways in the virtual realm. Input talks by:

Kai Padberg (Freie Universität Berlin

Sarah Reimann & Anna Krauß (HAU Hebbel am Ufer Berlin

Stefanie Sobelle (Decameron Row)

SESSION 2 –  What is digital/hybrid liveness? (4pm-6pm)

If the experience of bodies in one space is no longer the agreed core of theatre, how does liveness come about in the digital sphere? How does one create live performance for a geographically dispersed audience while still building forms of connection and collective experience? In this session, we will talk about alternative ways through which liveness becomes inscribed into digital media through social movements of going viral, through measurement, and through interactive dramaturgies. Input talks by:

Miriam Felton Dansky (Bard College Annandale

Prof. Daniel C. Richardson (UCL

Birgit Lengers (Junges DT, Deutsches Theater Berlin)

Mario Simon (Akademie für Theater und Digitalität

SESSION 3 – Creative Archiving (6:30- 8pm)

How does one document closure and pause in cultural production? We want to explore this question of creative forms of archiving both as a way of tracing the exceptionalism of the present moment and as an approach to understand the lasting transformation of the arts sector currently under way. How can the global dimension of these pandemic arts practices be captured? Can experience rather than objects and materials be documented? Documenting turns into a collaborative act and a space of coping with the present as much as sketching alternatives to the pressures of the now. 

Input talks by:

Sara Örtel ( Archive, Akademie der Künste Berlin

Joseph Dunne-Howrie (DocPerform/ City, University of London) 

Kai van Eikels (Ruhr Universität Bochum / Fonds Darstellende Künste

About the Speakers:

Kai Padberg studied theater and media studies and sociology at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in his bachelor’s degree. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he moved to Berlin in 2015 and began a master’s degree in theater studies at the FU Berlin. In 2018 he completed his master’s thesis: »Störungen: Vom Buhruf bis zur Bühnenbesetzung«. During his studies he was a scholarship holder of the Hans Böckler Foundation and was involved in the academic self-administration. Since October 2019, he has been working as a research assistant in the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective for the Extended Audiences project at FU Berlin and is a member of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies. In his doctoral project »Extended Audiences – Audience Performances and Public Spheres in Transition« he focuses on contemporary audience practices in the performing arts against the background of social and technological transformations.


Miriam Felton-Dansky is associate professor of theater and performance at Bard College, and director of Bard’s undergraduate theater and performance program. Her book Viral Performance: Contagious Theaters from Modernism to the Digital Age was published by Northwestern University Press in 2018. Her articles and essays have also appeared in Theatre SurveyTheatre JournalTDRPAJArtforum.com, and Theater, where she is a contributing editor. From 2009-2018 she was a theater critic for the Village Voice. She is currently writing a book about practices of spectatorship in contemporary performance.

Sarah Reimann studied dramaturgy at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” Leipzig and theater studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. After various positions as a freelance dramaturg, she has been working at HAU Hebbel am Ufer since 2012, now as dramaturg and curator for HAU4.

Anna Krauß studied art, music and media studies at Philipps University Marburg and applied theater studies at JLU Gießen. She worked for a long time at TNT Marburg and assisted at Forced Entertainment. Since 2016 she has been working in the production of HAU Hebbel am Ufer and from the season 2021 / 2022 as Digital Producer. 

Dr. Joseph Dunne-Howrie is a module year coordinator at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance and Artist in Residence at CityLIS, City, University of London. Joseph has directed the DocPerform project with Dr Lyn Robinson at CityLIS since 2017. His research interests include the politics of digital culture, Internet-based dramaturgies, participatory and immersive theatre, performance documentation, archives, and performative writing. He has previously taught theatre and performance at the University of East London and Mountview Academy. He has published articles and book reviews in Performance ResearchInternational Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media and Stanislavski Studies. Joseph writes about theatre and higher education on his blog josephdunnehowrie.com and on Twitter @MemoryDetritus.

Sara Örtel holds an M. A. in Theatre, Film and Media Studies and Philosophy from Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Between 2011 and 2014 she was engaged as an assistant director and then head of press and communication at Deutsches Theater Göttingen. In season 2014/15 she became part of the dramaturgy department and worked as a dramaturge for Deutsches Theater Göttingen until 2018. In 2018 Sara Örtel moved to Berlin and is since in charge of the Production Documentation at the Performing Arts Archives at Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Since spring 2020 she is also conducting the realization of the Theatre in the Pandemic Collection at the Performing Arts Archives.

Kai van Eikels combines philosophy, theater and performance studies in his work. He is currently teaching at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. His research topics include: collectivity and politics of participation; art and labor; synchronization, time and matter; queer cuteness. Publications include: Performance Research 16:3 “On Participation and Synchronization” (ed., with Bettina Brandl-Risi), 2011; Die Kunst des Kollektiven. Performance zwischen Theater, Politik und Sozio-Ökonomie, 2013; Art works. Ästhetik des Postfordismus (with Netzwerk Kunst + Arbeit), 2015;Synchronisieren. Ein Essay zur Materialität des Kollektiven, 2020. Articles, in German and English, can be found on his Academia page, https://rub.academia.edu/KaivanEikels and on his theory blog, https://kunstdeskollektiven.wordpress.com


Stefanie Sobelle is an Associate Professor of English at Gettysburg College whose projects focus on the spaces of stories and the stories spaces tell. Her book, A Building is a Book (forthcoming), looks at the architecture in and of American literature, and she collaborated with her brother, theater artist Geoff Sobelle, on a production titled HOME about the memories of houses, which was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Stefanie is the co-producer and curator of Decameron Row, a work of digital architecture that houses 100 one-minute videos by artists around the world, documenting their lives under quarantine.

Mario Simon studied german, literature and cultural studies, film and media studies as well as Philosophy at the University of Bonn and the TU Dortmund. At Schauspiel Dortmund, Simon worked as a video artist and head of the video department from 2013-2020. After his first work at Schauspiel Dortmund with “Einige Nachrichten an das All” (directed by Kay Voges), he worked as a video artist with directors Kay Voges (. “Die Borderline Prozession” and “Die Parallelwelt”), Claudia Bauer and Jörg Buttgereiti among others. In 2017, Mario Simon was awarded the Young Talent Promotion Prize of the State of NRW. Since 2019, Mario Simon has been a permanent member of staff at the Academy for Theatre and Digitality.

Birgit Lengers is a mediation artist, dramaturge and theatre scholar. She thinks and works across borders – whether topographically, transculturally or interdisciplinarily. After teaching at the University of Hildesheim and working in the independent scene, including as a project developer for the German Theater Abroad in the USA, she went to the Deutsches Theater Berlin with Ulrich Khuon in 2009/10. As a member of the DT’s theatre management, she is responsible for the areas of Junges DT (Young DT) and DT International. Birgit Lengers is curator of the RADAR OST festival and is also very well connected in the German-speaking theatre scene thanks to her many years on the board of the Dramaturgische Gesellschaft and the Deutscher Bühnenverein.

Prof. Daniel C. Richardson is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at University College London. Prior to that, he was an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, a graduate student at Cornell, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford, and an assistant professor at UC Santa Cruz. His research examines how individuals’ thought processes are related to the people around them. He has authored many scientific articles in cognitive, developmental and social psychology and two popular science books, Man vs Mind and A Dummies Guide to Social Psychology. He received three Provost’s Teaching Awards from UCL, and has performed shows at the London Science Museum and Bloomsbury theatre combining science, music and live experiments on the group mind of the audience.

For further information and in order to register for the seminar, please fill in this form.