How can we move beyond novelty in the use of pervasive media technology in theatre?

Convener(s): Katie Day 

Participants: Amongst others… Mark Morren, Jasmine Pajdak, Peter Mumford, Sian Rees, Allen O’Leary, Leslie Goosey, Neil Keating, Aaron Minnigin, Dee Evans,

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

I convened the session because I’m producing a new scheme called Theatre Sandbox, which will commission 6 new theatre projects that engage with pervasive media.  Check or for updates.

We started with a discussion about what pervasive media actually was.

Here’s a potential definition:

‘As computers and phones get smaller, more powerful, and stay connected to the internet almost all of the time, Pervasive Media sits at the intersection of mobile computers, media technology, networks and sensors.

From gaming to outdoor displays, performance to public transport, pervasive media is delivered into the fabric of everyday life: sensors and networks use context-rich information (like location) to deliver experiences that are designed to fit the needs of people, delivering the right thing in the moment, wherever they are.’



  • A story delivered geographically.
  • Miss out on energy? If its just you, and no other audience.
  • Can we use the tech to widen not close?
  • Silent Disco
  • Providing a slightly different experience for each person can be exciting. Could watch the same thing – but with a different soundtrack.
  • How can you extend the experience to the unknowing audience?
  • People are wary of Bluetooth etc, as its already been hijacked by advertisers.
  • Foreground the narrative.  Choose the right conduit – its only a conduit.
  • Can be useful for engaging people in advance of the story event.
  • You have to know WHY you want to use the tech.  OR you just want to play with it to see what you could do.
  • Where is this just television delivered by pervasive media, and when is this theatre? 
  • In terms of informing people about the technological possibilities – how can we do this.
  • Could we have one-to-ones with the technologists, to push and see where our ideas could go?
  • We can learn from what other people have made before.
  • We could have a one-to-one with an artist and a technologist – on stage for everyone to watch – where they push and explore their ideas and what they can do.  Or something along these lines.