What are we doing? | Feb 2023

With our first residential partner, Interplay Theatre, the UK’s National Sensory Theatre, LBO has developed a performance that explores the relationships between bodies, technologies and audiences. This interactive, improvisational theatre piece engages with ideas about robots and the human body inspired by Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Klara and the Sun. It imagines how technology might enable the creation of humanoid-like ‘artificial friends’ through elements such as speech, haptics, colour, sound and performance, and is the result of residency collaborations with actors, directors, musicians, set designers, technologists, writers and academics. 

This theatre piece has been developed with disabled audiences in mind, and we are continuing to perform the work at schools and academies for students with additional needs in and around Leeds. We are interested in how students interact with what we have made, a mix of human bodies and technologies, and what connections are formed through these interactions. We are especially interested in the idea of friendship within the school context. How do students approach the technologized bodies? What do they understand them to be? The performance and the reactions it provokes are the product of more than three months of a wonderfully productive partnership with Interplay.  

You can learn more about our collaboration with Interplay Theatre by listening to the BMJ Medical Humanities podcast ‘Immersive and Interactive: Accessibility Theatre and LivingBodiesObjects’, which features an interview with Interplay’s Steve Byrne and LBO’s Amelia DeFalco.

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eight trainees stand shoulder to shoulder with two actors in a university seminar room with smiles on their faces. An actor dressed in a black boiler suit and blonde wig stands like a robot in the middle of the photo. The other actor in a white lab coat and and bucket hat stands at the end of the line of people looking at the group and appears to be smiling.