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Kerryn Wise

Drama and Theatre Studies, De Montfort University

Thesis title:

Walking through Walls: Artistic Strategies and Audience Engagement in Virtual and Mixed Reality Performance


Since 2015, 360-degree video (360V) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have become more affordable and accessible to independent artists. Therefore, a body of interdisciplinary performance practices that utilise these technologies has emerged. There is limited academic writing about these newer practices within performance studies and minimal audience data available in response to such works. This research considers the opportunities and challenges for capturing and sharing performance work using these mediums and investigates how these new types of performance practices affect audience experience. My thesis explores the potential of these new technologies to extend audience experiences through mixed reality (MR) practices that integrate 360V and VR technologies into live work. It also highlights the potential of new technologies such as volumetric capture (VolCap) for capturing live dance performances for fully virtual VR artworks and considers the ways that practitioner approaches may shift when working with such technologies. I have created a body of artistic works that experiment with 360V and VolCap and tested these with audiences. I draw together theoretical concepts related to embodied spectatorship from several fields including dance, VR and film to analyse the works created. This aims to build understanding and find a vocabulary for articulating the experiential effects of these practices on audiences when encountering these new environments. My experiments offer new creative approaches and strategies for working with 360V and VolCap technologies within performance which are useful to future practitioners and industry. My findings also discovered that when combined with theatrical and dance approaches, these new technologies can have potent effects, providing audiences new performance experiences. The audience data gathered and analysed within this study elucidate the unique relationships and novel digital intimacies that were cultivated between performer and participants within both the MRP and VR works discussed in chapters four to six. In chapter six, this analysis leads towards new understandings of embodiment through disembodiment towards a notion I term ethereal embodiment. Overall, this thesis presents an innovative body of artefacts and, alongside the written exegesis, contributes original knowledge to the field of performance and technology and related practices and industry.

Research Area

  • Drama and Theatre Studies


Wise, K. (2021) ‘Dis_place: Reflections on Creating Mixed Reality Performance using Virtual Reality Technologies’, International Journal of Creative Media Research [Preprint], (7). Available at: https://www.creativemediaresearch.org/post/dis_place-reflections-on-creating-mixed-reality-performance-using-virtual-reality-technologies


Perceiving Facades- Speaking Volumes Symposium - OCAD, Toronto, Canada, March 2023.

Perceiving Facades Talk & Workshop - Cultural eXchanges Festival - De Montfort University, Leicester, March 2023. 

Facades, VR work and Artist Talk, Extended Senses and Embodying Technology Symposium, University of Greenwich, London, September 2022.

Poster Presentation, Academic Innovation Project 'Risky Play with Virtual Reality Technologies' at DMU Teaching and Learning Conference, September 2022.

Artist Talk, Performance Futures: Immersive Week, London School of Fashion, February 2021.

Dis_place VR shown as part of Interactive Exhibition at LCB Depot, Leicester, February 2021.

Dis_place: reflections on practice, Midlands4Cities Research Festival, Online, July 2020. 

Dis_place: reflections on practice video essay at Borderlines, De Montfort University and M4C Research Festival,(online), July 2020

Dis_place: PbR presentation at Cracking the Established Order, De Montfort University, June, 2019.

Exposure: 360 Video and Live Performance, full work presented at Per/Forming Futures, Artistic Doctorates in Europe, Middlesex University, London, 11-13th April 2019.

DIS/PLACE: Exploring Kinaesthetic Empathy in Virtual Reality, TaPRA Performance and New Technologies Conference: Immersive and Interactive Technologies and Live Performance, University of South Wales, Cardiff , 6 April 2019.

Dance and Contemporary Performance: Innovation through Practice in Virtual Reality, Immersive Storytelling Symposium, Liverpool Screen School, LJMU, 14th December 2018.

Borderlines V: Falling, Standing, Performing Conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, 22nd June 2017.

Public Engagement & Impact

My Phd project Facades has toured to numerous high-profile national and international events between 2021 and 2023 including:

Qld XR Festival, Brisbane, Australia
Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre, Leicester
BOM, Birmingham
Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham
REfrACT Festival, Waterside Arts, Trafford
Light After Dark Festival, Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories, Los Angeles, USA, Toronto, Canada
Moving Body Festival, Varna, Bulgaria
Immersive Media Lab, University of Plymouth
Aesthetica Festival, York
Studio Wayne McGregor, London
STEAMHouse, Birmingham
Encounters Film Festival, Watershed, Bristol
Derby Festé, Derby
Extended Senses, University for the Creative Arts, & University of Greenwich, London

Received funding from The Mighty Creatives to work with Tom Dale Dance Company exploring methods for digital dance engagement, Oct 2020-Oct 2021 

Guest Lecture on my work as part of London School of Fashion, London’s Performance Futures, Immersive Week – online, Feb 2021

Presentation on my work as part of Live Performance in Virtual Environments, Audiences of the Future Event, Nov 2020

Panellist for the Meet Up / Women in Tech event at Frequency Festival, Lincoln, 2019

Dis_Place Immersive Performance and Volumetric VR film, Broadway Media Centre and The People's Hall Nottingham, 2019

Choreographer and performer for 36Q Blue Hour, a large scale digital immersive installation as part of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Space and Design, Prague, 2019

Blind reviewer for for International Journal of Digital and Performing Arts, special edition on VR and Performance, 2018

Dance Artist for QuestLab Digital Artist Network led by world renown Choreographer Wayne McGregor London, 2018 - 19

Movement Director for AHRC funded touring physical theatre work, commissioned by Prof. Gabriel Egan, De Montfort University, 2018

Member of DAPPER (Digital Arts Performance Practice Emerging Research), De Montfort University 2017 - present

Articulating Dance Research Laboratory, University of Northampton 2005 - 2007

Forward Thinking Artist Fellow, Nottingham Trent University 2003 - 2006

FACETS Choreographic Lab, India 2004

Arts and Technology Partnership Research Project, Loughborough University 2003 – 2005

Performance & Choreographic Works

Kerryn has been devising and choreographing work for the past fifteen years. She has recently created an innovative immersive digital performance and volumetric VR film Dis_place, which was presented at Broadway Media Centre and The People's Hall Nottingham, in October 2019. This project was supported by Studio Wayne McGregor's QuestLab programme, Dance4, NearNow and Arts Council England (ACE). She has received regular Arts Council England funding and has shown her work at a range of festivals, theatres and venues nationally including the National Review of Live Art, Sensitive Skin Festival, NEAT, NottDance and others.