My first article in an academic journal has just been published. "Youth Performance in Virtual Environments" is available in print as well as online at Taylor & Francis Online. Here's the abstract:

"This article examines the changing nature of young audiences in a media-saturated society. There is a growing trend toward participation and agency in video and augmented reality games allowing players to become participant and observer, actor and avatar. Based on my work with drama for youth, my experiments with participatory performance utilizing video games, and the convergence of theories about play and performance, I analyze the evolving connections between the way children and adults experience virtual environments and games, the ways they engage with a theatrical event, and how this informs the development of theatre for young audiences."

This came out of my work on the Minecraft Summer Reading Program , and my research in a youth theatre seminar last spring. I presented a first draft at a symposium I attended at the University of Hildesheim, Germany called “Arts Meets Research: an international symposium on concepts, contexts and methods of research in Theatre for Young Audiences," and hosted in association with ITYARN and ASSITEJ International.

This is a milestone for me, and since it's made up of so many different components from my life and research, it is a real pleasure to see it all come together in this way.


AuthorJames Burling

My current project, a piece of mini-theatre called Glossary of Terms, has just opened. Part of Café Allongé, it's a short 25 minute performance for 1 at Ancora Coffee on King St. in Madison dealing with start-ups, seduction, and surveillance.

If you're interested, check out the description on the Café Allongé website and sign up for a time. The performance will be running through December, but slots are already more than half full, so move quickly.

Café Allongé is a city-wide festival of coffee-shop performances for the Wisconsin Triennial. This is most of the same group I performed with in Montreal in 2011, but this Café Allongé features 16 performances in 16 coffee shops with performances running for three months. Information about the project, descriptions of each performance, bios of performers, and a link to sign up for performance dates can be found at

AuthorJames Burling

I'll be writing more on this down the road, but I saw/took part in this performance of Remini Protokoll's Remote Berlin Berlin recently. What an amazing and theatrical experience:

Hordes of people who have never met in the real world swarm out on virtual treasure hunts when playing online games. In “Remote X” we’re a horde of people wearing radio headphones, swarming out into the real city.

A synthetic voice in our headphones (of the kind familiar from GPS navigators or airport announcements) directs the movements of our swarm. Binaural recordings and film scores turn the cityscape into a personal film; artificial Intelligence explores unknown territories, mustering human activity from a remote perspective. And yet the voice sounds ever more human to us as we progress, while in the eyes of passers-by our remotely controlled horde starts to look like a kind of alien entity.

How are joint decisions made? Are we all hearing the same words? As 50 individuals observe each other the swarm breaks down into ever-smaller units, before re-forming as a collective in which decisions are ultimately taken individually. Might this be the beginning of a movement?
”Remote X” lays a trail through the city for this swarm of 50 people. It composes a soundtrack to streets, parking garages, churches and backyards. Each new city-specific version builds on the dramatic structure of its predecessor, writing more storylines for new sites.
AuthorJames Burling