Technology Augmented Props

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Key Responsibilities:

  • Project leader
  • Coordinated and executed three 90-minute user study sessions with a total of five professional improvisers (included video-recording, demographic questionnaire, and semi-structured interviews)
  • Transcribed all video-recordings and performed open coding on the data
  • Primary writer of the full length research paper based on the data from our user study
  • Researched, created, and executed a 20-minute presentation at a computer science conference in Arizona

Project Description: (thesis abstract)

While improvised theatre (improv) is often performed on a bare stage, improvisers sometimes incorporate physical props and technical elements to inspire new directions for a scene and to enrich their performance. For improvising technical elements such as light and sound, a control booth is used in a theatre space. However, coordinating with improvisers’ action on-stage is challenging as there is a disconnect between the technicians and the performers. My goal is to inform the design of a technology augmented prop that brings the capabilities of the control booth directly to the hands of the performers as a tangible user interface. I interviewed five professional improvisers about their use of physical props and technical elements in improv, and their expectations of performer-controlled technology. I propose a set of guidelines for the design of a technology augmented prop that is integrated into the existing world of improvised theatre.


TEI 2019 (Tempe, Arizona)


(thesis) Technology Augmented Props: Tangible User Interfaces for Performer Controlled Technical Elements in Improvised Theatre 

Mikalauskas C., Viczko A., and Oehlberg L. (2019). Improvising with Performer-Controlled Technology during the Rehearsal Process. Flash talk presented at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, Prague, CZ.

Claire Mikalauskas, April Viczko, and Lora Oehlberg. 2018. Beyond the Bare Stage: Exploring Props as Potential Improviser-Controlled Technology. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 35-43. DOI:

Project Team:

Claire Mikalauskas
April Viczko
Lora Oehlberg