From 23 May 2019 12:00 to 25 May 2019 17:00

Performing Robots Conference 2019 - Call for Proposals


From 23 to 25 May 2019 the Performing Robots Conference: Dialogues Between Theatre and Robotics will take place in Utrecht. This conference is organised by Transmission in Motion (Utrecht University) and SPRING Performing Arts Festival.

Robots are increasingly present, both in our daily life and on stage. Theatre makers explore the possibilities of these new technological performers and investigate the opportunities and implications of a future of living with them. Also in daily life, the presence and behavior of robots raises questions that concern their dramaturgy and design.

robots and performance

Guy Hoffman observes that theater acting and other performing arts could serve Human Robot Interaction (HRI) as useful testbeds. Heather Knight identifies eight lessons about designing non-verbal interaction that can be learned from the theatre, and demonstrates the potential of comedy for experimenting with and testing out robot behavior and HRI. Elizabeth Jochum points to puppet theatre as source of knowledge and expertise about animating mechanical agents, and shows how theatre can be used to study interaction with care robots. Projects like Towards Corporeally Literate Social Robots (Petra Gemeinboeck) and the Pinoke Project (Deakin University) use expertise from the field of dance and interaction with dancers for new approaches to developing movement for robots. 

interaction between theatre and robotics

This conference takes stock of interactions between theatre and robotics so far and looks at possibilities for future collaboration. What do the performing arts have to offer as inspiration, model, and testbeds for robots and for HRI? What does robotics have to offer to the theatre? How might collaboration between the performing arts and robotics contribute to further development of social robots, as well as to critical understanding of what it will mean to be living with them? The conference will include performances by and/or dialogues with theatre makers Kris Verdonck, Rimini Protokoll, Dries Verhoeven, Angela Goh and others.

call for proposals

The organisation of the conference is welcoming proposals for papers, demonstrations and other kinds of presentations by scholars and artists about interactions between theatre and robotics. Subjects may include, but are not limited to:

- The use of knowledge and expertise (theories, analytical tools, practical expertise) from the theatre for understanding and designing robot behavior and HRI;
- Practices of making theatre as inspiration for creative approaches to the process of developing robot behavior and HRI;
- The use of the theatre, and by extension theatrical contexts like festivals, as a site for experimentation with the behavior of robots, for trying out and testing ways of communicating with them, as well as for exploring scenarios for interacting and living with robots;
- Creative explorations of robotics by theatre and dance makers.

proposal format

Proposals for papers should be 250 words in length, in addition to the following information: name of presenter(s), email address, short bio (maximum 50 words). Send proposals to, indicating “paper proposal” in the subject line. For other formats, please contact the organizers ( with a short description of what this presentation would entail and what would be required, as well as a short (50 words) bio.  

important dates

Deadline for submissions: 7 March 2019
Notification of acceptance: 20 March 2019
Dates of the conference: 23-25 May 2019

Start date and time
23 May 2019 12:00
End date and time
25 May 2019 17:00