Grand Theft Artaud: Live performance and spectatorship inside online video games

What happens when you try to perform Shakespeare inside Grand Theft Auto Online, a game space notorious for its aggression and gratuitous violence? You might expect the other players in your server to respond with heavy weaponry, perhaps a mini SMG, or a compact grenade launcher. And indeed, this is often what happens. Yet occasionally you may come across someone who responds in an entirely unexpected manner … In this talk Sam Crane will show how, by integrating the world of classical theatre with the chaotic, youthful and truly diverse realm of online gaming, we can open up fascinating new dramatic frontiers for both artists and audiences.

Sam Crane (UK)
Sam is an award-winning video artist and actor. In a theatre career spanning twenty years he has been critically acclaimed for his performances at the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, in The West End and on Broadway. In the guise of his alter ego, Rustic Mascara, he attracted over 50 thousand views in two weeks to his radical attempts to perform Shakespeare inside GTA online. His films have been screened at contemporary art and film festivals worldwide. He won the Critics’ Choice award at Milan Machinima Festival MMXXII, and was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2022. He has recently been awarded funding by the British Film Institute to make a documentary film about this work. He is one of six international emerging artistic researchers in the PEERS pre-PhD programme of the Department of Performing Arts and Film at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDk).