International Conference 
"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

December 16 - 20, 2016


Empathy, Performance, and Technology: Creating "Ergo Sum"

Talk and demonstration by Ellie Chadwick - experimental theatre-maker, PhD researcher, teacher at the University of Warwick (UK) and Aaron Hussain - sound engineer and creative technician (UK).

Ellie Chadwick is a PhD researcher and teacher at the University of Warwick, and an experimental theatre-maker working freelance in London and elsewhere. Ellie teaches workshops on devising, classical drama, voice, and storytelling (for organisations including Warwick University, EducationFirst, Theatre Royal Stratford East, and Exeter University) and has created work for the National Trust, the Tristan Bates Theatre (Covent Garden), the Minack Theatre (Cornwall), the Albany Theatre (Deptford), Exeter Northcott and other venues. 

Ellie recently took part in the ArtsOasis International Performers Residency with Sergei Ostrenko in Italy, and have since been in Bali for a month researching traditional Balinese theatre practices, learning Legong dance, and interviewing artists about their work bringing together traditional forms with contemporary innovation (including the internationally renowned mask maker and performer Ida Bagus Anom Suryawan).

Ellie is currently a resident artist at Watershed Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio and working with Theatre Delicatessen in London on an experimental immersive piece titled Ergo Sum.

The PhD research of Ellie Chadwick explores the notion that the emergent language of theatre, and more generally of modern culture, has links to much earlier forms of storytelling and an ancient worldview, and raises questions as to how theatre practitioners might best understand and utilise early modes of entertainment and ideologies in the creation of performance work today. It explores the emergence and history of theatrical performance in Britain, with particular focus on how early medieval ideologies and theatrical forms were absorbed into the practices of the first professional theatres in the early modern age, using Shakespeare’s work as a core example. Further, it uncovers and interrogates, through practice, links between performance practices today and the ritual roots of native theatrical tradition: links which we have largely lost in the UK but which still exist in certain other cultures. As a practitioner Ellie is interested in psychosomatic and embodied approaches, tension and interplay between residual and emergent ideas (tradition vs innovation), the relationship between body and mind, and the role of narrative in human cognition.   

Aaron Hussain worked as a sound engineer and stage manager for several years with Just Records, Alchemy, and band 'The Rumour'. He has mixed live sound for various acts at Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia and White Feather Festival in the UK, and managed successful open mic nights for venues in the South West of England.

Aaron's work on the Ergo Sum project includes: recording binaural sound, purchasing equipment, running sound experiments, creating the sound set up (incorporating recorded binaural and live sound via radio mics, transmitted to audience headphones), and running the desk including live mixing for the performance.


Ergo Sum is a multi-sensory event combining live performance with new technology, exploring the kaleidoscopic nature of human experience. The piece immerses audiences in the minds of characters living with psychiatric and neurological disorders, utilising binaural sound to create a 3D sound environment and explore the boundaries and transitions between hallucination and reality, and internal self versus the external world. The audience wear headphones to immerse them in a soundscape utilising binaural technology (which tricks the brain into believing it is hearing real-time, three-dimensional, live sound) as they watch a live performance.

This presentation will consist of a demonstration of binaural sound, a talk about the project and its potential applications, and a discussion about the use of new tools like virtual reality and augmented reality alongside or combined with live performance. It will raise questions about how the methods of live performance and technology can each be utilised to give better access to different perspectives, therefore encouraging empathy and understanding.

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"