Ana Victoria Falcon Araujo defends her doctoral thesis on 24 October at 14:30 room A-207 for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Theatre):

“Drafting the VR Play: Exploring Extended Reality Theater to Propose a Method for Virtual Reality Playwriting”

Supervisors: Madli Pesti, PhD (EAMT), Marion Jõepera, PhD

Opponent: Dr. phil. Ágnes Karolina Bakk, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (Hungary)

The doctoral thesis is available HERE and in print in the EAMT library.


This dissertation is the first to propose a writing process and format for plays envisioned for
Virtual Reality. Also known as VR, Virtual Reality is a computer-generated three-dimensional medium in which the audience may interact using commands and physical movement (Ryan 2015: 15). By devising a workflow and format for VR theater, this artistic research aims to aid playwrights and screenwriters to draft plays for the ever-advancing Virtual and Extended Reality (XR) mediums.

The methodology of this dissertation consists of a literature review, autoethnography, and
practice as research. As part of exploring how to bring Virtual Reality elements onto the
page, this research describes the development of a writers’ workshop, a practical handbook,
an two Extended Reality (XR) plays with scenes set in 360° video and limited interactivity.

This artistic research concludes by proposing a development process to write stories in a
format denominated as VR play, which fulfills the function of a literary screenplay
(Szczepanik 2013: 86) in a Virtual Reality or Extended Reality theater production. Therefore,
the VR play marks the completion of the conception of the story and is the seminal source for production documents such as the director’s script, lighting floorplans, technical breakdown
of interactions, mood boards, storyboards, narrative path design, axis mapping of actions, and others needed to stage a Virtual Reality play.

This dissertation evolves traditional stagewriting and screenwriting to devise a format for the
ever-advancing Virtual and Extended Reality medium. By doing so, this artistic research
enables storytellers unfamiliar with VR—but familiar with the writing conventions of theater
and cinema—to grasp the narrative possibilities of Virtual Reality and find creative
fulfillment by drafting stories for it.