Project dates: 2021
Alex is a world-first collaboration between practices in psychology and theatrical performance, creating a unique virtual experience without the need for wearable devices: this is augmented reality without goggles, lenses, or mobile phones. But it is also designed for a social purpose. This performative experience blends Augmented Reality technology with applied theatre to create a unique dramatic world intended as an arts-based clinical intervention for people with eating disorders. The cutting-edge holographic technology deployed within the performance also promises step-changing dramaturgy and design implications for the live theatre industry.
Over the past year, QUT’s Design Lab lead researcher Dr Shane Pike, from the School of Creative Practice (Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice), and Associate Professor Esben Strodl from the School of Psychology and Counselling (Faculty of Health) have been collaborating to develop a kind of narrative therapy to reduce the intensity of beliefs of low self-worth and poor body image in people with eating disorders. This intervention involves participants experiencing the theatrical performance, Alex, embedded with communal augmented reality technology. Participants then explore and unpack this experience to identify its impact on their beliefs about self-esteem and body image.
This site showcases the development of an arts-based, clinical intervention to reduce the intensity of beliefs of low self-worth and poor body image in people with eating disorders. This intervention involves participants experiencing the theatrical performance, Alex, written by Dr Shane Pike, embedded with communal augmented reality technology. Participants are then able to explore this experience and unpack its influence on their beliefs about self-esteem and body image. The research is funded by a QUT IHBI Synergy Grant and supported by the family of Dr Don Batchelor through the Dr Don Batchelor Award for Innovation in Performance.
Showcasing this creative synergism between the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice and the Faculty of Health in solving real world problems, the world-premiere of Alex was held at QUT in 2021. Directed by award winning artist Catarina Hebbard (The Pitch, Queensland Theatre; The First Ten Pages, La Boite Theatre Company) with performances from Ngoc Phan (A Streetcar Named Desire, La Boite Theatre Company; Secrets and Lies, Network Ten) and Stephen Geronimos (Anatomy of a Suicide, Metro Arts; Diving for Pearls, Queensland Theatre), Alex demonstrates the strength of real-world connections across the health and creative industries at QUT.
Dr Shane Pike, QUT, School of Creative Practice
A/Prof. Esben Strodl, QUT, School of Psychology and Counselling
Academic Team Members
Catarina Hebbard, Director, Industry Collaborator
Callie Roebuck, Production Manager, Industry Collaborator (QUT Grad. BFA Technical Production)
Richard Saunders, IKONIX, Industry Collaborator
Zachary Burton, IKONIX, Industry Collaborator
Gemma Frost, Masters of Clinical Psychology Student, QUT Ngoc Phan, Actor, Industry Collaborator
Stephen Geronimos, Actor, Industry Collaborator (QUT Grad. BFA Acting)
Emma Langfield, Performer, QUT BFA Drama student
Nicholas Southey, Producer, QUT BFA Drama student
- Pike S, (2019) ‘Make it so…’: Communal augmented reality and the future of theatre and performance, Fusion p108-118
- Pike S, (2020) Virtually relevant: AR/VR and the theatre, Fusion p120-128
- Pike S, Neideck J, Kelly K, (2020) ‘I will teach you in a room, I will teach you now on Zoom…’: A contemporary expression of zooming by three practitioner/academics in the creative arts, developed through the spirit of the surrealist’s exquisite corpse, International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media
Funding / Grants
- IHBI Synergy Grant Don Batchelor Award (2019 - 2021)