Towards the Emergent Theatre: A Novel Approach for Creating Live Emergent Narratives Using Finite State Machines

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this project, we introduce finite state machines as a way to simultaneously connect an audience’s input with performer output during a live performance. Our approach is novel in that we can redefine the traditional notion of an author, by dividing and balancing the responsibilities for creating and developing emergent narrative between three elements: the audience, finite state machines, and the performers. This also allows audience members a large degree of freedom to input into the system, as we can consider audience inaction as a form of productive action. We have developed the Data Generation Engine (DGE), software that generates data to be used by performers for creating and developing narrative and to provide audiences with opportunities to manipulate the DGE’s data generation and distribution mechanisms. We argue that using this approach in a live theatre context allows a consistent narrative to emerge while giving the audience the freedom to engage in the narrative without disrupting the performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Storytelling
Subtitle of host publication13th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2020, Bournemouth, UK, November 3–6, 2020, Proceedings
EditorsAnne-Gwenn Bosser, David E. Millard, Charlie Hargood
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783030625160
ISBN (Print)9783030625153
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2020
Event13th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling: ICIDS 2020 - Virtual, Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Nov 20206 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference13th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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