Transmedia Dramaturgy

The classical, Aristotelian dramaturgy of two dimensional linear storytelling traditionally used in theatre and film no longer works in transmedia narratives.
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The classical, Aristotelian dramaturgy of two-dimensional linear storytelling traditionally used in theatre and film no longer works in transmedia narratives which in addition to deploying familiar plot-driven structural devices (inciting incident, climax, denouement), often incorporate multiple access points, serendipity, immersion, worldbuilding, role play, seriality, and time/space co-presence. The vertical and horizontal structure of transmedia narratives has unpenned our previously familiar dramaturgical concepts, demanding a whole new vocabulary and structural understanding of how meaning is created in the three-dimensional paradigm of multiplatform storytelling. With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing theatre to adopt new technologies and new transmedia dramaturgy, new questions emerge: how are we to analyze, think critically, and develop narratives that use multiple structural and architectural frameworks?

Magda Romanska is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Dramaturgy at Emerson College, an Affiliate at Harvard’s metaLAB, and the Executive Director of, the largest global digital theatre portal, for which she won the 2018 Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy. Her other digital project includes – an interactive digital map of theatre festivals, funded through Yale Digital Humanities Lab and LMDA Innovation Grant. She is the author or editor of five critically acclaimed theatre books: The Post-traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor (2012); TheaterMachine: Tadeusz Kantor in Context (2020); Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2016); and The Routledge Companion to Dramaturgy (2014), a leading and best-selling handbook of dramaturgy. She is also the sole editor of a ten-volume series Focus on Dramaturgy (Routledge). She has taught performance and transmedia at Harvard University, Yale School of Drama, Cornell University, and Emerson College.


metaLAB is partnering with the Mahindra Humanities Center to sponsor the Transmedia Arts Seminar, chaired by Magda Romanska, and Hana Worthen.