An international research collaborative mapping opportunities for performance spaces in a hyperconnected world
Picture of futureSTAGE

futureSTAGE is an international initiative broadly concerned with the future of the performing arts: with the needs and possibilities for media, culture, and presence in a hyperconnected world; the civic stakes of the performing arts today; emergent modes and genres of performance and organization; the architecture of future performance spaces; and the future professions that will animate those performance venues. It is both theoretical and practical: consisting in A Manifesto for the Future Stage (which was published on Oct. 25, 2021 and has now been translated into eight languages) and in an array of related hands-on projects that are connected to the manifesto’s key themes: performance as a human right, architectures that promote connectivity, expanded concepts of liveness, sustainable models of touring, a rethinking of streaming not as fallback option but instead as expressive medium, and the need for new institutional and fiscal models.

The manifesto was developed by a group of roughly forty leading figures from the performing arts world, from dancers, musicians, and actors to technologists, designers, and architects, to policy makers, tour organizers, and directors of cultural institutions over the course of six months of online convenings. The group covered the entire globe from East to West and North to South. And it was animated by the ambition of transforming the post-Covid “return to normal” not into a return, but instead into an opportunity to reimagine the future of the performing arts.

The project is coordinated by Jeffrey Schnapp (founder/director, metaLAB) and Paolo Petrocelli (director, Stauffer Academy for Strings)

Members of Research Group:

  • Matthew Battles (USA) Director of Scholarly Initiatives, metaLAB (at) Harvard
  • Cathie Boyd (Ireland/Scotland) Founder & Artistic Director, Cryptic
  • Marc Brickman (USA) Managing Director, Tactical Manoeuvre
  • Paolo Ciuccarelli (Italy/USA) Founding Director, Center for Design, Northeastern University, Boston
  • Wesley Cornwell (USA) Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Lins Derry (USA) Prinicipal, metaLAB (at) Harvard
  • Evenlyn Ficarra (UK) Associate Director, Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre, University of Sussex
  • Mariana Ibañez (Argentina/USA) Chair and Associate Professor, Architecture and Urban Design, UCLA; Co-founder, Ibañez Kim
  • Simone Kim (USA) Director, Immersive Kinematics Research Group; Co-founder, Ibañez Kim
  • Mohammed Obaidullah (Saudi Arabia) Producer
  • Jay Pather (South Africa) Director, Institute for Creative Arts, University of Cape Town
  • Paolo Petrocelli (Italy) Research Affiliate, metaLAB at Harvard
  • Cui Qiao (China) President, Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation
  • Magda Romanska (USA) Associate Professor of Theatre Studies and Dramaturgy, Emerson College; Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief, TheTheatreTimes.com
  • Adama Sanneh (ITA) Co-Founder and CEO, Moleskine Foundation
  • Anthony Sargent (UK) International Cultural Consultant
  • Jeffrey Schnapp (USA) Faculty Director, metaLAB (at) Harvard
  • Shain Shapiro (UK) Founder & CEO, Sound Diplomacy
  • Sydney Skybetter (USA) Founder, Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces
  • Jean-Philippe Thiellay (France) President, Centre national de la musique
  • Shahrokh Yadegari (USA) Director, Sonic Arts Research and Development group at the University of California San Diego; Director, Initiative for Digital Exploration of Arts and Sciences at the Qualcomm Institute