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Performances tell compelling stories, provide an escape from (or new perspective on) everyday life, help us connect with each other, and teach us about the world. In this work, I seek to identify, categorize, and expand existing notions of “performance” as it is operationalized within the world of HCI, and articulate the ways in which core HCI concerns — including identity, agency, immersion, self-presentation, social interaction — can and should be investigated through performance. Through 1) incorporating core theatrical values into the design of novel computer-mediated communication systems 2) designing, constructing, and deploying functional prototypes during long-term collaborations with expert theatre practitioners, and 3) designing creativity support tools that embody expert values in order to scaffold newcomers into sustainable creative practice, my work emphasizes the ways that HCI can shape and be shaped by rich understanding of and engagement with performance. I embrace ‘performance’ as an understanding of the way people present themselves (as performers) to others (an audience) and investigate this in technologically-mediated environments. This thesis seeks to “illuminate the specific ways in which performance might further enrich...HCI research” (Spence et al., 2013).

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