The Autoteatro series, which began in 2007 with Rotozaza's 'Etiquette', explores a new kind of performance whereby audience members perform the piece themselves, usually for each other. Participants are given instruction via audio, visual cues or text for what to do or say. By simply following these instructions an event begins to unfold. Not to be confused with gaming (or ‘game show’-like improvisation), Autoteatro does not ask audience members to be clever or inventive, neither does it set up instances of competition. It’s also possible to define it as

• not involving any 'audience' beyond the participants themselves *

• functioning automatically: there are no actors or human input during the work other than the participants. An Autoteatro work is a 'trigger' for a subsequently self-generating performance.

A brief history of Autoteatro...

For Rotozaza's third work in 1999, Ant Hampton and Sam Britton created a show called BLOKE for a decidedly non-extrovert friend they wanted to see on stage. To get around the problem of him worrying about the job - or responsibility - of being an actor, they said 'just do whatever you're told, try hard, and don't worry if you mess it up'. Responding to a list of pre-recorded instructions, their friend gave a performance suffused with a kind of honesty they’d rarely seen on stage, embracing error and clumsiness, and transforming the audience from passive specatator to a more active role; aware they’re discovering everything at the same time as the person on stage.

In 2003, Ant created a second piece using instructions to unrehearsed guest performers (Romcom, with Glen Neath), and shortly afterwards initiated a research project into this way of creating performance. Following that, Ant and Silvia (as Rotozaza) created four works (Doublethink, Ooff, Punta Dois, Five in the Morning), which applied the strategy in different ways (more info here).

The idea for Etiquette came soon after BLOKE and work began on it in 2001, but it wasn't until 2007 that the piece was finally able to develop. After 8 years of the guest performers in their shows (amateurs, professionals and total first-timers) often telling them how fascinating an experience it was to let themselves be guided like this within a performative situation, Ant and Silvia finally engineered Etiquette to be the means by which an audience could experience this themselves.

Since 2009 Ant and Silvia have worked independently to create, alongside other projects, the Autoteatro works listed above.

as Rotozaza (Ant Hampton & Silvia Mercuriali) > 

    Etiquette - 2007

by Ant Hampton (click for website)


    The Thing (Automatic Workshop) - with Christophe Meierhans - 2017

    Crazy But True - 2016/17

    The Extra People - 2015

    Someone Else - 2015

    Lest We See Where We Are - with Tim Etchells - 2013 / 2014

    Cue China (Elsewhere, Offshore) - 2012

    This Is Not My Voice Speaking with Britt Hatzius - 2011

    OK OK with Gert-Jan Stam - 2011

    Hello For Dummies, with Glen Neath - 2011 (via The Bench, 2010)

    The Quiet Volume, with Tim Etchells - 2010

    GuruGuru  with Koyama & Khroustaliov - 2009

by Silvia Mercuriali (click for website) 


    Macondo 2017

    I hear U C me - with Tommaso Perego - 2015

    Le grand Voyage - an il pixel rosso production - 2014

    Rebels and Rubble - an il pixel rosso production - 2013

    The Great Spavaldos - an il pixel rosso production - 2012

    The Eye, a Fuel Theatre production with Tommaso Perego & Dominic Ffytche - 2012

    And the Birds fell from the Sky, an Il Pixel Rosso production - 2010

    Wondermart, with Matt Rudkin  and Tommaso Perego - 2009

photo candice cellier