Digital Prize 2020


United Kingdom
Sadler's Wells Theatre

Crowdfunding Results


About the Project

REBOOT was born from a wish to make technology a tangible part of a performance and reimagine audience participation.

The aim is to bring Artificial Intelligence, an abstract hidden system, into a state of visible interaction with our audience, many of whom will never have experienced AI technology before.

The loose narrative follows Lilith, a cryogenically frozen child, trapped in limbo, suspended between death and a future reawakening. Based on the true story of the youngest human to be cryogenized, a two year old girl, REBOOT questions our notions of life, death and the space in between.

Designed as a triptych (interactive website, performances 1 and 2) for three protagonists (performers, audience, machine), REBOOT confronts and connects humans to machines so they become one. The AI’s ability to interact with bodies culminates in part 2 where immersed spectators become actors impacting the narrative, as invisible mechanisms translate their human emotions into actions.

With REBOOT, AΦE invites you to step into a surreal world where time and space bend and boundaries between audience and performers are blurred.

Read more

An interactive website, the first part of the triptych, will allow the audience to start engaging with the AI characters pre-show. Part 1, a 30-minute family friendly experience, will then bring our audience into a surrealist environment on stage, revolving around Lilith in limbo. We will use proximity sensors and depth cameras to create 3D animated characters able to acknowledge the presence of the audience and interact with them, stepping out of the machine and reaching out to the real world.

In Part 2, the AI and biometric data driven live performance explores Lilith’s reawakening. 20 audience members will be equipped with biometric sensors and join our 5 dancers on stage. They will wander through the set as they please throughout the performance while the sensors capture their heart rate, breathing, stress level, etc. The collected data will then feed our AI system, which will adapt and react to the audience’s behaviour through the kinetic stage set. The audience will therefore directly impact the narrative through emotions they can’t control, evolving in a responsive environment.

The remaining audience will watch from the auditorium through a 3D holographic projection controlled by an AI system, augmenting the action on stage and adding layers of information to the performance. Our aim is to give the AI a physical presence and make it an extension of our world.

Taking inspiration from the story of Matheryn Naovaratpong, diagnosed with brain cancer at age 2 and cryonised moments after her death, we want to demonstrate how AI forces us to rethink our comprehension of life and death.

Part 1 relies on the capacity of the AI characters to acknowledge the presence of the audience so they can interact with them, bringing technology into the real world and the audience into the performance.

In Part 2, the technology/human interaction is even more obvious as bio sensors are placed on audience members to capture their biodata translated into emotions by the AI. It is therefore the technology, fuelled by human data, that allows the narrative to unfold.

AI has never been used in theatrical experiences before therefore making this project unique and innovative.

Why should you support us?

Artificial Intelligence has never been used in performance in this way before. The project uses AI as a force for creativity – the AI is influenced by human emotions. The piece will introduce audiences to AI technologies – often for the first time. Audiences will include children and young people who are the future designers of AI.

AΦE as a company are using some of the most advanced digital technologies in the performance world – could this be a glimpse into the future of the audience experience?

The project will involve many different artists, digital experts and collaborators from a wide range of disciplines, nationalities and backgrounds, encouraging cross-disciplinary international collaboration.

The digital revolution has changed our lives and continues to change our world at a fast pace. The dance world must embrace digital in all parts of the work it does; and be innovators and pioneers of new digital methods which will unlock artistic excellence. This project, with its multi-disciplinary approach and multi-layered experiences will inspire artists to take risks with new techniques and technologies and collaborate with experts in other fields. It will inspire other organisations to be bolder in their programming and put digital centre stage.

Who are we?

AΦE is an Ashford-based dance company founded by Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Lecoq with the vision to incorporate technology into the theatre experience and bring audiences closer to the art of dance. They are the only dance company touring internationally using primarily Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). They are pioneers in the sector, and mix different art forms with this technology, offering a new perspective for dance audiences of all ages.

Previous work includes their first major commission, WHIST, which toured to 23 venues/festivals, 10 countries, was seen by more than 8,200 paying audiences and more than 4,440 participants participated in our workshops and demo events. Sadler’s Wells then commissioned Augmented Reality Dance performance 0AR, which subsequently toured to 10 venues in four countries.

AΦE were programmed for the first Sadler’s Wells Digital Festival, which was due to take place in April 2020, but was canceled due to the pandemic. During lockdown, they ran a successful week long virtual 360 filmmaking workshop, attended by participants from all over the world.

Collaborators for REBOOT include :

  • Dr. Paul Vershure is Research Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, and the director of Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems group at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia.
  • Softwearable designer Ling Tang is a researcher in the effects of wearable technologies on the body and mind of the wearer
  • Niels Prayer is a French motion designer, director, and art director
  • Christoph Muller is a director of bAm and a founding member of the HAUS research group, humanoids in architecture and urban spaces by Oliver Schürer.
  • Renaud Rohlinger is an award winning French 3D creative web developer
  • Lara Jensen is a London based British costume designer and milliner

Sadler's Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. Our vision is to create, through dance, a depth of connection beyond borders, cultures and languages, so we see ourselves in each other.

Sadler's Wells commissions and presents more new dance work than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, we have helped to bring over 170 new dance works to the stage. We supports the development of dance artists and choreographers at every stage of their career. We give the next generation of artists the means to develop further. Sadler’s Wells is committed to presenting new work by cutting edge choreographers, dancers and companies.

Shaksfin provides cross-cultural exchanges and communications in the performing arts, and continues to facilitate and conceptualise artistic endeavours between different cultures.  

Aoi Nakamura

Aoi Nakamura

Artistic Director & Choreographer

Esteban Fourmi

Esteban Lecoq

Artistic Director & Choreographer

Lara Jensen

Lara Jensen

Costume Designer

Ling tan

Ling Tang

Wearable Designer

Paul Verschure

Paul Verschure (SPECS Lab, Eodyne)

Lead AI Developer

bewegende Architekturmanufaktur

Christoph Müller (BAM)

Set Designer


Niels Prayer

Motion Designer

Bear Winter Perreau

Bear Winter Perreau

Real Time Artist


Renaud Rohlinger

3D Web Designer

Tara Jade Samaya

Tara Jade Samaya


Paul Vickers

Paul Vickers



Ballu by Dr. Dennis Hong



AOE logo-black


United Kingdom

Shaksfin Asia Logo

Shaksfin Asia Pte Ltd.




FEDORA Artists Series, FEDORA Prizes, Jury Nominee, Nominee

Sadler's Wells Theatre

Meet the creators behind REBOOT!

17 December 2020

Artists are still creating in these challenging times. Listen to Aoi Nakamura and Esteban Lecoq in this interview dedicated to them and their next creation, REBOOT, nominee of the FEDORA Digital Prize 2020.

Read more

FEDORA Prizes, Jury Nominee

Sadler's Wells Theatre

AΦE in residency at Reinbeckhallen in Berlin

21 October 2020

Take a sneak peek at AΦE's latest research and development for REBOOT. We cannot wait to experience this amazing creation !

Read more
If you are a company or tax resident in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland or the United Kingdom and do not wish to receive the associated crowdfunding benefits, you can receive a tax receipt instead. To do so, please click on “Pledge without a reward” and type in the amount you wish to donate.

Please note that according to the Charities Aid Foundation, UK residents can only obtain a tax receipt for donations between GBP 100 and GBP 9,999.

Please note that according to the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, Swiss residents can only obtain a tax receipt for donations of minimum 100 CHF.

Donations as of €5 are still possible via FEDORA's payment page for anyone wishing to make a donation of under £100 or 100 CHF without receiving a tax receipt.

Learn more about possible benefits or tax deductions related to your donation here.

Support sustainable innovation in opera and dance

Outdated browser

For a better experience,
keep your browser up to date.

Learn more