Antigone’s Diary – Young Audiences as Co-creators of GPS-guided Radio Drama


  • Manilla Ernst Stockholm University
  • Willmar Sauter Stockholm University



multimedia performance, mobile radio drama, moving audiences, immersion, participation, democratic involvement


The play, Antigone’s Diary, is a re-written version of Sophocles’ classical play, developed with teenage schoolchildren in the riot-ridden suburb Husby, a 30-minute subway ride away from the centre of Stockholm. Rebecca Forsberg of RATS Theatre adapted the plot into an interactive radio performance with a mobile audience, walking through the suburb and responding via text messages to Antigone’s questions after each of the twelve scenes. Young audiences were of especial interest for this project. Therefore, school performances for teenagers are the focus of this survey. The responses of pupils were studied during and after performances by means of observations, qualitative interviews and quantitative analysis of the text messages that the participants sent in response to Antigone’s questions. The seriousness and enthusiasm of young audiences were one of the stunning outcomes of this survey and a number of quotations illustrate the immersive power of this production. Furthermore, this experiment also served as a test bed for the Department of Computer and System Science, to which Rats Theatre is closely tied. The multimedia performance, combining radio drama, mobile audiences in a local environment and the options of interactive participation, demonstrated the potential of participatory experiences to engage audiences in democratic processes that can be applied to issues of political interest and decision making in the public sphere.

Author Biographies

Manilla Ernst, Stockholm University

Manilla Ernst has a Master’s degree in Children’s Culture and a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Studies from Stockholm University. Her research interests are related to performing arts for children, children and media, children’s experiences of culture and children’s participation and influence. She works part-time at the Centre for the studies of Children’s Culture at Stockholm University. She also carries out surveys for public authorities and theater groups and gives lectures on children’s experiences of performing arts.

Willmar Sauter, Stockholm University

Willmar Sauter, Professor emeritus of Theatre Studies at Stockholm University, has studied audiences and reception processes over a number of years. He has also writ- ten on Swedish theatre history, from Bronze Age rock carvings to recent multimedia and digital performances. His theoretical interests are documented in The Theat- rical Event (2000) and Eventness (2006). He has recently published a book on the Drottningholm Court Theatre (2014, together with David Wiles). He was the first chairman of the Association of Nordic Theatre Scholars. He has been the President of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and served Stockholm University as dean of the Faculty of the Humanities and as chair of the Research School of Aesthetics.


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How to Cite

Ernst, M., & Sauter, W. (2015). Antigone’s Diary – Young Audiences as Co-creators of GPS-guided Radio Drama. Nordic Theatre Studies, 27(1), 32–41.



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