WebAR Workshop @ PQ23 Studio

UCLA REMAP at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space,  June 2023

Researchers from UCLA REMAP offered a workshop on Integrating Augmented Reality into Live Performance at the Prague Quadrennial in June, 2023.

We used Niantic’s 8th Wall WebAR platform, which runs on a mobile browser, to provide a hands-on exploration of AR motivated by what we’ve learned in REMAP’s recent theatrical projects.  

Our day-long session was part of PQ Studio's Exploratory Workshops, which aimed to “create a collaborative space for artists, designers, and professionals to explore performance design with a broad scope, digital tech integration, and a forward-thinking approach.”


We hosted the workshop to share REMAP’s experience in AR and live performance from the past eight years in a more hands-on way.   We were interested in extracting principles and technical approaches from the Center’s work so far, as well as learning  about interest and experience with AR among the PQ community.

While piloting approaches in a class at UCLA, we settled on using WebAR, rather than the game engines REMAP has typically used.  A web-based and (somewhat) device-agnostic approach enabled faster iteration times for app design / development, which made a hands-on workshop more fun and potentially would benefit rehersal processes.  It also offers a quicker start for audiences that “BYOD” (bring your own device).


The workshop covered three main topic areas, listed below. The excellent written guide by Chris describes many of the technical details of using the sandbox built for participants . 

Introductions, Lessons Learned, Creating in AR+ IRL simultaneously.
  • - Participant interests / background.
  • - Case studies from REMAP. 
  • - What AR can offer to performance.
  • - Principles drawn from prior work.

Adapting WebAR Platforms for Live Experiences: A-Frame, 8th Wall.
  • - Tradeoffs of WebAR. 
  • - System built for this workshop.
  • - 8th Wall and A-Frame basics.
  • - QLab integration for cueing. 
Hands-on Modification of the Sandbox projects.
  • - Collaborative editing in 8th Wall.
  • - Manipulating scenes via OSC.  
  • - Modifying assets, scenes in HTML.
  • - Testing with multiple devices. 

Collective WebAR with 8th Wall + QLab

We used Niantic / 8th Wall’s excellent collaborative editing and publishing platform, creating a sandbox that demonstrated both off-the-shelf AR features and a variety of custom A-Frame components. 

One custom component implemented theatrical control from QLab via OSC messages that could manipulate any element of the 3D scene. 

Google Firebase was used to update any number of mobile AR viewers (anywhere) based on the cues.

Code and 8th Wall template available upon request.


Participants explored steps in the project workflow shown below, spending most of the time in the purple boxes.  They worked with pre-existing code components / assets in a “sandbox” project that the team built in 8th Wall, manipulating them in real-time using QLab and a modified version of the A-Frame Inspector


All fourteen participants had theatrical backgrounds - primarily in design, but also as writers, directors, and dramaturgs.

About half of the participants had prior experience using AR apps, and only a third had prior experience creating AR, making this workshop an introductory experience of AR creation for most.  


Jeff Burke
Professor of theater and associate dean, research and technology at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Burke co-directs UCLA REMAP, where he leads cross-disciplinary research on a range of topics including augmented reality and artificial intelligence in live performance as well as data-centric internet architecture applications.

Mira Winick
Theater / XR director and producer, weaves her passion for social justice into thought-provoking narratives that challenge oppressive ideologies. Winick’s recent projects include, A Most Favored Nation, an AR immersive theater piece inspired by the Amazon series The Man in the High Castle, and Stardust, an immersive theatrical production.

Chris Wegemer
Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Social Welfare at UCLA. His research advances theory and practice in the field of youth civic engagement using social network analysis, educational technology, and global perspectives. Wegemer teaches  courses on topics such as graph theory and global social movements.

Workshop Gallery

Other PQ23 Participation

For the broader PQ23 audience, Jeff presented on our most recent AR immersive theater project, A Most Favored Nation, for  36Q°+H40, a “multimedia exhibition and workshop programme focused on stage technologies and advanced digital environments.”  

Special Thanks 

We are indebted to Barbora Comer and her entire team for their excellent support of our workshop and all of PQ Studio. 

This workshop was created with the invaluable assistance of students in Jeff’s Theater 176B course in the Spring of 2023. Zoë Chavez, Vicky Fann, Ingrid Lee, and Rebecca Ma  developed WebAR projects of their own with early versions of the platform code.

 Recent / Upcoming AR + Theater at UCLA REMAP

Apprentice at the End of the World
Workshop: 2018
A Most Favored Nation
(Set in the world of Amazon Studios’
The Man in the High Castle)

Research & Production: 2019-21
The City & The City
(Adapted from the novel
by China Miéville )

Planned: 2024

We’re also collaborating on fundamental technology for decentralized XR!


For more information, contact Jeff Burke.