Use of Jitsi in Interactive Theater

Hi just wanted to share a use case of using Jitsi as part on an interactive theater show experience

Lying Creatures is a theater production conducted online with a “forum theater” format that directly encouraged audience participation as part of the experience. To enable this audience participation, the Jitsi platform (https://jitsi.org/) particularly its free meeting service (https://meet.jit.si/) was integrated into the system. Following is a brief explanation of how the Jitsi platform was employed during the Lying Creatures show. (Lying Creatures is a short run production of Teatro77 https://teatro77.online)

Use of the lib-jitsi-meet API

To make a customized and near seamless use of the Jitsi meet platform throughout the show, the lib-jitsi-meet API was added to the technology stack. In particular use was the IFrame API which enabled adding the jitsi interface to be melded into the show stage. (IFrame API · Jitsi Meet Handbook)

Various customizations were enabled in the lib-jitsi-meet API and they will be discussed in the next sections which explain the parts of the show where they were used.

Use Case 1: Audience Forum

Actor with audience interaction

The show opens into a scene with a police officer setting the context of the show. Being a murder mystery where the audience will be directed to choose what to do next they are encouraged to analyze and share observations in order to solve the case. To this end the audience were drawn to participate using the chat feature of Jitsi, while the police officer is the only one talking and is focus for the video displayed. Through this, the police officer (actor) was able to have a direct interaction with the spect-actors (audience) with him reading from the chat and reacting improv to the posts by the spect-actors. A continuous thread of discussion ensued.

Additionally there is a reserved area at the bottom where the spect-actors were made to choose one and click to set their choice. This choice is then tallied and will direct the next scene. Jitsi was used to have the live performing police officer instruct the spect-actors how to use the interface and thus condition them for what is expected ahead.

Jitsi customization

  • Turned off audience audio and video automatically : necessary to enhance anonymity of audience and encourage them to interact via the chat. Only police officer audio / video
  • Auto focus on the police officer - reduce visibility of other audience members and have them just see the police officer
  • Embedded name of meeting room, auto entry, no need for login screen
  • Auto open the chat box - primary means for audience interaction. Spect-Actors prescribed their pseudonym prior to entering the show

Use Case 2: Live Voice Actor

Streamed Video Performance with Live Audio Stream

In the opening sequence we have the detective reviewing the case and she eventually gets a call from a WITNESS. The WITNESS is a live voice actor streaming audio via Jitsi.


In this scene we have a Jitsi window hidden “behind” the streaming video and once again we have all the spect-actors (audience) logged in but muted and only the witness is being heard. While the Witness is on focus, there is no need for a video feed since it is also hidden. The Witness is thus “heard” over the phone.

Jitsi features

  • Resizeable window
  • Same setup as in audience forum

Use Case 3: Open Forum

After Show Meet and Greet with Cast, Crew and Audience

Jitsi session once again embedded into the show after the end credits. This time it was used to hold a meet and greet with the cast and crew. Normal operation of Jitsi was used to have visibility of all attendees.

Jitsi Features used
Normal configuration
Default Avatar was customized using the ticket image used per spect-actor member

Through these various interactions we were able to recreate certain aspects of audience - performance interaction to make the online show have similar dynamics to an actual theater performance…

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This is SO COOL to see! Excellent work, congratulations!