Playing the game: Role distance and digital performance

John Carroll, David Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the connection between the conventions of the live role-based performance of process drama and the mediated performance of online role-playing video games. Both activities allow participants to 'become somebody else'. Both deal with the identity shifts possible within imagined environments. This mutability of identity provides a metaphor for considering the episodic nature of in-role performance and out-of-role reflection in both drama and video games. Using the massively multiplayer online role-playing (MMORP) game EverQuest as a case study, this paper examines digital performance and its relationship to the dramatic conventions of role distance and role protection. It also examines the common learning outcomes that could usefully be explored between process drama and video games.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Theatre Researcher
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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