Performing Robots


Meet Ulrike Quade


Meet Ulrike Quade, artistic director of Ulrike Quade Company and co-applicant of our project, Acting Like a Robot.

She uses a unique mixture of visual theatre, dance, music, scenography, and literature, with the performance of puppets and objects as the main common denominator. Her approach to non-human performers builds on aspects of Asian puppetry tradition, while also taking these practices in new directions with different, sometimes hyper-realistic puppets and high-tech specimens such as robots or cyborgs.

Through her work, Ulrike explores the expressive possibilities of puppets and other non-human performers to uncover the potential of the theatre for investigating how technology changes the world and affects human existence. Through poetry and magic, she creates new worldviews and images of futures brought about by technology.

Her theatre group, Ulrike Quade Company, is based in Amsterdam and works with a team of collaborators. As artistic director, she leads the company through productions that range from intimate lunch performances to large scale opera’s that are put on in the Netherlands, Europe, and the rest of the world. Her company strives to bring art and science together, investigating how technology influences both humans and the theatre.

Her creative investigations stimulate our thoughts in largely three interrelated themes:



  • Theatre as means to explore and reflect on the performance of technology and human-technology interaction
  • How does technology do what it does?
  • How does technology affect our lives as well as ways of making theatre?



  • How is co-creation organized?
  • How does technology affect processes of co-creation in theatre, including the development of robots?



  • What does animation entail?
  • How is animation part of puppet and object theatre?
  • How do Ulrike’s explorations open new approaches to animation, and how may these inform approaches to the performance of robots and smart objects?


We are currently working to publish a book which is organized around documentation of Ulrike’s investigations as one of many outcomes of our project, Acting Like a Robot. More information about the book will follow in the near future. Subscribe to our newsletter here to stay updated!