Capturing Performance

The CPS is developing new ways to capture the complexities of human performance, allowing performers to rediscover and enhance their practice.

The challenge

Performance is multifaceted. It typically results from a vast interaction of decisions and behaviours, each altered by the qualities and interactions of those performing, as well as the environments and conditions under which performance occurs. Audiences and spectators often see only the surface of performance, not the innumerable factors and preparation underpinning it, and in some cases, performers themselves may not be mindful of every aspect of their own practice, as skills flow seamlessly between conscious and non-conscious awareness. Although capturing and attempting to measure such facets may change the very nature of performance, these investigations can yield considerable and sometimes surprising insight into fundamental processes of human cognition, behaviour, and social interaction.

Our approach

The CPS is redefining what it means to capture performance. We are pioneering new techniques and technologies that measure and monitor performance physiology, psychology and phenomenology while minimally interfering with the act itself.

Our approach is as varied as the performances we measure. This includes devising new algorithms that reveal the complexities of a performer’s heartbeat, new simulations that bring the performance stage to the laboratory, new devices and wearable technology that bring the laboratory to the stage, and new protocols that combine interviews, observations, surveys, and biological and physiological data to capture the complete realm of the performer.

Our research has uncovered a previously obscured world of performance behaviour and outcomes, allowing us to put this knowledge into the hands of practitioners. We use this information to improve how performance is taught and learned, developing enhanced systems of feedback and training to help practitioners plan, deliver, and review their tasks. We help performers anticipate the unexpected, preparing them to manage challenges and capitalise on opportunity. Whether in music or sport, business or surgery, we believe that the best way to improve performance is to understand it.

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