UpStage v2.1 User Manual


UpStage is a web-based venue for cyberformance[1] - the real-time compilation of digital media into live performance, by multiple remote players for an online audience (and sometimes an offline audience as well). People anywhere in the world can participate in live performance events by using standard browser software to access UpStage, without having to download and install additional software and without needing to know anything other than a web address.

The concept for UpStage was developed by Avatar Body Collision, a globally dispersed cyberformance troupe whose members have been experimenting with online theatrical performance since 1999, and together as Avatar Body Collision since 2002. UpStage was born from the desire to reach a wider audience and to make it easier for audiences and performers alike to participate in live performance via the internet.

The software combines the different elements of cyberformance - graphical avatars, web cams, audio, images, text chat (and who knows what else in the future) - into a single interface. The audience simply directs their browser to the web address at the appointed time, to watch and participate in the cyberformance.

The UpStage server application is open source and free to download. It is available under dual licensing: a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License and GNU General Public Licence (GPL). 

The initial development of UpStage was funded in 2003 through the Smash Palace Collaboration Fund, a joint initiative of Creative New Zealand and the NZ Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. In 2006, the UpStage project received funding from the Community Partnerships Fund of the New Zealand government’s Digital Strategy to develop UpStage version 2. UpStage V2 was also supported by partners CityLink, MediaLab and Auckland University of Technology.

Currently, UpStage is supported by CityLink who provide free server hosting and traffic, and Auckland University of Technology who provide teams of final-year computer programming students to work on the ongoing development of the software. The UpStage team and user community are very grateful for this vital support.

This is the user manual – it provides general instructions for using UpStage version 2.1; it is divided into 6 sections:

  • Introduction
  • Audience
  • Players
  • Media Management
  • Creating Media
  • Appendices

Open sessions are held regularly in UpStage, providing training in the basic use of UpStage and how to create cyberformance. For dates and times for the next open session, visit and join the UpStage Announce list.

If you are looking for technical support including instructions for installing the UpStage server, please refer to the SourceForge trac and the developers' mailing list.

For further information and updates, please visit


Creative Commons License
The UpStage User Manual has been edited by Helen Varley Jamieson in collaboration with Vicki Smith and the UpStage community, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

[1] Cyberformance uses internet technologies to bring remote performers together in live theatrical events;