‘The many masks of Dr Tulp’: Drama, performance, and digital humanities


Dr Tulp and the Theatre of Zoom is an online performance that took place on the 16th and 17h of July 2020 and was hosted by Cambridge Digital Humanities. This example is submitted by the producer, Annja Neumann.

It is inspired by the famous Rembrandt’s group portrait The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp (1632).


The performances (and a workshop following) aimed to intervene in current digital technologies by framing the digital as a theatre, a critical play with spaces that allows us to re-perform, re-locate and re-think our real and virtual bodies.

In their own words:

The play examines how online interaction ‘de-abjectifies’ the human body by banishing its messy form and leaked fluids, and how Zoom promotes the illusion of interpersonal transparency and immediate communication.


An online performance, particularly within the context of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, allowed the authors to pose questions about bodies and virtual spaces.

Further examples

Annja Neumann discusses further the meaning of the play in the following link.

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