'Alexa, Turn the Lights on' is about technology, and how it's ruining my life. And probably, ruining yours too.

"Alexa, Turn the Lights on", is about technology and how it's ruining my life. This performance explores how technology knows when you are at your weakest; you're running late and need to send this one really important email and then... BOOM. Technology chooses to not work. It was working fine. and now, it isn't. Whether it's an email, or the damned printer, we all know the feeling of being royally screwed by technology.

Jacob Watton would describe his relationship to technology as: kicking and screaming. Most notable in this struggle with the 21st century is Jacob's relationship with Alexa, the smart home device. Her snide remarks and willful disobedience mean that Jacob is often forced to sit in the dark. Is there a magic word he's supposed to use? Or maybe Alexa just doesn’t like him!

Jacob uses Amazon Alexa technology to create a hilarious and interactive performance experience. Become part of the journey as Jacob and Alexa work together to tell a story of humanity vs technology. One thing is certain - Alexa has a mind of her own and no two performances will be the same!

Venue Format
Theatre, Hall, Black Box Venue
Technical Rating
D, The production can be modified to suit most venues
Touring Party

The performance is completely reliant on internet connectivity and speed. A stable and fast internet capacity is paramount to the success of the performance. Currently the performance is mapped to mobile data speeds. It can be reconfigured to work on a wifi or wired network if necessary.

The performance is best suited to an intimate audience of 30 - 50 members. This smaller performance model makes social distancing and Covid-19 policies easier to adhere to but may mean a greater number of performances.

The performance is presented in the round rather than in a traditional proscenium arch mode. Audience participation relies on this more informal performance mode. Seating on the stage or another open performance space is needed.

Jacob Watton is a Queensland-based creator, performer, and facilitator working primarily in Brisbane and Toowoomba Queensland.

In 2016 Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). He went on to attain a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) with first class honours from QUT in 2017.

In 2017 Jacob premiered his work ‘and JULIET’ at Brisbane’s SUPERCELL Contemporary Dance Festival. He went on to secure funding to tour ‘and JULIET’ to Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre in 2017, as well as securing an international tour to South Korea, presenting at the Busan International Dance Festival in 2019.

In 2017, as part of his postgraduate research, Jacob presented ‘1:1’, a performance and technology production at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria.

Most recently Jacob has toured regional and rural Queensland as Templeton the Rat in Rava Productions version of "Charlotte's Web". Since 2018, Jacob has been working on Angela Chaplin's "If Only I Could", a production partnering with aged care residents to explore the process of ageing.

On top of his performance and creative credits, Jacob works as a Teaching Artist, working within Schools and Studios to deliver curriculum goals and engage classrooms in the arts across Queensland.

Company Website

Unique Selling Point

This performance utilizes innovative and custom software systems that enable the Alexa Smart Home Device to be interacted with at greater level than her out of the box features allow. Alexa uses audience interactions in order to generate and collaborate on content for the performance. Alexa flirts, holds a grudge, empathizes, and questions the audience, allowing the audience to perceive her as artificially intelligent. She isn't, but her performance allows for and encourages this personification.

Through humour the work explores loneliness, privacy, and the dangers and pleasures of an online presence, investigating ways that technology is used for/against us.

Marketing Materials

A marketing package including performance promotional footage, photography, and marketing copy will be available.

The inclusion of an Alexa Smart Home Device situated in the foyer pre and post show with clear instructions on how to interact with Alexa in the form of a stand-alone installation. There is also the potential of installing Alexa at the ticketing office in the weeks leading up to the performance encouraging engagement with the performance.

Community Engagement

'Alexa, Turn on the Lights' is situated perfectly to tour to small venues and regional communities allowing these communities to interact with non-proscenium arch, theatre performance, as well as explore innovative technologies.

This work also has potential to engage in public programs including, Q&A's, seminars, and workshops centering on artificial intelligence and interdisciplinary collaboration. These offerings will uncover the custom programming used in the performance, as well as unpacking some community sentiments around technology and the ways it is used in our present, and will be used in our futures.

The creative team is most interested in presenting workshops on interdisciplinary collaboration. This program titled Cross-Contamination may be in the form of an interdisciplinary workshop or a series of workshops that partners local artists from different mediums together and mentoring them within a creative process. This process can culminate in an informal showing. This cross-contamination of community practice's generates ideas, and stimulates collaboration across disciplinary lines.

A workshop titled Skill-Builder is also available, supporting young people (high school aged) to develop their own Alexa skill, utilizing the online Alexa Skill Blueprints platform. This fun and interactive workshop option will require access to computers or laptops and a stable internet connection.