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Theatre and the politics of engagement
Author: Simon Parry

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.

Gob Squad, a funny robot and dancing scientists
Simon Parry

performance, a screen above the performers’ heads displayed sometimes a ‘live’ feed from the camera in Myon’s head, so Myon’s ‘point-of-view’, and sometimes a recording made using Myon’s camera but played back on cue via a different video technology, presumably operated by a stage technician, although this is not made clear, so is deceptive in some sense. For example, in one sequence of the final performance, a recording gave a clip from a series of rehearsals involving Arno Waschk the conductor trying to teach Myon to conduct. An image on the screen also showed Myon

in Science in performance