Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.
Beckett’s media mysticism in and beyond Rough for Theatre II
Here we have an early and a late example that frame a body of work whose fascination with the electric switch never seemed to wane (Albright, 2003 , 120; Connor, 2014 ). But Beckett's exploration of the phenomenon of switching, this simple flick that embodies centuries of cultural development and may well determine the centuries to come, is perhaps nowhere as elaborate as in the stage play Fragment de théâtre II (translated into English as Rough for Theatre II ), written in 1958 but only published in 1976 and not
Care and debility in collaborations between non-disabled and learning disabled theatre makers
disability as the product of an inaccessible social environment rather than individual difference. Agendas of care also began to widen at this point, from the institutional regimes of medical care, linked (as in the 1908 Royal Commission) with control, to personalised care with the educational aims of offering support and nurturing potential. Theatre with learning disabled actors, which emerged alongside community care in the 1980s, continues to cater for the dependencies of learning disabled actors, while also seeking to develop accessible training and aesthetic forms
Theatre in ruins: street and theatre at the
end of Fordism
1973 was an inauspicious year for France’s economy and a surprisingly sunny one for its street performers. After the spring crash in the
global property market but before the autumn oil embargo, Jean Digne,
director of the Théâtre du Centre in Aix-en-Provence, and Charles
Nugue, director of the city’s cultural centre, organized a festival: Aix,
ville ouverte aux saltimbanques (Aix, city open to street performers).
The event brought tumblers, jugglers, fire-spinners, magicians, and
Laughing at science in the theatre:
Gob Squad, a funny robot and
In a fleeting moment at a rehearsal for My Square Lady, in a large space
backstage at a Berlin opera house, Myon, the humanoid robot and ostensibly central character of the piece, turned its head and focussed its gaze
on me. I briefly appeared on the screen overhead showing Myon’s periodically changing and unpredictable point of view. I laughed quietly to
or maybe at myself. In the notes I made at the time about this rehearsal
session, I also remarked that one of the
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.
Debates on the relevance of repatriation of indigenous human remains are water under the bridge today. Yet, a genuine will for dialogue to work through colonial violence is found lacking in the European public sphere. Looking at local remembrance of the Majimaji War (1905–7) in the south of Tanzania and a German–Tanzanian theatre production, it seems that the spectre of colonial headhunting stands at the heart of claims for repatriation and acknowledgement of this anti-colonial movement. The missing head of Ngoni leader Songea Mbano haunts the future of German–Tanzanian relations in heritage and culture. By staging the act of post-mortem dismemberment and foregrounding the perspective of descendants, the theatre production Maji Maji Flava offers an honest proposal for dealing with stories of sheer colonial violence in transnational memory.
Theatre, education and the politics of
life itself: Theatre of Debate
Over the first two decades of the twenty-first century, one UK-based
theatre company systematically engaged with emergent themes in the
biological and related sciences probably more than any other, at least in
terms of the number of productions, collaborations with scientists and
other experts, and total audiences reached. Unlike the practices discussed so far in this book though, most of Y Touring Theatre Company’s work was not presented within theatres. Over this time Y Touring
A ‘theatre of bloody carnage’: the revolt of Cairo
and Revolutionary violence
It is impossible to disentangle French Revolutionary history from the history of
violence. For both contemporary commentators and subsequent historians, the
very chronology of the period is defined by its eruptions of mass violence, the
journées that demarcate the Revolution’s different phases, while the interpretation of that violence has generated some of the historiography’s most heated
debates. Without, as some have suggested, reducing the Revolution to killing
Stage women, 1900–50 explores the many ways in which women conceptualised, constructed and participated in networks of professional practice in the theatre and performance industries between 1900 and 1950. A timely volume full of original research, the book explores women’s complex negotiations of their agency over both their labour and public representation, and their use of personal and professional networks to sustain their careers. Including a series of case studies that explore a range of well-known and lesser-known women working in theatre, film and popular performance of the period. The volume is divided into two connected parts. ‘Female theatre workers in the social and theatrical realm’ looks at the relationship between women’s work – on- and offstage – and autobiography, activism, technique, touring, education and the law. Part II, ‘Women and popular performance’, focuses on the careers of individual artists, once household names, including Lily Brayton, Ellen Terry, radio star Mabel Constanduros, and Oscar-winning film star Margaret Rutherford. Overall, the book provides new and vibrant cultural histories of women’s work in the theatre and performance industries of the period.