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Author: Laura Varnam

The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

Open Access (free)
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.

Rethinking verbatim dramaturgies

Responding to the resurgence of verbatim theatre that emerged in Britain, Australia, the United States and other parts of the world in the early 1990s, this book offers one of the first sustained, critical engagements with contemporary verbatim, documentary and testimonial dramaturgies. Offering a new reading of the history of the documentary and verbatim theatre form, the book relocates verbatim and testimonial theatre away from discourses of the real and representations of reality and instead argues that these dramaturgical approaches are better understood as engagements with forms of truth-telling and witnessing. Examining a range of verbatim and testimonial plays from different parts of the world, the book develops new ways of understanding the performance of testimony and considers how dramaturgical theatre can bear witness to real events and individual and communal injustice through the re-enactment of personal testimony. Through its interrogation of different dramaturgical engagements with acts of witnessing, the book identifies certain forms of testimonial theatre that move beyond psychoanalytical accounts of trauma and reimagine testimony and witnessing as part of a decolonised project that looks beyond event-based trauma, addressing instead the experience of suffering wrought by racism and other forms of social injustice.

Author: Karen Fricker

This book explores the development of Robert Lepage’s distinctive approach to stage direction in the early (1984–94) and middle (1995–2008) stages of his career, arguing that globalisation had a defining effect in shaping his aesthetic and professional trajectory. It combines examination of Lepage’s theatremaking techniques with discussion of his work’s effects on audiences, calling on Lepage’s own statements as well as existing scholarship and critical response. In addition to globalisation theory, the book draws on cinema studies, queer theory, and theories of affect and reception. As such, it offers an unprecedented conceptual framework, drawing together what has previously been a scattered field of research. Each of six chapters treats a particular aspect of globalisation, using this as a means to explore one or more of Lepage’s productions. These aspects include the relationship of the local (in Lepage’s case, his background in Québec) to the global; the place of individual experience within global late modernity; the effects of screen media on human perception; the particular affect of ‘feeling global’; the place of branding in contemporary creative systems; and the relationship of creative industries to neoliberal economies. Making theatre global: Robert Lepage’s original stage productions will be of interest to scholars of contemporary theatre, advanced-level undergraduates with an interest in the application of theoretical approaches to theatrical creation and reception, and arts lovers keen for new perspectives on one of the most talked-about theatre artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

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Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

Titus Andronicus uncut has come true. According to my research, all twelve major stage productions (and one feature film) produced between 1989 and 2009 have included cuts and/or transpositions, many of them extensive. Although Warner’s production achieved wide popular and critical acclaim, it has not had nearly the level of influence on subsequent stage and film versions as its success might have foretold. Rather, it typifies only one of four active lines of descent in the performance history of Titus Andronicus

in Titus Andronicus
Open Access (free)
Maggie B. Gale and Kate Dorney

autobiographical memoir’ (Clay, 2006: 2). She acknowledges an additional ‘recuperative dimension to this study to make “forgotten” lives and writings newly visible’ (2006: 2). In many ways our collection shares her approach to a similar range of sources, but rather than merely ‘recuperating’ forgotten lives, we seek to ask, and explore the complexities of, why these lives or works might be ‘forgotten’ and what the processes of their forgetting can tell us about historiographical practices in relation to theatre and performance histories more generally. The theatre workers

in Stage women, 1900–50
Early modern drama, early British television
Lisa Ward

in 1607. It is a satire on chivalric romances which also includes parodic references to, among other plays, Shoemaker’s. The play has a similar performance history to Shoemaker’s in modern times: Sheldon P. Zitner (in Beaumont 2004 : 44–5) explains that it, too, became a favourite of student and amateur groups from around the turn of the century before being revived professionally. The Mermaid Society staged it at the

in Screen plays
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The Problem
Michael D. Friedman and Alan Dessen

directors (with a few notable exceptions – most significantly, Deborah Warner in her 1987–88 Royal Shakespeare Company rendition) have resorted to substantial cuts and other alterations. To look closely at the performance history of Titus between 1955 and 1988 is therefore to confront some provocative questions. My goal in this book is to raise and address those questions. First and most obvious is: why has this particular play posed such severe problems for generations of readers, critics, editors, actors, directors, and

in Titus Andronicus
Laywomen in monastic spaces
Susannah Crowder

, religious, and cultural upheaval. By the fifteenth century, Catherine Gronnaix could still draw upon this body of narrative and practice in the form of commemorative performances that united monastic and lay identity. To develop these divergent examples, I join methods that explore how institutions and individuals negotiated history, identity, and place to the performance history approach. Concepts of community and its functions are a significant field within the study of the Middle Ages, and include definitions centred on texts, interpretation, viewing, and emotions.1

in Performing women
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Susannah Crowder

, performative, and transformative. Gendered public performance offered roles of expansive range and depth to the women of Metz and positioned them as vital and integral contributors to the fabric of urban life. Methodology and historiography Performing women develops an approach that I term ‘performance history’: the use of performance methodologies to study and write cultural history.9 The vocabulary of performance now permeates the field of medieval studies, and scholars have adopted its methods widely.10 This book appropriates select concepts, however, in service of a

in Performing women