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.
, the towering metal stems of the lamps
and the bench bend toward them gently, as if curious; less careful spectators cause the sculptures to jerk aggressively.
In this concluding chapter I approach these two installations, Giraud’s
Le murmure des plantes 2.0 and Fer à Coudre’s Eclosion floraferrique,
because they exemplify contemporary French street theatre’s production of postindustrialspace.3 Neither is attached to a specific urban or
regional redevelopment project, but through their aesthetics, their work
on space and time, and the mode of spectatorship they
on that history as a source of stability even as the group shapes and
reshapes it, thereby revealing how unstable it is. This interweaving of
authenticity and fakery, of duration and ephemerality, of embodiment
and absence, of time and space, makes up the fabric of history, memory,
and, of course, theatre.
Introduction: working memory
This is a book about how street theatre companies and their performances produce postindustrialspace. It takes as its objects of analysis
the institutions and events of contemporary French street theatre. At its
core, this book
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.
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.
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.