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This edited collection is the first to engage directly with Foucault’s thought on theatre and with the theatricality of his thought. Michel Foucault was not only one of the most controversial and provocative thinkers of the twentieth century, he was also one of its most inventive and penetrating researchers. Notoriously hard to pin down, his work evades easy categorisation – philosopher, historian of ‘systems of thought’, ‘radical journalist’ ‒ Foucault was all of these things, and so much more. In what some see as a post-critical landscape, the book forcefully argues for the urgency and currency of Foucauldian critique, a method that lends itself to theatrical ways of thinking: how do we understand the scenes and dramaturgies of knowledge and truth? How can theatre help understand the critical shifts that characterised Foucault’s preoccupation with the gaze and the scenographies of power? Above all, what makes Foucault’s work compelling comes down to the question he repeatedly asked: ‘What are we at the present time?’ The book offers a range of provocative essays that think about this question in two ways: first, in terms of Foucault’s self-fashioning – the way he plays the role of public intellectual through journalism and his many public interviews, the dramaturgy of his thinking, and the appeal to theatrical tropes in his work; and, second, to think about theatre and performance scholarship through Foucault’s critical approaches to truth, power, knowledge, history, governmentality, economy, and space, among others, as these continue to shape contemporary political, ethical, and aesthetic concerns.

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.

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The politics of performance and the performance of politics
Peter Yeandle and Katherine Newey

Yeandle and Newey argue for the vital role played by theatre in political and popular culture of the long nineteenth century. Using Peter Burke’s description of the ‘performative turn,’ they outline the conditions for, and the consequences of the emergence of theatre and performance studies as an essential component in the reconstruction of the Victorian past. They argue that the theatre was not only one of the most important cultural institutions of the nation, but also an industry, increasingly founded on a model of speculative capitalism, but still enmeshed within older oligarchic structures of regulation and custom. The theatre of the nineteenth century offers a case study at large for the transformation of the public sphere and the creation of a spectacular public culture in Victorian Britain.

in Politics, performance and popular culture
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Solo performance in neoliberal times
Author: Stephen Greer

This book is a study of solo performance in the UK and Western Europe since the turn of millennium that explores the contentious relationship between identity, individuality and the demands of neoliberalism. With case studies drawn from across theatre, cabaret, comedy and live art – and featuring artists, playwrights and performers as varied as La Ribot, David Hoyle, Neil Bartlett, Bridget Christie and Tanja Ostojić – it provides an essential account of the diverse practices which characterise contemporary solo performance, and their significance to contemporary debates concerning subjectivity, equality and social participation.

Beginning in a study of the arts festivals which characterise the economies in which solo performance is made, each chapter animates a different cultural trope – including the martyr, the killjoy, the misfit and the stranger – to explore the significance of ‘exceptional’ subjects whose uncertain social status challenges assumed notions of communal sociability. These figures invite us to re-examine theatre’s attachment to singular lives and experiences, as well as the evolving role of autobiographical performance and the explicit body in negotiating the relationship between the personal and the political.

Informed by the work of scholars including Sara Ahmed, Zygmunt Bauman and Giorgio Agamben, this interdisciplinary text offers an incisive analysis of the cultural significance of solo performance for students and scholars across the fields of theatre and performance studies, sociology, gender studies and political philosophy.

Sruti Bala

point of comparison in the discipline of theatre and performance studies. Scenarios are frameworks or broad outlines of practices, ‘meaningmaking paradigms that structure social environments, behaviours, and potential outcomes … [featuring] milieux and corporeal behaviours such as gestures, attitudes, and tones not reducible to language’ (Taylor, 2003, p. 28). Scenarios thus importantly include more elements than text, narrative or plot, and reflect the diverse layers and systems at work in order for practices to enter or exit the repertoires and archives of cultural

in The gestures of participatory art
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Theatre, performance, Foucault
Tony Fisher and Kélina Gotman

question for theatre and performance studies There is arguably no better place to practice shifting one’s critical gaze than in the theatre. 18 For indeed what is theatre if it is not precisely a space for ‘seeing’ – for rendering objects visible, so as to reconstitute them before a critical and challenging regard, to estrange them so as to see that which would otherwise be too

in Foucault’s theatres
Kelly Jones

livecast with its ‘not-quite-liveness’ (10) has encouraged a revision of the ways in which we understand and experience liveness. To this end, Barker presents a comprehensive survey regarding critical debates in the fields of theatre and performance studies, television studies, film studies, music studies, sports psychology, comedy studies, and virtual performance, as he demonstrates that the concept of ‘liveness’ has attracted considerable critical attention within the scholarly disciplines attached to these various media. ‘Liveness matters’, he writes, ‘[b]ut how it

in Adapting Frankenstein
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Sam Haddow

networks through which those representations are distributed. Representation itself may be a language of violence. This is Marie-​José Mondzain’s point when she sees Christianity declaring that ‘the one who is master of the visible is master of the world and organises the control of the gaze’ (2009, p. 20). In theatre and performance studies, the great critic of this language, who warned of its consequences and suffered immeasurably for his perceptiveness, is Antonin Artaud. It seems fitting, if not inevitable, that this book should encounter him at the close. Antonin

in Precarious spectatorship
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Trauma-tragedy and the contemporary moment
Patrick Duggan

not a new consideration in general terms – that is to say there have been arguments about what theatre should or should not represent down through the centuries – it is an increasingly explicit area of scholarly investigation in theatre and performance studies. Two useful, recent publications which attest to this rise are Nicholas Ridout’s Theatre & Ethics (2009) and Helena Grehan’s Performance, Ethics and Spectatorship in a Global Age (2009). Given the rise in this area of scholarly activity (cognate with my own investigations and relating to questions of ethics

in Trauma-tragedy
Open Access (free)
Convergence, emergence and divergence
Simon Parry

perspective on science and its societies. Indications of this potential can be seen within a number of theatre histories that unpack the co-production of evolution by scientists and theatre-makers (Goodall 2002; Shepherd-Barr 2015; Wolff 2014). Similarly, theatre and performance studies have also offered important perspectives on the co-production of the human body by scientists, doctors, patients and other performers at the interface between theatre and medicine (Mermikides and Bouchard 2016), theatre and cognitive science (Blair and Cook 2016), or theatre and multimedia

in Science in performance