1st Edition

Making a Performance Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    Making a Performance traces innovations in devised performance from early theatrical experiments in the twentieth-century to the radical performances of the twenty-first century.

    This introduction to the theory, history and practice of devised performance explores how performance-makers have built on the experimental aesthetic traditions of the past. It looks to companies as diverse as Australia's Legs on the Wall, Britain's Forced Entertainment and the USA-based Goat Island to show how contemporary practitioners challenge orthodoxies to develop new theatrical languages.

    Designed to be accessible to both scholars and practitioners, this study offers clear, practical examples of concepts and ideas that have shaped some of the most vibrant and experimental practices in contemporary performance.

    Contents List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction 1. The Art of Devising Part 1: Genealogies and Histories 2. But is it Art? Art and Non-Art 3. The Creative Performer 4. Art, Politics and Activism Part 2: Shaping Narratives 5. Autobiographical Performance 6. Narratives of Community 7. Adapting Fictional Stories Part 3: Places and Spaces 8. Making Performance Space/Creating Environments 9. The Place of the Artist 10. Between Routes and Roots: Performance, Place and Diaspora Part 4: Performing Bodies 11. The Speaking Body: Physical Theatres 12. Virtual Bodies Conclusion 13. Shifting Boundaries: Concluding Thoughts Bibliography Index


    Emma Govan lectures in drama and theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her particular research interests are contemporary practice and applied theatre. She is currently completing a book on Theatre in Health and Care.

    Helen Nicholson lectures in drama and theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, where she specialises in contemporary performance-making and applied theatre. She is co-editor of the journal Research in Drama Education, and her book, Applied Drama: The Gift of Theatre, was published in 2005.

    Katie Normington is Professor of Drama at Royal Holloway University of London. Her research interests span both medieval and contemporary drama. Recent publications include Gender and Medieval Drama (Boydell and Brewer, 2004) and Modern Mysteries (Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming). She has written for New Theatre Quarterly on contemporary applications of Meyerhold and directing practices.

    'Making a Performance ... herald[s] a renewed, more urgent critical interest in the arena of contemporary devising practices ... and makes a strong, substantial and much needed contribution to the field of devised performance theory and I hope it will inspire others.'Joanna Bucknell, University of Winchester, UK