Out of Time? : Temporality In Disability Performance book cover
1st Edition

Out of Time?
Temporality In Disability Performance

  • Available for pre-order on June 12, 2023. Item will ship after July 3, 2023
ISBN 9781032220949
July 3, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
248 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

Out of time has many different meanings, amongst them outmoded, out of step, under time pressure, no time left, or simply delayed. In the disability context it may also refer to resistant attitudes of living in "crip time" that contradict time as a linear process with a more or less predictable future. According to Alison Kafer, "crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds." What does this mean in the disability arts? What new concepts of accessibility, crip futures, and crip resistance can be staged or created by disability performance? And how does the notion of "out of time" connect crip time with pandemic time in disability performance?

The collective volume seeks to respond to these questions by exploring crip time in disability performance as both a concept and a phenomenon. The book tackles the topic from two angles: on the one hand from a theoretical point of view that connects performance analysis with crip and performance theory, on the other hand from a practice-based perspective of disability artists who develop new concepts and dramaturgies of crip time based on their own lived experiences and observations in the field of the performing and disability arts.

The book gathers different types of text genres, forms and styles that mirror the diversity of their authors. Besides theoretical and academic chapters on disability performance the book also includes essays, poems, dramatic texts, and choreographic concepts that reflect upon the alternative knowledge in the disability arts.

Table of Contents


Contributors Bio


Part I: Crip Time in Pandemic Time 

Chapter 1. Our Bodies Are the Archive: Crip Time in Pandemic Time and the Materiality of Disability Performance

Carrie Sandahl

Chapter 2. Disability Culture in a Time of Pandemic

Jess Thom

Chapter 3. On imperfect flow: dis/ability performance in times of pandemic

Benjamin Wihstutz

Chapter 4. Crip Time

Petra Kuppers


Part II: Dramaturgies of Crip Time

Chapter 5. Dance, Disability and Keeping ‘In Time’ on Strictly

Sarah Whatley

Chapter 6. Off-beat bodies. Crip Choreography’s Temporal Politicality

Michael Turinsky 

Chapter 7. Imposed Tactlessness. Cursory Considerations on the Beyond of Normative Time

Sandra Umathum 

Chapter 8. Kairos Reconfigured: The Rhetoric of Actors with Intellectual Disabilities Stepping In and Out of Theatrical Time

Tony McCaffrey

Chapter 9.  On the temporality of stuttering

Elena Backhausen

Chapter 10. Time-Bound Yet Time-Less: Performing Crip Time at Blind Opera and Anyadesh

Rajdeep Konar

Chapter 11. I Fall To Pieces

Kaite O'Reilly


Part III: Crip Time and Futurity

Chapter 12. Future Clinic for Critical Care: MOTHER - Exploring crip maternal time in the theatre

Nina Mühlemann

Chapter 13. As Stiff Grew Stiffer: Theoretical and Practical Applications of Theatrical Crip Time and Four-Dimensional Dramaturgy

John Michael Sefel and Rachael Herren

Chapter 14. Crip Time and the Creative Process – Choreography and Performance as Sites for Exploring ‘Normative’ and ‘Crip’ Time and the Disabled Dance-maker

Kate Marsh

Chapter 15. The Potential and Poetics of Rest

Raquel Meseguer Zafe



Contributors Bio

Benjamin Wihstutz (he/him) is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Mainz, Germany. He is principal investigator within the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC1482) "Humandifferenzierung" with a project on disability performance history, funded by the German Research Association. He holds a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin and has published widely on contemporary political theatre, disability performance and the history of performance art, theatricality of law and the history of spectatorship. Publications: Disabled Theater (diaphanes/Univ. of Chicago Pr. 2015, co-edited with Sandra Umathum), Transformative Aesthetics (Routledge 2018) and Performance and the Politics of Space (Routledge 2013 – both co-edited with Erika Fischer-Lichte). He is the author of two monographs in German on contemporary theatre (Der andere Raum, diaphanes 2012, and Theater der Einbildung, Theater der Zeit 2007).

Carrie Sandahl (she/her) is Professor of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In 2009, she founded the Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities. which is a lab devoted to research on and the creation of disability art. This program serves as the home for Chicago’s Bodies of Work, an organization that supports the development of disability arts and culture. Her research, creative activity, and public speaking focus on disability identity and representation in theater, dance, and film. Sandahl is co-editor of the much-cited 2005 anthology Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance and author of numerous peer-reviewed publications on disability arts and performance. Her co-produced documentary film, Code of the Freaks, explores disability in Hollywood film and premiered in 2020.


Elena Backhausen (she/her) is a research assistant at the Institute of Film, Theatre, Media and Cultural Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz. Backhausen studied Theatre Studies (B.A.) and Dramaturgy (M.A.) in Mainz and Frankfurt, Helsinki and Stockholm. She is currently working on her PhD thesis which deals with performances of interdependency of visual impaired athletes and guides in disability performance. She is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC1482) "Studies in Human Categorization" (Humandifferenzierung) with a project on disability performance history focussing on paralympics.

Jess Thom (she/her) is a writer, artist and activist. Jess co-founded Touretteshero in 2010 as a creative response to her experience of living with Tourettes Syndrome. Jess is a visual, performing, and participatory artist based in London. She graduated from The Royal College of Art in 2005. Jess campaigns for disability rights and social justice and is on a mission to change the world ‘one tic at a time’. In 2012 she published Welcome to Biscuit Land–A Year In the Life of Touretteshero, with a foreword by Stephen Fry. Jess is a regular performer at Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Unlimited Festival and Shambala. During the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown, Jess devised and delivered Digital Heroes of the Imagination with the National Youth Theatre and created a Pandemic Postcard for the Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto.

John Michael Sefel (he/him) is a Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Media at the Ohio State University and the chief editor of At the Intersection of Disability and Drama: a Critical Anthology of New Plays (2021). His past work on Disability and Performance includes several published articles/contributions, numerous conference presentations, and consultant work on accessible spaces and curricula. He holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Performance, History, and Theory from Ohio State and an MFA in Theatrical Direction from Baylor University.

Kaite O'Reilly is a multi-award winning poet, playwright and dramaturg, who writes for radio, screen and live performance. Prizes include the Peggy Ramsay Award and the Ted Hughes Award for new works in Poetry for Persians (National Theatre Wales). She was honoured in 2017/18 by the international Eliot Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy for her work between Deaf and hearing cultures. She has received a Hawthornden Fellowship, four Unlimited commissions and two Creative Wales Major Awards from Arts Council Wales. She is known for her pioneering work in disability culture and the aesthetics of access, especially 'Alternative Dramaturgies informed by a Deaf and disability Perspective'. Her collected plays The 'd' Monologues and Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors are published by Oberon/Bloomsbury. Her first feature film with Mad as Birds Production Company will premiere in 2022.

Kate Marsh is a disabled dance artist and scholar with over 20 years of experience in performing, teaching and making. Her interests are centered around perceptions of the body in the arts and notions of corporeal aesthetics. Specifically, she is interested in each of our lived experiences of our bodies, and how this does (or doesn’t) inform our artistic practice. Her PhD at the University of Coventry focussed on leadership in the context of dance and disability and draws strongly on the voices of artists to interrogate questions around notions of leadership, perceptions and the body.

Michael Turinsky is a choreographer, dancer and theorist, based in Vienna. His practical and theoretical work focuses on crip choreography, dance and disability, rhythm and temporality, affect and sexuality, and politics and aesthetics. As a performer Turinsky collaborated with Bert Gstettner, Barbara Kraus, Legitimate Bodies/Robin Dingemans/Mick Bryson, Doris Uhlich, Teresa Vitucci among others. As a choreographer Turinsky has been invited to international dance festivals and venues with pieces like Heteronomous male (2012), My body, your pleasure (2014), Second Skin (2016), REVERBERATIONS (2018) and Precarious Moves (2021). Turinsky has been invited as a public speaker to numerous workshops and conferences at the universities of Linz, Salzburg, at the College Art Association in New York and Tanzquartier Vienna.

Nina Mühlemann (they/she) is an artist and disability scholar based in Zurich, Switzerland and completed her PhD at King’s College London in Disability Studies and Performance Studies in 2017 (‘Beyond the Superhuman–Disabled Artists Working in the Context of London 2012’). From 2018-2019 she was co-director of the Future Clinic for Critical Care, a socio-culturally animated theatre practice project, with performances at Gessnerallee Zurich and Impulstanz Wien. Since 2020 she is co-director of Criptonite, a queer-crip theatre project at Gessnerallee Zurich. She has taught at King’s College London, University of Basel and Zurich University of the Arts, and co-curated the symposia It’s a Matter of Perspective (IntegrART, Zürich, 2019), Exploring Crip Spacetime (No Limits Festival, Berlin, 2019) and Rethinking Structures (IntegrART, Zürich, 2019).

Noa Winter (they/them) is a curator and dramaturg with a focus on disability arts and anti-ableism, based in Berlin, Germany. They are currently working as a coordinator for the project "Making a Difference" at Sophiensaele, Berlin which supports disabled and deaf artists, and are undertaking the UnlimitedInternational Producer Placement 2020/21. Their research and PhD project investigates self-determined working methods of disabled and chronically ill artists, aesthetics of access, and questions of anti-ableist curating. They also teach at the University of Mainz, the Braunschweig University of Arts as well as the Berlin University of the Arts and work independently as a curator, dramaturg and consultant. Most recently, they co-curated the symposia Ouf of Time? Temporality in Disability Performance (2018) and Exploded Times, Mad Spaces–Disability Arts & Crip Spacetime (2019).

Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a disability culture activist, a writer, and a community performance artist. Petra grounds herself in disability culture methods, and uses ecosomatics, performance, and speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. Her third poetry collection, Gut Botany, was named one of the top ten US poetry books of 2020 by the New York Public Library. Her latest academic study is Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (University of Minnesota Press, 2022, open access). Petra is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and she co-creates Turtle Disco, a somatic writing studio. She is the Anita Gonzalez Collegiate Professor of Performance Studies and Disability Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Rachael Herren’s (she/her) work focuses on movement expression in nontraditional forms, gender identity and fluidity in classical drama, and the prominence of vulnerable and queer bodies in the horror genre. Her upcoming projects include a critical anthology of horror-based dramatic literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and a literary exploration of friendship and other platonic dynamics in Shakespeare. She is a graduate of Baylor University and George Washington University.

Rajdeep Konar is currently Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Delhi. His current research focuses on theorizing "disability and theatre" in the Indian context. His doctoral project on performances of Rabindranath Tagore’s plays was pursued at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi under the supervision of Rustom Bharucha. His essays on theatre and performance have been published in Visva-Bharati Quarterly, Economic and Political Weekly and Theatre Research International. His upcoming monograph To Stage Or Not To Stage: Performing Tagore’s Plays will be published in South Asia by Social Science Press and globally by Routledge in 2022. He has been part of conceptualization and execution of multiple theatrical and devised performances at Santiniketan and New Delhi. For the past few years, he has been working closely with the Kolkata based blind theatre group Anyadesh, documenting their work as well as functioning as a sighted facilitator. He has recently received a research grant from the India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) to create a documentary monograph on the group.

Raquel Meseguer Zafe (she/her) is a UK based dance theatre practitioner. She works with rest and horizontality as creative impulses, and in 2016 founded Unchartered Collective to create theatrical encounters that explore the lived experience of invisible disability. Her project A Crash Course in Cloudspotting is an installation & performance, an app, a community and a digital archive for the 300 + stories gathered about people’s attempts to rest in public. Raquel is also a founding member of Lost Dog dance theatre, and was Associate Artist on the award winning shows Paradise Lost, and Juliet + Romeo. In her work and activism she seeks to challenge the etiquette of public spaces and advocates for a resting spaces network. She regularly gives talks for the Dis/Ordinary Architecture Project and to creates Crip spaces in physical and digital settings. She is a Pervasive Media Resident and was awarded a 2020 Future Themes grant to explore ‘Crip Tech and Belonging’.

Sandra Umathum (she/her) is a theatre and performance scholar, dramaturge and professor for (applied) theory dance, choreography, performance at the Inter-University Centre for Dance (HZT) in Berlin. Her research focuses on the relations between the performing and the visual arts since the 1950s, performance & disability, and new forms and methods of dramaturgy. She is the author of Kunst als Aufführungserfahrung, a book on intersubjective experiences in the visual arts (transcript 2011), and has co-edited, among other books, Disabled Theater (diaphanes 2015) and Postdramaturgien (Neofelis 2020).


Sarah Whatley (she/her) is Professor of Dance at Coventry University and director of the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE). Whatley's research focuses on the interface between dance and new technologies, dance analysis, somatic dance practice and pedagogy, and inclusive dance. Her research on these themes, and on the impact of digital technologies on tangible and intangible cultural heritage, has been supported through funding by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and the European Union. She was founding Editor of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices and sits on the Editorial Boards of several other Journals. Whatley has published widely and internationally on dance and choreography, new methods in dance research, somatics and inclusive dance.

Tony McCaffrey (he/him/ia) is the Artistic Director of Different Light Theatre Company and a Lecturer in the Faculty of Creative Industries at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art, Ara Institute, Christchurch, New Zealand. McCaffrey is co-convenor of the Performance and Disability Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. He is the author of Incapacity and Theatricality: Politics and Aesthetics in Theatre Involving Actors with Intellectual Disabilities (2019 Routledge) and the forthcoming Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre (2022 Routledge). Different Light Theatre is an ensemble of learning disabled artists and researchers who have performed and presented at conferences in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and the USA.

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Elena Backhausen is a research assistant at the Institute of Film, Theatre, Media, and Cultural Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz.

Benjamin Wihstutz  is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Mainz, Germany. He is principal investigator within the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC1482) "Humandifferenzierung" with a project on disability performance history, funded by the German Research Association.

Noa Winter is a curator and dramaturg with a focus on disability arts and anti-ableism, based in Berlin, Germany.