2nd Edition

Physical Theatres A Critical Introduction

By Simon Murray, John Keefe Copyright 2016
    358 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    358 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This new edition of Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction continues to provide an unparalleled overview of non-text-based theatre, from experimental dance to traditional mime. It synthesizes the history, theory and practice of physical theatres for students and performers in what is both a core area of study and a dynamic and innovative aspect of theatrical practice.

    This comprehensive book:

    • traces the roots of physical performance in classical and popular theatrical traditions
    • looks at the Dance Theatre of DV8, Pina Bausch, Liz Aggiss and Jérôme Bel
    • examines the contemporary practice of companies such as Théatre du Soleil, Complicite and Goat Island
    • focuses on principles and practices in actor training, with reference to figures such as Jacques Lecoq, Lev Dodin, Philippe Gaulier, Monika Pagneux, Etienne Decroux, Anne Bogart and Joan Littlewood.

    Extensive cross references ensure that Physical Theatres: A Critical Introduction can be used as a standalone text or together with its companion volume, Physical Theatres: A Critical Reader, to provide an invaluable introduction to the physical in theatre and performance.

    New to this edition:

    • a chapter on The Body and Technology, exploring the impact of digital technologies on the portrayal, perception and reading of the theatre body, spanning from onstage technology to virtual realities and motion capture;

    • additional profiles of Jerzy Grotowski, Wrights and Sites, Punchdrunk and Mike Pearson;
    • focus on circus and aerial performance, new training practices, immersive and site-specific theatres, and the latest developments in neuroscience, especially as these impact on the place and role of the spectator.

    Introduction  1. Genesis, Contexts, Namings  2. Routes: Roots  3. Contemporary Practices  4. Preparation and Training  5. Physicality and the Word  6. Bodies and Cultures 7. The Body and Technology  8. Conclusion by Way of Lexicon


    Simon Murray is a performer, director and academic. He currently teaches Theatre Studies and Contemporary Performance at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of Jacques Lecoq (2003) and co-founder and co-editor of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) journal.

    John Keefe is a director, dramaturge and academic. He is currently senior lecturer in the CASS Undergraduate Hub, London Metropolitan University, and previously a lecturer and visiting fellow at Queen’s University (Canada) Bader International Study Centre.