Small Acts of Repair: Performance, Ecology and Goat Island, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Small Acts of Repair

Performance, Ecology and Goat Island, 1st Edition

Edited by Stephen Bottoms, Matthew Goulish


264 pages

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pub: 2007-10-19
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Goat Island are one of the world’s leading contemporary performance ensembles. Their intimate, low-tech, intensely physical performances represent a unique hybrid of strategies and techniques drawn from live art, experimental theatre and postmodern dance. Small Acts of Repair: Performance, Ecology and Goat Island, is the first book to document and critique the company’s performances, processes, politics, aesthetics, and philosophies. It reflects on the company’s work through the critical lens of ecology – an emerging and urgent concern in performance studies and elsewhere.

This collage text combines and juxtaposes writing by company members and arts commentators, to look in detail at Goat Island’s distinctive collaborative processes and the reception of their work in performance. The book includes a section of practical workshop exercises and thoughts on teaching drawn from the company’s extensive experience, providing an invaluable classroom resource.

By documenting the creative processes of this extraordinary company, this book will make an important contribution to the critical debates surrounding contemporary performance practices. In so doing, it pays compelling tribute to committed art-making, creativity, collaboration, and the nature of the possible.


'This book includes practical workshop exercises and thoughts on teaching drawn from the company's extensive experience… a valuable classroom resource… a good introduction to Goat Island.' - Total Theatre

'It is a treasure trove of insight for any theatre practitioner engaged in collaborative devised work, as well as anyone interested in the meeting point between aesthetics and ethics of contemporary performance' - Theatre Research International

Table of Contents

A. Introduction(s) B1. Performance B1.1 Environment B1.2 Response B1.3 Body B1.4 Time B2. Process: B2.1 Environment B2.2 Response B2.3 Body B2.4 Time C. Teaching Epilogue. Goat Island Timeline. Bibliography and References. Notes on Contributors

About the Editors

Stephen Bottoms is a theatre researcher and practitioner, and is currently the Wole Soyinka Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement (2004), Albee: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2000), and The Theatre of Sam Shepard (1998).

Matthew Goulish co-founded Goat Island in 1987, and has performed in all the group’s works. 39 Microlectures, a collection of his writings, was published by Routledge in 2000. He teaches in the Liberal Arts Dept. and the MFA Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was awarded a Lannan Foundation writer’s residency in 2004/5.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General