1st Edition

The Environment on Stage Scenery or Shapeshifter?

By Julie Hudson Copyright 2019
    236 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Environment on Stage: Scenery or Shapeshifter? investigates a pertinent voice of theatrical performance within the production and reception of ecotheatre. Theatre ecologies, unavoidably enmeshed in the environment, describe the system of sometimes perverse feedback loops running through theatrical events, productions, performances and installations. This volume applies an ecoaware spectatorial lens to explore live theatre as a living ecosystem in a literal sense. The vibrant chemistry between production and reception, and the spiralling ideas and emotions this generates in some conditions, are unavoidably driven by flows of matter and energy, thus, by the natural environment, even when human perspectives seem to dominate.  

    The Environment on Stage is an intentionally eclectic mix of observation, close reading and qualitative research, undertaken with the aim of exploring ecocritical ideas embedded in ecotheatre from a range of perspectives. Individual chapters identify productions, performances and installations in which the environment is palpably present on stage, as it is in natural disasters such as floods, storms, famine, conflict and climate change.  These themes and others are explored in the context of site-specificity, subversive spectators, frugal modes of narrative, the shifting ‘stuff’ of theatre productions, and imaginative substitutions.  Ecotheatre is nothing less than vibrant matter that lets the environment speak for itself

    Introduction: Setting the Ecotheatrical Scene

    Chapter One: The Environment on Stage in Production and Reception

    Chapter Two: Natural Disasters as Ecotheatrical Shapeshifters

    Chapter Three: An Ecotheatrical Perspective on Dearth in Performance

    Chapter Four: The Environment in Performance – Stage Invasion or Deus ex Machina?

    Chapter Five: Environmental Theatre, Site Specificity and Theatre Ecologies

    Chapter Six: Frugal Modes of Story-telling as Ecotheatre

    Chapter Seven: Bicycles on Stage – Shapeshifters or Scenery?

    Chapter Eight: Reperforming Reception – The Skriker in 1994 and 2015

    Chapter Nine: On the Importance of Intrinsic Environmental Responsibility


    Julie Hudson is an independent writer in the field of ecocriticism.  She was awarded her PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies (Warwick University) in 2018.  Her main research interests include the environment and cultural change, ecotheatre, live theatrical events and audience research.  Previous publications include: ‘Are We Performing Dearth, or is Dearth Performing Us, in Modern Productions of William Shakespeare’s "Coriolanus"’, in A Cultural History of Famine: Food Security and the Environment in Britain and India, ed. by Ayesha Mukherjee (Routledge, 2018, forthcoming); Food Policy and the Environmental Credit Crunch: From Soup to Nuts (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014), and From Red to Green: How the Environmental Could Bankrupt The Environment (Abingdon: Earthscan, 2011), both co-authored with economist Paul Donovan.