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Theatre, Performance and Philosophy

The focus of the group’s activity is the examination of any aspect of theatre and performance through philosophical frameworks. Ever since Aristotle’s Poetics in the West, and Natyashastra in what is now South Asia, philosophy has played a major role in relation to theatre, both in explaining the phenomena associated with theatre and in influencing theatre practice and theory. Besides examining the often overlooked historical links between philosophy and theatre in the works and plays of given thinkers like Hegel and Sartre, of particular interest to the TaPRA Theatre, Performance and Philosophy working group will be a) the use of theatrical metaphors in philosophy and the notion of the “performative” and performance, from Austin’s How To Do Things with Words to Derrida’s Signature, Event, Context; and b) the interaction of political and aesthetic philosophy with performance and performatives. The radical transformations of philosophy undertaken by thinkers such as Nietzsche, Bataille, Agamben, Lyotard, Deleuze, Debord, Baudrillard and Badiou only to mention a few, render philosophy itself as a theatre whose impact on our conception of culture and theatre as theory and function are hard to ignore. Our aim therefore is to seek to examine the potential practical and theoretical implications of such a turn as well as explore a wide range of philosophies from the political to the transcendental, from the aesthetic to the analytic, and from the environmental to the ideological in relation to performance (live or recorded), performativity, and theatre.

The TPP working group will meet annually at the TaPRA conference and maintain a lively debate in between through the organisation of themed interim events at various partner institutions. TPP has been developing advanced research on the interface of philosophy and theatre/performance studies for the past few years. Past themed interim events include, ‘Performing Sublimities’ (June 2011), ‘Performance and Biopolitics’ (April 2012) and ‘Performance and Mystical Experience’ (May 2013). Selected papers of high quality research are published as edited collections. For any questions and expressions of interest to join the group/send an abstract, please contact convenors Kélina Gotman kelina.gotman@kcl.ac.uk (King’s College London) and Fred Dalmasso f.t.j.dalmasso@lboro.ac.uk (Loughborough University).

Group members can use the private TaPRA members’ section to contribute to this group, ensure that you sign up for the Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group.

Recent News

Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group : Call for Papers 

The co-convenors are delighted to issue a call for papers for the forthcoming conference at the University of Bristol in September on any topic exploring the relation of theatre, dance or performance to philosophy.  The working group’s mission is to encourage interdisciplinary debates addressing any aspect of philosophical research into the area of theatre and…

Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group : Call for Papers

The TaPRA 2015 Conference: Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group Call for Papers University of Worcester: 8-10 September 2015 The co-convenors are delighted to issue a call for papers for the forthcoming conference at the University of Worcester in September on any topic exploring the relation of theatre, dance or performance to philosophy. The working…

Call for participation: TaPRA Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group

The co-convenors are delighted to issue a call for papers for the forthcoming conference at Royal Holloway in September on any topic relating theatre and / or performance to philosophy. The field of performance philosophy represents one of the most exciting developments in the area of theatre and performance scholarship today, and many of our…

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