Performance, Identity and Community: Addressing archives

Date of Event: April 18, 2024 Event Type: Interim Event
The focus on Addressing Performance for our 2023 conference prompted reflections on how we research in the discipline – and the inequalities and harms perpetuated in our epistemological practices. One recurring topic was addressing archives, with several of our speakers turning to the challenges of archival study. These challenges ranged from the difficulty of finding the sources themselves, the politics of archiving, and the narratives that we build around this material.

How do we piece together a historical picture? How do we assemble the fragments that we have? What do we ‘value’ in these assemblages and what do we disregard? What is missing? What social, cultural and political forces haunt these spaces?

12 Performance Identity Community TaPRA working group welcome (ally)
12.15 Special Collections intro – John Bedford Room (Tim Procter)
12.25 group intro (find out who has experience and who would like to learn more)
12.40 Kate Dossett Talk Re-Making Black Theatre History through Censorship Archives
13.00 New Archival Encounters – Kate
13.20 refreshment break [leave the Brotherton]
13.50 PIC brief intro to getting into archives
14.00 archival fragments task – play in pairs (all)
15.00 Provocation & Collective discussion (Gemma and Eli)
15.45 wrapping up & thanks (ally)

New archival encounters (Kate)
·What do you want to know about archival material before you encounter it? What might you need to help you prepare?
·How does the experience of the reading room impact your engagement with archival materials?
·What rules of the reading room would you like to break?
·What new ways of engaging with archival materials would you create?

Questions for archive pedagogies (Gemma)
What is the fragment (e.g. annotated script/correspondence)?
Where does this source material fit in the story of the company/artist? What does it tell us?
What is the context surrounding the fragment and the collection (e.g., funding conditions that support the material/any existing critical engagement (academic or industry) on the collection)?
Is there anything that you’d like/need to know?
How would you use this fragment? How usable is it?

Approaches to Camp and Drag

Date of Event: May 3, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event
The Popular Performance  Working Group invites applications to attend our Interim Event at The Victoria and Albert Museum, London on Friday 3rd May, 4pm – 9pm. The event offers an introductory provocation to our 2019 conference themes of Mask, Disguise and Persona by exploring how the values of display and design contribute to the performance of both drag and camp. The assertion of the event is that debates surrounding these two aesthetics is a key conduit into the issues that emerge from many other instances of mask and persona, particular in relation to the performance of gender and sexuality. The event involves a provocation by guest presenters, followed by a table discussion of two papers discussing drag and camp from a feminist perspective. This is followed by the opportunity to attend two performances, the first a practice-as-research piece exploring camp by Simon Dodi, Just Williams, the second a drag cabaret. The whole event takes place in the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, London.   The event is open only to current TAPRA members, to whom it is FREE to attend. Places are limited and awarded on a first come, first served basis. To apply for a place, please email by 26 April 2019. Postgraduate students can also apply for support with travel costs – please include estimated costs in your email. The criteria for funding will be lack of institutional support, alignment of research interest to the event, cost of travel. All participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the interim rate of £15 before the date of the event.

Applied and Social Theatre Adaptations: care-full practice in times of crisis

Date of Event: February 19, 2021 Event Type: Interim Event
Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Applied and Social Theatre Working Group online event  Friday 19th February 2021 Care-full practice in times of crisis  with keynote presentation from Prof James Thompson: Care Aesthetics and Covid: we are all one-to-one performers now… James will discuss his ongoing research on care aesthetics and explore how it has changed during the pandemic. He will argue for the urgency of more artful care during this particular care crisis, and outline examples of care aesthetics in health, social care and everyday settings. In a time of social distancing, what does it mean for applied theatre practice when we are reduced to one-to-one walks, evenings in watching Netflix, and the endless square faces of Zoom? Dominic Johnson, in his book with Dee Heddon on the life and work of Adrian Howells, suggests that the virtuosity of Howells is qualitatively different to ‘receiving a high-street pedicure’. James’ paper is offered in defence of the care aesthetics found in the humble pedicurist, and argues that in many ways, we are all one-to-one performers now… Biography James Thompson is Professor of Applied and Social Theatre at University of Manchester. He is the founder of In Place of War – a project researching and supporting arts programmes in war and disaster zones. He has written widely on theatre in conflict and peacebuilding situations and my most recent books are Performance Affects (2009) and Humanitarian Performance (2014). His book, edited with Amanda Stuart Fisher, Performing Care was published in 2020 by MUP. Keynote presentation followed by Q and A break discussions in breakout groups Short plenary – looking forward to TaPRA conference 2021. 4.30 end You are then also warmly invited to attend book launch  for Kay Hepplewhite’s new book The Applied Theatre Artist: Responsivity and Expertise in Practice, published by Palgrave Macmillan, hosted by Northumbria University – link given at event. Please email any questions to the Applied and Social Theatre Working Group conveners, Kay Hepplewhite (Northumbria University), Kate Massey-Chase (Plymouth Marjon University), Matt Smith (University of Portsmouth), at: Please note this event is for TaPRA members only. If you are not currently a member and wish to attend, you can join here: Membership costs £18 (£10 concession) and will run until 1 September 2020, regardless of when you join.

Magic, Exits/Endings and Water: How does performance escape?

Date of Event: April 6, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event
Magic, Exits/Endings and Water: How does performance escape? Joint interim event 2019: Theatre, Performance and Philosophy WG + Applied and Social Theatre WG with contributions from: Federico Campagna, Tim Prentki, Vivian Chinasa Ezugha   In this day-long event at the University of Portsmouth, the Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group and the Applied and Social Theatre Working Group come together to interrogate how an exit from today’s crisis of reality might be envisioned and conjured through performance.   The image of a deadlock pervades current political, philosophical and artistic debates on the contemporary world, in its various articulations through discourses of crisis, impotence, paralysis. Fed by this condition of impasse, plans of escape are ubiquitously being drawn up, plotting exits, closures and endings. Writing a ‘phenomenology of the end’, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi (2015) constructs a world with no end, a series of conjunctions and concatenations: ‘and, and, and’ – as in Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome, ‘always in the middle’. Is this a real promise of transformation, envisaging modes of reality and renewing horizons of thought? Or might the inert to-ing and fro-ing also mean that we are somehow stuck in the possible,hardly able to contemplate clear cuts from a state of things that might take us to what only seems impossible. We (forever to be defined because of a paralysing concern of excluding anyone) seem to suffer from a collective vertiginous fear of finitude. Perhaps the vertigo of our superfluous selves in a watery world that could do without humans. Federico Campagna (2018) defies hegemonic assumptions that there is no alternative to today’s reality-system: his answer to the current impasse is to imagine a different form of existence that valorises the ‘magic’ of life. From the perspective of applied theatre, the question of what is possible/impossible, of endings, exits and leavings, is one that, at a very pragmatic level, also poses a variety of challenges – are we in a deadlock with what is possible in applied and social theatre? What happens when a project ends, for example? What continues? Does anything ‘change’? At a more broadly socio-political level, there are questions of ethics, legacy, and transformative potential. As Tim Prentki has written: ‘The transformative process of becoming human is never properly accomplished, is only halted by death, and is attempted anew in each generation. Theatre offers arenas where we can try out transformations, where we can see if the ass’ head fits, and where it does not we can try again. In the words of Samuel Beckett: “All before. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better” (Knowlson 1996: 674).’ (Prentki 2018: 170)   How does performance escape? Can it summon an alternative system of reality? Can it make an exit? Can it disperse, dilute, liquefy our fears? Can magic help us imagine a form of existence governed by different rules, foregrounding the mystery of life? Can water, the sea, the ocean, which are capable of dissolving, disorienting and engulfing, foreground the vulnerability of life not as a weakness to be mastered, but rather as the basis for an alternative understanding of solidarity?   The event aims to engage participants in roundtables and curated discussions at the intersection of philosophy and practice. The programme will include:

  • A keynote by the philosopher Federico Campagna, author of Technic and Magic (2018), which will catalyse the discussion around the need for a reconstruction of a reality system that does not abide by the rules of instrumentality and causality and that accounts for the ineffable dimension of existence.
  • A keynote by Tim PrentkiProfessor of Theatre for Development at the University of Winchester and co-editor of The Applied Theatre Reader.
  • An artist talk on water, magic and exits by Vivian Chinasa Ezugha
  • Themed roundtable discussions on magic, exits/endings and water
  • Puppet City, a family-friendly participatory workshop. Build and make a city for puppets to play in and interact with to explore what kind of cities we would like to live in.
This event is family friendly; accompanying children are welcome to join the activities. Participation fees: free for members of TaPRA. Non-members will be required to pay a discounted £15 membership fee (£10 for PG students). Please join TaPRA online here: A light lunch and refreshments will be included. Please register at the following link:   TaPRA is pleased to be able to offer assistance with travel expenses to a small number of PG students. To apply for a travel bursary, please email the organisers: contributions to travel costs will be awarded on the basis of distance from the event and non-availability of institutional funding, and will be considered on a first come first served basis. For travel bursaries and other information, please contact the Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Working Group convenors Fred Dalmasso, Daniela Perazzo Domm and Nik Wakefield at or the Applied and Social Theatre Working Group convenors Michael Carklin, Matthew Jennings and Zoe Zontou at

Virtual-Talk: Prof. Esther Kim Lee (Duke)

Date of Event: May 3, 2023 Event Type: Interim Event
Prof. Esther Kim Lee (Duke) – “Toward New Theatre Histories: The Case Study of Yellowface during the Exclusion Era” – 3 May, 4:30-6 PM This talk uses the recently published book Made-Up Asians: Yellowface during the Exclusion Era (Univ. of Michigan, 2022) as a case study to examine how theatre historians should rethink key foundational concepts and historical narratives in the field of theatre and performance studies. It questions the dominance of mimesis in discussions of acting and racialized performances and argues for a broader conceptualization of theatre history. Please email to be added to the MS Teams event.

From Enthoven to East: Theatre and Performance at the V&A

Date of Event: September 4, 2023 Event Type: Interim Event
We’re delighted to announce our third ‘Theatre and Performance Working Group’ online event. It will take place 5.15-6.30pm on Monday 4 September. This has been planned to follow on from our working group Business Meeting, which has been scheduled for 4pm-5pm on Monday 4th September. The event will give us some all-important updates on the re-opening of the V&A Theatre and Performance collections. The Business Meeting is open to anyone who wishes to join the conversation about the WG’s activities and future plans – you do not need to have been at this year’s conference in order to attend. If you wish to sign up for either of these, or both, please email us on and we will send you the relevant links. From Enthoven to East: Theatre and Performance at the V&A The V&A is currently undergoing its most intense period of transformation since being founded as the Museum of Manufacture in 1852. 2023 sees the opening of Young V&A (formerly the Museum of Childhood), 2024 marks the Theatre and Performance Collections’ centenary, and 2025 heralds the much-anticipated opening of V&A East, comprising a new museum and new research and collections centre. This session is an opportunity to hear from V&A Theatre and Performance curators directly about their current work, the team’s plans for the future, and what this means for the National Collection of Performing Arts, having evolved greatly since Gabrielle Enthoven’s gift of 80,000 playbills in 1924. Jane Pritchard M.B.E Jane Pritchard is Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Exhibitions and displays for the museum include On Point: Royal Academy of Dance at 100 (2020), Anthony Crickmay: Photographing People and Performance (2017) and Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, 1909 – 1929 (2010). Prior to joining the V&A, Jane was archivist for Rambert Dance Company and English National Ballet, and created the Contemporary Dance Trust Archive. Harriet Reed Harriet Reed is Curator of Contemporary Performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has co-curated the exhibitions Censored! Stage, Screen, Society at 50 (2018), Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser (2021) and Re:Imagining Musicals (2022) and contributed research towards the exhibition Diva (2023). She is part of the curatorial team behind The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts, set to open at V&A East in 2025. She is a Committee Member of the UK Society for Theatre Research and the Membership Secretary for SIBMAS (International Association of Performing Arts Collections). Simon Sladen Simon Sladen is Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Theatre and Performance at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Senior Tutor (Performance) on the V&A and Royal College of Art’s History of Design MA programme. Recent exhibitions and displays for the museum include Re:Imagining Musicals (2022), Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser (2021), Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation (2019)Ivan Kyncl: In the Minute (2019) and Censored! Stage, Screen, Society (2018). Simon is Chair of the UK Pantomime Association, on the editorial board of the British Theatre Guide and chairs the Academic Advisory Board of Blackpool’s new museum Showtown. He is currently co-chairing a V&A-wide initiative about the future of curation and is part of the curatorial team behind The David Bowie Centre for the Study of Performing Arts. All are very welcome to join us for this event. If you would like to attend, please email  to receive the relevant link to MS Teams.

Online Event: Advocating for Audience Research Roundtable

Date of Event: June 12, 2023 Event Type: Interim Event
Kelsey Jacobsen, Astrid Breel, Kate Holmes and Kirsty Sedgman share some of their thoughts on publishing audience research and some of the resistances they have met. Between the four of them they have published across both contemporary and historical audience research, using a mixture of methodologies focused on understanding experience. After briefly sharing their experiences, the floor will be open to anyone who wants to contribute to the discussion.

Posthuman Assemblages and Technologically Enabled Performances

Date of Event: May 28, 2022 Event Type: Interim Event

Posthuman Assemblages and Technologically Enabled Performances
Saturday 28 May 2022 at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh

To register for this hybrid event, please visit the Eventbrite page.

The discussion about collaborative relations between humans and other than humans was initiated during our last annual meeting in September 2021. Driven by a desire to continue such conversations and in order to develop a polyphonic discourse that recognises the heterogeneous mix of human and non-human others that operate within the nature/culture/technology continuum, we are organising an event that will take place at the University of Queen Margaret in Edinburgh on 28 May.

The Performance and New Technologies Working Group has invited proposals from researchers and practitioners interested in questions that address the predicament of technologically enabled performance practices seen in the context of posthuman assemblages that operate within the intersectional axes of analysis such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, (dis)ability and class.

Philosopher Rosi Braidotti critiques the anthropocentric hierarchy of species and exposes the dominant structures within both, humanism and anthropocentrism, that for centuries has been missing perspectives from the Global South, women and LGBTQ+ people. Braidotti posits that posthumanism seeks the inclusion of these missing people. She elucidates the current moment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Extinction, in which humans and other-than-humans find themselves. She talks about posthuman subjects as assemblages that are in ‘the process of becoming’ named also as ‘nomadic becoming’ (Braidotti, 2018, 2–3). This way of thinking asserts that ‘subjectivity is not restricted to bound individuals but is rather a co-operative trans-species effort (Margulus and Sagan, 1995) that takes place transversally, in-between nature/technology; male/female; black/white; local/global; present/past – in assemblages that flow across and displace the binaries’ (Braidotti, 2018, 3). In a similar vein, Legacy Russell subverts a binary system, which assumes that ‘ourselves are unchangeable’ (Russell, 2020, 8), she calls for engagement with technoculture that will ‘use “body” to give material form to an idea that has no form, an assemblage that is abstract’ (2020, 9).

Against this backdrop, we ask: how do technologically enabled performance practices challenge and subvert binary oppositions? How can we read contemporary intermedial practices as posthuman assemblages co-operated by trans-species efforts?

During this event, we invite you to ponder collaborative relations between humans and other-than-humans. We will discuss questions that address the complex relationships that occur within technologically enabled performances in the context of posthuman assemblages. In order to develop a polyphonic discourse that recognises the heterogeneous mix of human and non-human others that operate within the nature/culture/technology continuum, we are inviting you to this hybrid event, facilitating participation by online delegates alongside those attending in person.

Documenting Performance Field Trip: Collectivity and Transformation in the Archive

Date of Event: May 18, 2022 Event Type: Interim Event
Event date and venue: 18 May 2022, 10am–4pm at MayDay Rooms, London

*Please note the date of this event has changed in support of the strike action happening on the original date.*

This gathering of the Documenting Performance Working Group approaches questions of archiving and materiality, particularly of marginal and activist cultures and histories. Extending our ongoing conversations (‘Wayward Temporalities’, 2019; ‘Speculation and Fabulation’, 2021), in this event the group will continue to query and challenge: the work of reading, thinking, writing about and making performance; documenting social, cultural, and political action; politics of administration and organising in and through archives; and processes of transformation as they manifest and are carried through the performance document. We are interested in expanding on the interconnections between bodies, actions, bodies of work, collective bodies and borders, and their documentation – and the complexities of the performance document as it relates to visibility, refusal, and legibility.

Access to archival materials is arguably an essential part of the process of discovery and contextualisation of creative, social, and political histories. How, then, might archives as sites of embodied memories and discursive acts enable the expansion of notions of evidence and interconnections across time? How might artists, scholars, students, and activists seek to archive both the politics of personal experience and the personal experience of the political? What are the political or educational possibilities of archives of countercultural, social, and protest movements and actions? How might archives and their questioning offer ways to think about unaddressed politics of administration and organising? How might scholars take care to attend to the nuances and complexities of histories, movements, and their documents – particularly those that appear resistant, wayward, or marginal?

Located in the archive collections of MayDay Rooms in London – ‘an active repository, resource and safe haven for social movements, experimental and marginal cultures and their histories’ – the event will be structured as an exploratory study day, reflecting on and responding to MayDay Rooms’ call for collective gatherings that enable, activate, or facilitate fluid connections between site/location/locatedness, the archive, embodied spaces, and contemporary research. Their collections ‘span the period from the late 1960s to the mid 1990s’, with a focus on do-it-yourself countercultures, alternative education, housing and social justice campaigns and other radical cultural and political movements. The event is imagined as an opportunity to enter into an exploratory space, to consider the politics of the archive in relation to social justice and performance, to encounter new and unknown subjects, and think collectively about processes of transformation which emerge through documents of past events, and how their afterlives are subsequently shaped by engagement with them.

The day will be split into two parts: the morning will be spent exploring the MayDay Rooms collections; after a break, we will reconvene to reflect on what and how we’ve engaged with materials in the archive, and the questions that have been raised in the process. Contributions to the afternoon discussion will be facilitated by and responsive to some key prompts from the Working Group Convenors and an invited respondent, but will purposely remain open-ended in scope and responsive to discoveries and reflections relating to the archive materials.

Capacity for this event is strictly limited to a maximum of 15 participants due to venue capacity and Covid-19 protocols. To apply to attend, please submit:

  • a statement of interest in the event  of no more than 300 words;
  • a brief (e.g. 150 word) biographical statement;
  • whether you wish to be considered for a postgraduate student research travel bursary (and if so, where you are travelling from);
  • whether you are currently a TaPRA member. Please note that all participants in the event must either be TaPRA members in good standing or will be directed by the organizers to join via this page: Join TaPRA

Please send the above information to the TaPRA Documenting Performance Working Group Convenors, Harriet Curtis, Diana Damian Martin, and Eleanor Roberts, at by 2 February 2022.   

Hear Tell: Reporting, Describing, Narrating

Date of Event: May 13, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event
Venue: Tate Exchange at Tate Modern, London 12-6pm Call for Participation If you hear tell of an event, somebody relates it to you. Hear tell involves both a speaker and a listener, a performer and an audience. It represents an account communicated in speech of something that might have happened. Theatre and performance both involves and prompts such acts of hear telling, discussions, like those described by Joe Kelleher, ‘as to what was seen or heard tell of and what it might mean, what it might be worth, what there is to do with it’ (2015). Taking the form of a study day, Hear Tell circulates around three key actions: describing, reporting and narrating. Each of these terms can be understood as a mode within performance. It also presents an approach to writing and talking about performance, a means by which live events might be articulated, shared and documented. In turning to these terms, we are not rejecting analysis – rather, we are focusing our analytic frameworks on the methods through which we often arrive at analysis. Describing, reporting and narrating might be understood together as forms of address or as mediating steps between event and apprehension, tools for circulation and distribution. On the other hand, each term has its own codes, resonances, and related concepts. The three key terms of this event carry a range of connotations and associations; one of the tasks of the study day is to test the efficaciousness of these associations in relation to theatre and performance. The act of describing might do the work of summoning to appearance a range of subjects with a variety of consequences (as Christina Sharpe points out, ‘fitting the description’ can carry oppressive weight in the case of, for example, racist stop-and-search policing (2016)). Reporting may highlight complexities of objectivity and subjectivity – to make a report is to engage in some way with registers of truth-telling. Finally, narrating might be understood to accompany action and appearance. As Adriana Cavarero argues, drawing on Hannah Arendt, narration can reveal ‘the finite in its fragile uniqueness’(2000), distinct from the universal categories of philosophy, e.g. ‘the human’. As Sylvia Wynter has shown, the historical development of the category of ‘the human’ has underpinned imperialist and white supremacist projects (2014). Might attention to the more contingent practices of describing, reporting and narrating offer different ways in to the recounting of experience? In order to probe the nuances of these terms, the organisers invite proposals for reports, descriptions and narratives. Each contribution should identify with one of these forms and likewise report, describe or narrate an event, object or experience also performing that respective term. The day will be made of descriptions of describing, reports on reporting, narratives of narrating.The project of the event is to do the work of reporting, describing and narrating so central to the making and reception of theatre and performance. It is through this hearing and telling that a critical reflection will emerge. To apply as a contributor, please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words, and a brief biographical statement, to Georgina Guy ( and Johanna Linsley ( by 5 April 2019. All participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the interim rate of £15 before the date of the event ( TaPRA is providing two £50 travel bursaries to facilitate postgraduate and non-affiliated artists/researchers to contribute to this event.  The event organizers will award these bursaries based on:

  • the quality of the proposal
  • the benefit to the applicant of participating in the event
  • the contribution of the participant to the Documenting Performance Working Group
If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please signal this when submitting your proposal, briefly outlining how you would benefit from attending and how you meet the criteria as a postgraduate or non-affiliated artist/researcher.

Postgraduate Research Applications Workshop | 19th November, 1-2pm UK BST (Online)

Date of Event: November 19, 2020 Event Type: Interim Event
Dear all, The Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) will be holding a postgraduate research applications workshop on 19th November, 1-2pm, open to all those planning to apply for postgraduate research study. Postgraduate research includes PhD, MPhil, DPhil, and Masters by Research degrees, and similar courses of research-focused study. Everyone interested in applying for a research degree is welcome to attend the workshop, regardless of whether or not they are in education at present. During the workshop, a panel of speakers will give their advice for postgraduate research applications in theatre and performance disciplines, followed by a Q&A. The workshop will take place online and will be captioned. To register, visit You do not have to be a member of TaPRA to attend the workshop. To find out more about TaPRA, please visit and follow @TaPRA_ and @TaPRA_PG on Twitter. Please could you circulate this email within your department and pass the invitation on to anyone who may be interested in attending the workshop. Best wishes, Hannah Greenstreet and Emily Dunford

Hear Tell: Describing, Reporting, Narrating

Date of Event: May 13, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event
Tate Exchange at Tate Modern

5th Floor, Blavatnik Building


If you hear tell of an event, somebody relates it to you. Hear tell involves both a speaker and a listener, a performer and an audience. Taking the form of a study day, Hear Tell circulates around three actions: describing, reporting and narrating.

Each of these terms can be understood as a mode within performance. It also presents an approach to writing and talking about performance. The day will be made of descriptions of describing, reports on reporting, narratives of narrating.



Session 1: Describing

Opening Description by Giulia Palladini, University of Roehampton

Burning and invisible words: Chukovskaya on Akhmatova’s Requiem

Emily Orley, University of Roehampton

  A principled hesitancy

Joe Kelleher, University of Roehampton


Session 2: Reporting

Preliminary Report by Georgina Guy, Royal Holloway, University of London

  Bringing Things In: Delivery and Joke Logistics

Emma Bennett, University of Leeds

  Sonic inscription and improvisatory narrative: Richard Ridgway and the mute swan

Ella Finer, writer, composer and curator


Session 3: Narrating

Instigating Narrative by Johanna Linsley, University of Roehampton  

Re-Telling the Chauraasi Archive: Testimony after Trauma

Sharanya Murali, independent researcher

  Narrating Ephemerality: Joseph Beuys and Terry Fox’s Isolation Unit in Print

Tancredi Gusman, Freie Universität Berlin

  The Sober and the Unsound: Narrative, Addiction, Repetition

Season Butler, writer, artist and dramaturg

  17.15 Drinks and Discussion

‘Intangible Heritage’

Date of Event: May 17, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event

TaPRA History & Historiography working group


Interim Event: ‘Intangible Heritage’


Friday 17th May 2019, 9:30-17:00,


at the Performance Lab, Sheffield Hallam University


Join us for a day of discussion exploring the relationship between current research methodologies and tangible/intangible heritage in contemporary practice and performance historiography.

In 2003 UNESCO defined “intangible cultural heritage” as the ‘means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.’ Such ‘intangible heritage’ UNESCO contends is manifest in:

(a) oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;

(b) performing arts;

(c) social practices, rituals and festive events;

  (d) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;

(e) traditional craftsmanship.

Subsequent works such as Smith and Akagawa,(2009), Harrison, (2011), Jackson and Kidd, (2011), Pietrobruno, Gavin (2013), Ott and Pozzi (2015), Taylor (2016), and Ishiguro (2018), have explored the scope, tensions and possibilities that exist around conceptualizations of heritage while organisations such as Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund regard ‘intangible heritage’ as an increasing imperative in their grant allocations.

  For The Machinery Caroline Radcliffe and Sarah Angliss have collaborated to create a contemporary, live performance of Pat Tracey’s original clog dance, (the steps for which Pat herself has traced back to pre-1820). The piece mixes dance steps with music and video to reflect the conditions of women’s repetitive labour and the human/automaton relationship created by the Industrial Revolution and described by Marx in Das Kapital (1867).  Together, Radcliffe and Angliss filmed and recorded the working machinery at Quarry Bank cotton mill, juxtaposing clog dancing with the repetitious script of a contemporary call-centre and the overwhelming sounds of the cotton machines to create a performance that brings to the fore the intricate relationships between the industrial vernacular and technologies of the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries.  Part of the project is to relate it to the creative response of workers to the industrial revolution and how, by performing the workplace, they coped with it.

  More recently The Machinery has been recreated for Ironbridge Gorge Museums, (2018) as a large-scale immersive audio/visual installation by Jon Harrison with support from the Arts Council England, the University of Birmingham and Ironbridge Gorge Museums.

  Radcliffe, Harrison and Angliss’ The Machinery engages with the recovery of ‘intangible heritage’ as well as the History and Historiography working group’s ongoing theme of ‘Industry Professionals/Professional Industry.’ As such, our interim event will feature a screening of The Machinery, accompanied by a presentation from Caroline Radcliffe and Sarah Angliss. Our afternoon discussion will be framed around pre-circulated reading and invited provocations based on individual experiences of working with/from intangible heritage.

  For further info re The Machinery, please see:

If you’d be interested in attending our interim event please contact Hayley Bradley and Lucie Sutherland at

We also invite applications for up to two postgraduate student travel bursaries for this event (£100.00 to be made available, which will form a contribution to travel costs). Postgrads wishing to be considered for a bursary should write to the conveners explaining how and why the event would benefit their current postgraduate study.

Please note:

TaPRA interim events are open to both existing and new members. If you’re not already a TaPRA member you will need to join the TaPRA membership in order to attend. TaPRA membership can be obtained at:  

  We’d also encourage you to sign up to the working group via the TaPRA website and please see our CfP for the September 2019 conference (deadline for proposals is Monday 8th April) on ‘European Legacies and Connections’:

    Suggested reading:     Findlay, G. (2013). Mapping Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Splinters Archive Project. Australasian Drama Studies, 113–129. Retrieved from     Harrison, R. (2011). Intangible heritage embodied and Intangible heritage. International Journal of Heritage Studies17(3), 280–282.  

  Ishiguro, M. (2018). Malay Theatre: Intangible Cultural Heritage and Islam: Wayang Kulit Kelantan and Mak Yong by Kathy Foley and Patricia Hardwick, and: Tradition in Transition: Intangible Heritage in South and Southeast Asia. Asian Theatre Journal35(1), 216–221.  

Jackson, A & Kidd, J. (2011). Performing Heritage. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Ott, M., Dagnino, F., & Pozzi, F. (2015). Intangible Cultural Heritage: Towards collaborative planning of educational interventions. Computers in Human Behavior51, 1314–1319.  

  Radcliffe, C., & Angliss, S. (2012). Revolution: Challenging the automaton: Repetitive labour and dance in the industrial workspace. Performance Research17(6), 40–47.  

  Pietrobruno, S. (2013). YouTube and the social archiving of intangible heritage. New Media & Society15(8), 1259–1276.  

  Smith, L.S & Akagawa, N. (2009). Intangible Heritage. London: Routledge.

  Taylor, D. (2016). Saving the “Live”? Re-performance and Intangible Cultural Heritage. Études Anglaises69(2), 149–161. Retrieved from  


Performance & the Sciences of Bodily Regeneration, Repair and Replacement

Date of Event: May 8, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event

TAPRA Performance & Science Interim Event


Science Gallery/King’s College, London


8 May 2019 2- 8.30pm

  The Performance & Science Working Group invites applications to attend our Interim Event at King’s College London, which takes up the theme of bodily regeneration, repair and replacement. The emerging sciences of regenerative medicine promise the possibility of combating terrifying disease and physical trauma. They also sharpen our fears about cyborg and synthetic beings. This ambivalence offers rich ground for performance-makers and those who study the interface between theatre, performance and the human sciences.

The event involves meetings with scientists at the cutting edge of regenerative medicine, a tour of the laboratories at the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine and of the Spare Parts exhibition, a working dinner and attending a related science-performance.

The event is FREE to all TAPRA members but places are limited. To apply for a place, please email by 12 April 2019 with a brief (100 word) outline of how the event will support your current or future research. Priority will be given to those whose research aligns most closely with the event. Postgraduate students can also apply for support with travel costs – please include estimated costs in your email. The criteria for funding will be lack of institutional support, alignment of research interest to the event, cost of travel.

All participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the interim rate of £15 before the date of the event.



  2-4pm: visit to Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

4- 5.30 pm: tour of the Spare Parts exhibition at the Science Gallery. This exhibition explores the art, science, ethics and technology that enables human repair and alteration. It considers the emotional and psychological aspects of living with a replacement organ or limb; organic or engineered.

5.45-6.45pm: working dinner: reflecting on performances of bodily repair, replacement and recuperation.

7 – 8.30: performance: New Organs of Creation

New Organs of Creation presents a hypothetical development of the human larynx (voice box), using tissue engineering, to extend the ability of the voice as a transformational instrument. The project is made in collaboration with Prof Lucy Di-Silvio who used tissue engineering to grow human cells on the prototype anatomical larynx.

Acoustic Materiality and Immateriality

Date of Event: April 3, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event

The Sound, Voice, and Music Working Group of TaPRA will host an interim event at the University of Oxford on April 3 in the Denis Arnold Hall, Faculty of Music, from 11:30 to 4:30. The central theme of this event will be ‘acoustic materiality and immateriality’. ‘Acoustic materiality’ refers to the physical activities and objects involved in sound-making. ‘Acoustic immateriality’ refers to ideas about sound, voice, and music, i.e., their existence as abstractions. What is the relationship between acoustic materiality and immateriality? The word ‘immateriality’ can also mean ‘irrelevance’. How and why have sound, voice, and music been considered relevant or irrelevant?

Dr. Salomé Voegelin, Professor in Sound at the London College of Communication, UAL, will give a keynote lecture entitled ‘A Voice that Speaks in Raptures: Performing Language’s Formless Self,’ offering a point of departure for further discussion (see the abstract below). A panel of invited postgraduate researchers will give short responses to Dr. Voegelin’s recently published book The Political Possibility of Sound: Fragments of Listening (Bloomsbury, 2018) and provoke further engagement with the topic of materiality/immateriality. Dr. Kevin Logan, a cross-disciplinary artist/researcher/teacher, will give a ‘performance talk’ partially inspired by Dr. Voegelin’s book. Dr. Logan’s work foregrounds sonic practice using a speculative blending of writing, performance, moving-image, and installation. The day will culminate with exchange between attendees on concepts, methodologies and practices of acoustic materiality across music, voice and sound studies—both as a reflection on the day and as an opportunity to establish dialogues and disciplinary bridges among the working group’s members.

This is a one-day event, with tea/coffee and sandwiches included. All participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the interim rate of £15 before the date of the event.

TaPRA is providing two £50 travel bursaries to facilitate postgraduate and non-affiliated artists/researchers to attend this event.  The event organizers will award these bursaries based on:

  • the quality of the proposal
  • the extent to which the applicant will benefit from attending
  • the financial need that might otherwise impede participation

If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please email the event organisers (Leah Broad, Adrian Curtin, and Konstantinos Thomaidis) at, briefly outlining how you would benefit from attending and testifying to your financial need that might otherwise impede your participation.

Please register for this event here:

We hope you can join us for this event!



  11:30-11:45: Welcome & introductions

11:45-12:45: Keynote by Dr. Salomé Voegelin, ‘A Voice that Speaks in Raptures: Performing Language’s Formless Self’

12:45-1:45:  Lunch

1:45-2:45: PGR panel of invited respondents: Sophia Edlund (Exeter), Jacob Downs (Southampton) and Edward Spencer (Oxford)

2:45-3:45: Performance talk by Dr. Kevin Logan: Score for Chanting (x3) Redux

3:45-4:30: General discussion


Keynote Abstract

A Voice that Speaks in Raptures: Performing language’s formless self

This talk performs essayistic instructions. It reads, sings and plays an essay-score: an arrangement of awkward grammar and speculative words that seek to grasp sound on its own terms and trigger its performance in a creative tension from which the possibility of impossibility can emerge. The essay has the potential to reveal and undermine authoritarian discourse and the ability to write the formless and the incomplete; the score has the emancipatory force to engage in the unperformance of the expected as an affirmative doing of different instructions towards the production of the unthinkable and the unthought. Thus together they revocalise definitions and truths and tear the textures of the known to assert a different voice: a voice that speaks in raptures and exhilarations to perform language’s formless self. This self is not framed in referential thinking and the practices of a signifying system, but sounds as evanescent inarticulation the imagination rather than the necessity of the real.

Salomé Voegelin is an artist and writer engaged in engaged in listening as a socio-political practice of music, sound, art and the everyday. Her practice includes gallery exhibitions, site-specific work, participatory and collective activities, as well as performances and publications. Her latest book ‘The Political Possibility of Sound: Fragments of Listening’ was published by Bloomsbury in 2018. Voegelin is a Professor in Sound at the London College of Communication, UAL.

Performance Talk Abstract

    Score for Chanting (x3) Redux

A speculative blending of performance, theory and audience engagement, designed to examine sonic materiality via my practice-led research which posits a shared ontology between the sonic and the performative. This will include some sort of playful and conceptual repurposing of object-oriented philosophies such as speculative realism and new materialism(s).

Kevin Logan is a cross-disciplinary artist/researcher/teacher based in London, he has been making and exhibiting since 1990. His work foregrounds sonic practice using a speculative blending of writing, performance, moving-image, and installation. He has performed internationally, has had sound works included on compilation CDs and radio/web broadcasts, and audio-visual works screened in festivals worldwide. He has also had theoretical and experimental texts published in print and online. Having completed a PhD in 2018, Kevin’s current research focuses on the possibilities of contingent and innovative pedagogy within sound arts. He is a founder member of the collective thickear formed in London in 2012. This collaborative work engages with concepts of exchange and public transaction through combinations of sound, installation, participation and performance. thickear have presented provocations and staged symposia internationally.


On Cruel Optimism and Cruel Nostalgia

Date of Event: April 9, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event

TaPRA Performance, Identity and Community WG

Interim Event 2019: On Cruel Optimism and Cruel Nostalgia

With contributions from Professor Robert Eaglestone, Dr. Louise Owen, and a performance by fanSHEN.

In Cruel Optimism Lauren Berlant views the present as a moment of suspension, or ‘the impasse’, during which ‘the traditional infrastructures for reproducing life – at work, in intimacy, politically – are crumbling at a threatening pace’ (2011, p.5); the resolution of past certainties and attachments Berlant refers to, widely felt in the spheres of politics, the environment and conditions of everyday life, produce the need for modes of adaptation that create flexible and resilient subjects able to navigate such precarities. However, notwithstanding the feelings of ‘being stuck in time’, nostalgia for past ideologies or a lost past – what Rob Eagleston names ‘cruel nostalgia’ (2018) – also deeply threatens the reproduction of life and identity as relational in favour of nationalist and xenophobic discourses. In neoliberal times, calls for personal ‘resilience’ can also mask the demand for individuals to pursue biographical solutions to systemic crises. What has happened to the coding of the present envisioned by Berlant? What are the ramifications of cruel nostalgia? What can performance tell us about social reproduction in times of crisis? TaPRA’s Performance, Identity and Community working group’s 2019 interim event wishes to look at how the temporalities of optimism and nostalgia affect how we view this present moment and its relationship with the past and the future – a moment that at the time of the event’s unfolding coincides with a key juncture in the history of the United Kingdom, and a united Europe. As Sara Ahmed reminds us, anxieties about the future are incumbent in the politics of hope. Hope, a future-oriented affect, ‘involves imagination, a wishfulness for what we are striving for in the present’ and encompasses anxiety as some of the things we wish for will fail to happen, or be fundamentally undermined (Ahmed, 2010, p. 182-183). Against the above backdrop, we ask:
  • What grounds remain for anxious hope, and how might this manifest in performance? What does optimism look like in precarious times?
  • What happens to anxiety and hope when traditional infrastructures are crumbling, whether it be with regards to a nation or a union of nations, or in work, cultural production, social reproduction, or in personal and intimate relationships? What alternative cultural and social structures are emerging in and through performance?
  • What resources do performance makers call upon for adapting to precarity? How can scholars work more effectively with performance makers to enact material change, and what might such collaboration tell us about the politics of anxiety and hope?
  • How does performance engage with questions of sustainability/sustainable futures?
For this interim event, we invite regular members of the Working Group and anyone with an interest in our themes to register, and participate in an afternoon of discussion, debate and performance. The event will be taking place at Battersea Arts Centre in London, and runs as follows: Attendance is free of charge, but all attendees must be registered TaPRA members. You may become a TaPRA member here. We are happy to offer up to four postgraduate travel bursaries for this event capped at £25 each. Priority will be given to those travelling furthest.   You may register by clicking here. If you have any queries please email the WG’s conveners Adam Alston (, Marissia Fragkou ( and Stephen Greer (

Embodied/Embodying Performer Training: Practices and Practicalities

Date of Event: April 24, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event
24th April 2019, University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus, The ATRiuM   Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Kaite O’Reilly Confirmed invited contributors: Prof Phillip Zarrilli and Sara Beer Wine Reception and response to the day from Working Group Conveners, Kate Craddock, Jane Turner, and James McLaughlin   In the preface of Atypcial Plays for Atypical Actors by Kaite O’Reilly, John E. McGrath highlights how O’Reilly ‘doesn’t imagine something that the actor fulfils – the writer opens a world of possibilities that the actor enters with their own complex, resistant, bodies and selves’. (2017)   Considering the above proposition, the TaPRA Performer Training Working Group invites 15 minute practice-based responses, provocations, lecture-demonstrations and papers, exploring and reflecting on Embodied/Embodying Performer Training: Practices and Practicalities.   Taking cue from Judith Butler’s (1993) proposition that ‘bodies never really comply with the norms by which their materialization in impelled’ we seek to provoke on several sub questions to the proposed:

  • How is performer training embodied?
  • Whose bodies are we training?
  • What bodies have access to training?
  • What bodies are marginalized, compromised and/or ignored entirely within traditional training practices?
  • Do we embody roles of trainer/trainee within, and beyond, training environments?
  • Do we embody ideologies/assumptions/aesthetics of traditional training practices?
  • Do we embody our own training practices before using them with others?
  We also invite practices that explore notions of bodies that may typically be ‘othered’, e.g. disabled bodies, transgender bodies, intersex bodies, queer bodies.   We will consider proposals that go beyond the sub questions above, and we invite all participants to think about the practicalities of their contribution, that is to say, we hope the day will involve as much doing as it does thinking.   This is a one-day event, with tea/coffee and lunch included and all participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the interim rate of £15 via before the date of the event.   We also have 2 x £50 travel bursaries to facilitate postgraduate and non-affiliated artists/researchers attending this interim event.  The event organizers will award these bursaries based on:
  1. The quality of the proposal,
  2. The extent to which the applicant will benefit from attending, and
  3. The financial need that might otherwise impede participation.
Our intention is that those who may not otherwise be able to participate in the event are supported to do so.   If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please include a short statement on your submission, briefly outlining how you will benefit from attending and testifying to your financial need that might otherwise impede your participation.   Please submit a 300-word abstract, outlining your proposed contribution to the day, alongside an indication of your technical requirements and set up needs, and a short biographical statement to The deadline for the submission of proposals is 15th March, 2019.  

Immersive and Interactive Technologies and Live Performance: VR/AR/MR practices

Date of Event: April 6, 2019 Event Type: Interim Event

Immersive and Interactive Technologies and Live Performance: VR/AR/MR practices

TaPRA Performance & New Technologies Working Group Interim Event

Saturday 6th April 2019, University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus, The ATRiuM

Booking: [This is a one-day event, with tea/coffee and lunch included and all participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the interim rate of £15 via before the date of the event.]

Keynote Speaker: Dr Jorge Lopes Ramos (executive director ZU-UK)

Launch & Wine Reception: Launch of Performance and VR Practice special issue, IJPADM. Wine reception and conversation with Dr Kerry Francksen and Prof. Sophy Smith (guest editors).

Following on from the annual conference at Aberystwyth and previous group events and conversations, the aim of the 2019 interim event is to explore different practices and modes of immersive and interactive technologies in live performance, as well as to investigate new narrative possibilities and audiences’ virtual experiences in live performance created by immersive technologies. As Kerry Francksen and Sophy Smith (2018) note, ‘[t]he use of virtual reality (VR) technologies has seen a significant resurgence in both industry-led and artistic communities in recent times. This re-emergence can be linked to the continuing growth and advancement in smart phone technologies (e.g. developments in accelerometers and gyrospic chips), as well as a significant interest within the games industry for developing a greater quality gaming experience.’ We want to explore this emergent theme and extend the 2018 TaPRA working group’s discussions on Empathy and Inclusiveness in Immersive Technologies to question: What new tools and spaces do immersive technologies offer to theatre and live performance? What opportunities and challenges do immersive technologies bring to the digital performer/performance-maker, from new forms of audience/participant interaction to new performance training methodologies, to new rehearsal methods and documentation strategies?

Itinerary: 11.30-12:20 Registration, lunch [ATRiuM, Mingle], One-to-one short Demo of Goodnight, Sleep Tight performance (first come first served) [ZEN Room] 12:20 Welcome 12:30 Keynote: Dr Jorge Lopes Ramos (executive director ZU-UK) 13:30 Dr Joseph Dunne-Howrie (research associate at ZU-UK Theatre and Digital Arts company), Post-Immersive Performance. Chair: Dr Christina Papagiannouli (University of South Wales) 13:50 Break 14:00 Empathy, Inclusiveness and Embodiment in Immersive technologies performance practices Eleni Kolliopoulou (Ulster University), Empathy and inclusiveness in immersive technologies: Sky-field 1&2. Dr Styliani Keramida (University of Reading), Performance, Immersive Technologies and Theatrical Aesthetics: Remediating video gaming technologies in the theatre in order to produce effects of empathy and inclusiveness.  Kerryn Wise (De Montfort University), DIS/PLACE. Chair: Dr Piotr Woycicki (Aberystwyth University) 15:15 Break 15:30 Immersive Storytelling and Dramaturgy: Immersive technologies as a Narrative Medium Dr Harry Robert Wilson (Digital Thinker in Residence, National Theatre of Scotland), Virtual Reality experiences as intimate performance.  Prof. Sophy Smith (DeMontfort University), Immersive Dance Practice and Storytelling – a transdisciplinary approach. Dr Piotr Woycicki (Aberystwyth University), Intermedial dramaturgies of flux in the AR version of Our Lady of Shadows. Chair: Dr Joanne Scott (University of Salford) 16:45-18:00 Launch and Wine reception Launch of Performance and VR Practice special issue, IJPADM. Wine reception and conversation with Dr Kerry Francksen and Prof. Sophy Smith (guest editors).

Performing Science: Seeing the Unseen

Date of Event: April 20, 2018 Event Type: Interim Event
You are warmly invited to the following TaPRA Interim Event on Performing Science: TAPRA Performance and Science Working Group Interim Event Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester Friday 20 April 2018, 12.30-4.30pm Performing Science: Seeing the Unseen The Observatory is home to the giant Lovell Telescope, a potent and iconic symbol of our attempts to see and understand the cosmos. As the site for our second Performance and Science interim event, the observatory offers a productive metaphor for thinking about performance in relation to scientific aspiration, making the invisible visible, visualizing technologies and scale.  The session will be framed by short provocations from Dr Paul Johnson (University of Wolverhampton and author of Quantum Theatre) and Dr Alex Kelly (Third Angel Artistic Director, currently touring 600 People, his show about astrophysics). These will be followed by the opportunity for participants to share their responses and their own research, along with some time to explore the Observatory. Paul Johnson’s provocation: Science can be thought of as making the invisible visible: radio telescopes in the MERLIN array (of which Jodrell Bank is a part) have observed M87 galaxy, at a distance of just under 55000000 light years; electron microscopes magnify their subject 10000000 times; cloud chambers show the traces of ionising radiation; neutrino detectors can discern almost intangible particles, billions of which pass through our bodies every second without our notice. Whilst performance might be a contested concept, developed through a series of disciplinary dialogues, the origins of it is are as a human activity. What I would like to explore in this provocation is how performance, as a human activity, can connect with the scale of investigation with which science engages. How can performance and science meet in a constructive interference, without one becoming subservient to the scale of the other? Alex Kelly’s provocation: How does it make you feel? In Third Angel we’ve always said that we make work about the things that fascinate us or bother us. The stuff your brain returns to when its meant to be thinking about something else. That might be personal relationships and domestic details, or it might be circadian rhythms, timezones, cartography or the fact that the Voyager spacecraft are, you know, actually out there, right now, at almost incomprehensible distances from the human beings who built them. We explore these ideas through conversations and collaborations with specialists and experts in their fields: psychologists, cartographers, astrophysicists. Our aim with these projects is to make something that responds to the emotional, human impact that their research has. Participation fees: £20 (per TaPRA & non-TaPRA member) and £10 (per TaPRA and non-TaPRA PG), which includes lunch and refreshments at the Observatory. Please register for the event here: Further details about the Observatory and travel to the site are available here: There are postgraduate bursaries available for the event. Please contact Gianna Bouchard ( for further information. We hope to see you there! Best wishes, Alex, Gianna and Simon (Co-organisers: Alex Mermikides, Gianna Bouchard and Simon Parry)  

Reaching | Outreaching

Date of Event: June 9, 2018 Event Type: Interim Event

Loughborough University London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E15

9 June 2018, 11am-5:30pm  

The language of ‘outreach’ shapes conversation on university and artistic life, from ‘strategic visions’ to arts council applications. But what does it mean to reach out? What is the discourse on outreach as a gesture – an act and effect?

In this day-long workshop, the TaPRA Theatre, Performance and Philosophy working group aims to think together about gesture, site, institutional politics and the labour of reaching. We will ask: what does it mean to imagine a cultural sphere from which reaching takes place? How are we implicated in cultivating intellectual and creative spaces and ties that fail again and again to bind, to shift – to query the form of these structures of ‘outreach’? If public impact is meant to ‘change’ those with whom our work comes into contact, how do we analyse and eventually reclaim the dramaturgy of this encounter?

Situated in the newly built Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, an area of urban ‘regeneration’ that has become a cultural hub for major dance companies, start-up cafés and more, the workshop endeavours to reimagine and rearticulate the cultural economies and landscape ecologies that inform our intellectual and artistic practices, querying how political/policy environments shape the way we think and make our work ‘public’. The workshop aims to lay groundwork for further manifestations of these institutional choreopolitics – welcome to all.


10.45-11.00     Registration and coffee


11.00-11.30     Welcome and opening remarks/provocations: Kélina Gotman, Fred Dalmasso and Daniela Perazzo Domm

  11.30-12.30     Critical practice: Owen G. Parry and Johanna Linsley, “A Performance Hangout”

  12.30-1.45       Lunch (details tbc)

  1.45-2.30         Choreographic works 1: Sivan Rubinstein, “MAPS”

  2.30-3.15         Choreographic works 2: Rita Marcalo/Instant Dissidence, “Perambulating Dance”

  3.15-3.45         Break

  3.45-4.30         Writing/Performance: Sofia Rodrigues Boito, “Community and collaborative theater”

  4.30-5.30         Roundtable discussion: Diana Damian Martin, Arabella Stanger, Nik Wakefield, with Kélina Gotman and Daniela Perazzo Domm

  All are welcome!

  The workshop is free for students, independent practitioners and unaffiliated academics. We kindly request participants on full salaries to contribute £10 towards catering costs.

  All participants should be current members of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA). You can register at a discounted rate for £10, either on the day or (preferably) here: (“interim event only”).

  Notes on participants

  Owen G. Parry is an artist and researcher working across performance cultures on subjects including trash, biopolitics, gay sex, fandom, fascism and Yoko Ono. The performance hangout is a mode of theatre which uses live fictioning, altered duration, non-productivity and “being together” as a means of interrogating the blurring of work and leisure under neoliberalism, the co-option of avant-garde tactics by the fascist right, and the corporate imperative “to participate”. It’s been developed for the four-hour performance, commissioned by Fierce Festival, Birmingham 2017.

Johanna Linsley (University of Roehampton) is an artist, writer and researcher. She is a founding partner of UnionDocs, a centre for documentary arts in Brooklyn, NY, and a co-founder of the London-based live art domestic partnership, I’m With You. Her current research project “Acts of Assembly” (funded by Leverhulme Trust) examines the face-to-face meeting as a social genre.

  Sivan Rubinstein is an Israeli choreographer and researcher based in London. Over the last two years, she has been researching and exploring migration and mapping through the forms of dance, visual arts and music. This became a system of movement that, like a language, moves through time and space. MAPS is a research and dance project which looks at the constantly changing nature of the world. It includes the audience-participation performance Active Maps.

  Rita Marcalo is an independent artist whose socially-engaged choreographic practice brings different artists together, in different combinations, to realise different ideas. Her company, Instant Dissidence, invents ways of offering other people art experiences. Her latest project, One Last Dance, is a two-stage perambulating dance between Guildford (the first city Rita lived in when she arrived in the UK as an Erasmus student in 1994) and Cloughjordan (the rural Irish village where she is relocating post-Brexit).

  Sofia Rodrigues Boito is a performer, playwright and researcher interested in artistic creation in a hybrid field. Sofia’s work unfolds in collective creations, including through theatre performances with adolescents. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Sofia is a PhD candidate in performative writing (University of São Paulo) and is currently developing an artistic residence in Cité Interanationale des Arts, Paris.

  Diana Damian Martin (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) is a writer, critic, curator and academic. Her work is concerned with experimental criticism, writing as performance, performance and political philosophy, and politically-engaged performance and live art.

  Arabella Stanger (University of Sussex) is an academic whose interests reach across dance, theatre and performance, with an emphasis on the theoretical exploration of performance as social practice.

  Nik Wakefield (University of Portsmouth) is a researcher, artist and writer working mostly in performance but also across dance, theatre and visual art. His research is concerned with theoretical issues of time and ecology in contemporary performance and art practices.

  Kélina Gotman (King’s College London), Fred Dalmasso (Loughborough University) and Daniela Perazzo Domm (Kingston University London) co-convene the TaPRA Theatre, Performance and Philosophy working group.

  For further info: Kélina Gotman (, Fred Dalmasso ( and Daniela Perazzo Domm (


Anarchy, Desire and Performance

Date of Event: March 28, 2018 Event Type: Interim Event
“The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!” (Mikhail Bakunin, 1842)

Anarchy is at once creative and destructive. Its creativity is often predicated on relatively peaceful forms of dissensus that target a symbolic order or ideology. However, whilst anarchism has at times aligned with violent forms of direct action, anarchism’s creative impulses are routinely folded into narratives that demonize diverse forms of dissent as violent assaults not just against an established order like a government or forces of governmentality, but against society and its constituents. This afternoon-long event responds by challenging this limited understanding of anarchy and anarchism by addressing anarchy as a source of creativity and hope, in particular by focusing on the ways in which artists past and present have turned to anarchist principles as a source of inspiration. Anarchist thought played important roles in the development of modernism, postmodernism and the avant-gardes (notable examples include the Situationist International, the Living Theatre and the San Francisco Diggers, as well as anarcho-punk and DIY), providing valuable context for how we might approach the politics and aesthetics of live art and contemporary performance. Anarchist principles also underpin the tactics and strategies of multiple forms of protest and educational initiatives that make creative use of theatre and performance (for instance, Reclaim the Streets and the Antiuniversity), encouraging an address not just of what we might consider in a research or pedagogic context, but also how we might do so.


In proposing anarchism as a key theme for our next interim event, and as the basis for a longer-term consideration of anarchy and performance, TaPRA’s Performance, Identity and Community Working Group are interested in addressing and unsettling assumptions that connect violence to anarchism by exploring the significance of hope and desire in anarchist thought and action. We’ll be mapping various historical intersections between art and anarchism, and asking how these might form an illuminating context for makers of theatre and performance in the present moment. Finally, we are interested in what theatre and performance might have to offer to how we conceptualise anarchism and make sense of its value and significance.

For this interim event, we invite regular members of the Working Group and anyone with an interest in our themes to register and participate in scoping out the terrain of anarchism, desire and performance in an afternoon of discussion, debate and practical experimentation.


The event will be taking place at Camden People’s Theatre in London, and runs as follows:

13:00-13:15: Registration

13:15-15:15: Panel and open discussion. Guest Speakers: Ally Walsh (University of Leeds), Valeria Graziano (Middlesex University), and Shiri Shalmy (Antiuniversity Now and independent curator and producer)

15:15-15:30: Break

15:30-17:00: Practical workshop & discussion with performance maker and scholar Daniel Oliver

This event is free, but all attendees must be (or become) registered TaPRA members. Please register for the event here:

‘Objects With Objectives’ – Applied & Social Theatre Interim Event

Date of Event: February 24, 2018 Event Type: Interim Event

TaPRA Applied and Social Theatre Working Group


Queen’s University, Belfast

Saturday 24th February, 2018


(and Open Meeting of the AHRC “Objects with Objectives” Research Network on Friday 23rd)


Click Here to Book

  Friday 23rd February, 3-6pm, The Board Room, 21 University Square, Belfast AHRC ‘Objectives with Objectives’ Network open session (Chair: David Grant, Queen’s University) A look back over the work of the Network since our meetings in Cape Town as part of the ASSITEJ Festival in May 2017. This will include the screening of training videos and a discussion about how best to disseminate and utilise these exciting new Applied Puppetry resources. These include: Essential ‘Direct Manipulation’ Puppetry Techniques: Focus, Breath and Gravity (Dr David Morton, Artistic Director, Dead Puppet Society, Brisbane, Australia) Making Puppets from Found Materials (Karen Torley, Banyan Puppet Theatre, Northern Ireland) Making a Life-Size Paper Puppets and using these to explore the use of the Rasa with Puppets (Dr Aja Marneweck, University of Western Cape and Dr Sara Matchett, University of Cape Town) Applied Puppetry and Sympathetic Presence in medical simulation and Nursing pedagogy (Dr Matt Jennings and Karl Tizzard-Kleister, Ulster University and Karen Torley, Banyan Puppet Theatre) Brown Paper Puppetry and the Celebration of Imperfection (Dr Laura Purcell-Gates, Bath Spa University) Embodying the Puppet Experience as a Training Strategy (Dr Matt Smith, University of Portsmouth)     Friday 23rd February, 8-9pm, Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Square, Belfast Tinderbox Theatre Company (Belfast) The Bishop in the Bedroom by Richard O’Leary Richard relives the experience of growing up gay in Ireland with the help of a powerful series of real and resonant objects from his own past. Vibrantly material! CLOSED PERFORMANCE FOR SYMPOSIUM PARTICIPANTS AND INVITED GUESTS ONLY   Saturday 24th February, Brian Friel Theatre, 20 University Sq.,  10am-5pm 10.00-10.45am   A Demonstration of Applied Puppetry in medical simulation for Nursing students (led by Dr Matt Jennings and Pat Deeny, Ulster University, with the assistance of Karl Tizzard-Kleister, Karen Torley and UU Nursing colleagues and students). 10.45-11am         How to Access the ‘Objects with Objectives’ Training videos (David Grant, Queen’s University) 11-11.45am         Panel 1 (Chair: Dr Zoe Zontou) Anthropomorphizing in the Anthropocene: can a medical mannequin become a human patient? (Karl Tizzard-Kleister, PhD Researcher at Ulster University) The ‘pin’ and the ‘spoon’: Affective inter-relation with the objects of addiction in applied theatre-making (Cathy Sloane, PhD Researcher at RCSSD)   11.45-12.15 COFFEE/TEA   12.15-1.00          Panel 2 (Chair: Michael Carklin) Quintessence of Dust: a material approach to art with people with dementia (Dr Kay Hepplewhite, Senior Lecturer, Northumbria University) Pupa: engaging with new materialism to tell an anthropocentric tale of my identifying as disabled (Emma Fisher, PhD Researcher, Mary Immaculate College Limerick)   1-1.45pm             LUNCH (foyer)    1.45-2.45             Panel 3 (Chair: Dr Laura Purcell-Gates) Applied Theatre and Puppetry in child healthcare: objects, care and training (Dr Persephone Sextou, Newman University) Staging applied-ness: grappling with a social mess through traditional puppetry (and Dr Cariad Astles, RCSSD) Followed by a discussion about publication priorities and opportunities in the field of Applied Puppetry  2.45-3.45 –         Keynote (Chair: Dr Matt Jennings) Puppetry and Vibrant Materiality within Applied Theatre (Dr Matt Smith, University of Portsmouth)   3.45-4.15              COFFEE/TEA   4.15-5pm             Long Table (Chair: David Grant) An opportunity for a fluid exchange of responses to the ideas explored during the day

Age(s) and Age(ing) in Applied and Social Theatre

Date of Event: March 25, 2017 Event Type: Interim Event

At our interim event in March we would like to explore the following themes:
  • Reflections on practices that propose creative ways of exploring age (cultural, social or political)
  • Theatre and performance at, for, or with, different ages and life stages.
  • The interrelationship between age and applied theatre practice, particularly in challenging age as a normative category and interrogating stereotypes of age and aging.
The theme of this event arises from discussions about the social, cultural, political, and philosophical dimensions of age(s) and age(ing) which began to emerge at the last TaPRA conference. We think there is a value in exploring this with greater focus, particularly examining the role of age in contemporary culture. Within the broader context of thinking both about the way age is often characterised (‘age is wisdom’, ‘age is weakness’, ‘age is a process’, ‘age is an illusion’) and in the way it acts as description for an era or epoch (‘age of enlightenment’, ‘digital age’), this event will offer presentations and provocations that explore questions of:
  • Creative ageing;
  • Participation in, and barriers to involvement in, arts and creative work based on age;
  • ‘Longevity’ and the notion that everyone is always in a process of ‘ageing’ – how might this serve to challenge the separation of creative work based on age from other forms of art practice?
  • The ways that age influences how an individual might experience participatory drama.
The event will include presentations by a number of invited presenters: Sheila McCormick – Applied Theatre: Creative Ageing, London: Methuen, (Forthcoming, 2017) Gary Anderson: On children and age(s), The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home David Grant and Jenny Elliot – Creative ageing and nursing For the full schedule of the event, please see here. Attendance at the event is free to TaPRA members, and £10 for non-members.

Tragedy and the Contemporary

Date of Event: May 7, 2016 Event Type: Interim Event
Citizens Theatre 119 Gorbals Street – Glasgow Saturday 7 May 2016 PLEASE CONFIRM ATTENDANCE BY MONDAY 4 APRIL TO Clare Finburgh: Sam Haddow: Guest Speakers: Zinnie Harris (playwright), Dominic Hill (artistic director, Citizens Theatre Glasgow), David Greig (playwright), Graham McLaren (director), Graham Eatough (director), Mark Brown (critic). The Directing and Dramaturgy Working Group of TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association) is hosting an event around This Restless House, Zinnie Harris’ adaptation of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, directed by Dominic Hill at the Citizens Theatre Glasgow. This event, which will begin at 9:30am and run until after the evening performance, will include: an opportunity to see all three parts of This Restless House; discussions with the production’s creative team; a round table between some of Scotland’s leading theatre-makers; academic papers on the subject of tragedy and the contemporary. The discussions will aim to explore how recent interest in theatrical tragedy – modern adaptations of classics as well as new plays – might reflect the accelerating social, political and ecological crises of the early twenty-first century.  We will discuss this question both in relation to writers’, dramaturgs’ and directors’ creative outputs, and to Scottish theatre in general. Attendance at the day will cost the following (prices include morning tea/coffee and lunch): £10 to waged TaPRA members £20 to waged non-TaPRA members (£10 will go towards TaPRA membership) £5 non-waged TaPRA members £15 non-waged non-TaPRA members (£10 will go towards TaPRA membership) Please note that since this event is in part sponsored by TaPRA, all attendees are required to be TaPRA members. For details on the TaPRA organisation, please see: Please bring your fee with you in cash on the day. Please purchase your own performance tickets, stating that you’re attending the TaPRA event. ( This event will be run with the generous support of the Citizens Theatre Glasgow, TaPRA (Theatre and Performance Research Association), the European Theatre Research Network (University of Kent) and the Public Engagement Support Fund (University of Kent).

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