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Research Methods in Theatre and Performance

Edited by Baz Kershaw, Helen Nicholson

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How have theatre and performance research methods and methodologies engaged the expanding diversity of performing arts practices? How can students best combine performance/theatre research approaches in their projects? This book's 29 contributors provide hands-on answers to such questions. Challenging and debating received research wisdom and exploring innovative procedures for rigorous enquiry via archives, technology, practice-as-research, scenography, performer training, applied theatre/performance, body in performance and more, they create a focussed compendium of future research options.

Key Features

  • Created in association with TaPRA, the leading UK Theatre and Performance Research organisation, with chapters produced by specialist groupings.
  • Provides many detailed project case studies and examples - including successful practice-based PhDs - plus analysis of dynamic couplings between methods, methodologies and skill-sets.
  • Introduction interrogates crucial qualities of performing arts research that constitute theatre and performance as, variously, single-, multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary.
  • Contributors include: Maggie B. Gale (Chair of Drama, University of Manchester); Steve Dixon (Professor of Digital Performance, Brunel University); Joanne 'Bob' Whalley and Lee Miller (University Lecturers and founders Fictional Dogshelf Theatre Company); Simon Ellis and Rosemary Lee (independent performance/dance makers); Roberta Mock (Professor of Performance, University of Plymouth).


List of Figures
Introduction: doing methods creatively, Baz Kershaw and Helen Nicholson
1: The imperative of the archive: creative archive research,
Maggie Gale and Ann Featherstone
2: Researching digital performance: virtual practices, Steve Dixon
3: Practice as research: trans-disciplinary innovation in action
Baz Kershaw, with Lee Miller and 'Bob' Whalley, Rosemary Lee and Niki Pollard
4: Researching Theatre History and Historiography, Jim Davis, Katie Normington, Gilli Bush-Bailey with Jacky Bratton
5: Researching Scenography, Joslin McKinney and Helen Iball
6: Performer training: researching practice in the theatre laboratory, Jonathan Pitches, Simon Murray. Helen Poynor and Libby Worth, David Richmond and Jules Dorey Richmond
7: The question of documentation: creative strategies in performative research, Adam J. Ledger, with Simon K. Ellis and Fiona Wright
8: The usefulness of mess: artistry, improvisation and decomposition in the practice of research in applied theatre, Jenny Hughes, with Jenny Kidd and Catherine McNamara
9: Researching the body in/as performance, Jennifer Parker-Starbuck and Roberta Mock
Notes on Contributors

About the Author

Baz Kershaw is Professorial Research Fellow in Performance at Warwick University. He worked as an engineer before studying at Manchester, Hawaii and Exeter Universities. His projects in experimental and community-based theatre include productions at the London Drury Lane Arts Lab and, since 2000, eco-specific performances in south-west England. His publications include The Politics of Performance (1992), The Radical in Performance (1999) and Theatre Ecology: Environments and Performance Events (2007).

Helen Nicholson is Professor of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her publications include Applied Drama: The Gift of Theatre (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices (co-authored with Emma Govan and Katie Normington) (Routledge, 2007) and Theatre & Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

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