Portrait of Professor Paul Allain

Professor Paul Allain

Professor of Theatre and Performance
Dean of the Graduate School

About

Paul Allain is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Kent, Canterbury. He collaborated with the Gardzienice Theatre Association from 1989 to 1993 and published the book Gardzienice: Polish Theatre in Transition (1997). He co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Chekhov (2000) and his book  The Art of Stillness: The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki was published by Methuen (2002; second revised and expanded edition with DVD 2009) and Palgrave Macmillan, USA (2003). Routledge published his Companion to Theatre and Performance, co-written with Jen Harvie in 2006, second edition 2014.

He has published several edited collections on Grotowski as part of the British Grotowski project. in 2012 published Andrei Droznin's Physical Actor Training with Routledge, a DVD/booklet. He has contributed extensively to the Routledge Digital Performance Archive.  In 2015 his coedited book and online collection Voices from Within: Grotowski’s Polish Collaborators  was published. His coedited Acting with Grotowski: Theatre as a Field for Experiencing Life, by Zbigniew Cynkutis (Routledge 2015) was launched in New Delhi, India in November 2014, at the Polish Cultural Institute.

 In 2015 he gained funding from the Leverhulme Trust to make films about physical acting for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury. These are published here with a companion website here. He is currently Research Mentor for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, 2015-19 and has been selected as a REF panel member for REF 2021, both criteria and assessment phases.

Current administrative duties

General practice

  • Project Lead for ETRN project, Playing Identities, Performing Heritage
  • Jury member and Guest Lectures/workshops 17th University Theatre Festival, Tehran, Iran, May 2014
  • Co-director of The Massacre at Paris, with the Marlowe Theatre and Fourth Monkey, Canterbury Cathedral Crypt, March 2014
  • Producer of Schechner's Imagining O, performed at Kent and touring to Kerala, India in 2012.
  • Organiser and initiator of student and staff exchange with the Moscow Art Theatre School - Leverhulme-funded staff exchange 2008-2010
  • Member of documentation team of and partner in EU funded project 'Tracing Roads Across' with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards 2003-2006
  • Digital Theatre+ Advisory Board member

Research interests

Paul is a world-leading expert on Polish theatre and Jerzy Grotowski. After collaborating with Gardzienice Theatre Association, on whom he wrote the first book in English which came out of his PhD at the University of London, he worked extensively in the UK as Movement Director, most notably with Katie Mitchell on nine productions. He has published several books, DVDs and articles on theatre and actor training as both author and editor. From 2006-9 he led the British Grotowski Project, which culminated in an international conference and a series of publications. He has also collaborated with the Moscow Art Theatre School on a Leverhulme-funded network, ending in a conference hosted by the Royal Shakespeare Company on Movement and Actor Training.

In 2009 he received an award for services to Polish culture from the Polish government and in 2018 won the Witkacy Award, for promoting Polish theatre overseas. In 2015 he gained funding from the Leverhulme Trust to make films about physical acting for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury. These are published here with a companion website here. He is currently Research Mentor for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, 2015-19 and has been selected as a REF panel member for REF 2021, both criteria and assessment phases.

Current research interests include:

  • Contemporary Japanese theatre, especially the theatre practice of Tadashi Suzuki
  • Theories of Performer Training and Performing 
  • Polish, Russian and East European Theatre, the work of Gardzienice, Studium Teatralne and practices after Grotowski 
  • Intercultural Performance
  • Digital tools in performance research

Teaching

I teach a range of courses as well as actor training throughout the programme and at masters level.  I focus on physical approaches to movement and body work, drawing largely on the Grotowskian lineage and the approach of Gardzienice, with whom I collaborated from 1989-93.

I also work on an intercultural approach, with special reference to the work of Brook, Schechner and Barba, as well as contemporary Asian practices, especially the Suzuki method and his directorial approach.

Supervision

I have successfully supervised to completion several postgraduate research students (7 PhDs, 8 MAs and one MPhil) including in the following areas:

  • vocal action in contemporary theatre practice (PaR
  • Zeami, noh and Grotowski's total act
  • the politics of contemporary Polish theatre
  • catharsis in the theatre (PaR)
  • Vassiliev and Grotowski (PaR)
  • Grotowski's influence on British theatre
  • film improvisation (PaR)
  • Kunauka and Japanese theatre after Suzuki
  • Schechner's Performance Studies in Italy (cotutelle)
  • Grotowski and Sufism
  • Paratheatre as a mode for theatre encounters
  • Sourcing within for the performance act (PaR)

I am keen to supervise in any areas related to these topics as well as my core expertise: contemporary performance, actor and performer training, practice as research, Polish and East European theatre, vocal practices.

Professional

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Editorial Board Member: Contemporary Theatre Review, Polish Theatre Perspectives, Theatre Dance and Performance Training
  • Society of Authors
  • REF 2021 Panel Member
  • Member, Academia Europaea

Publications

Showing 50 of 78 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.

Article

  • Allain, P. and Bennett-Worth, S. (2018). Turning back to Training. Performance Research [Online] 23:240-241. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2018.1524672.
    A response to a pervious Performance Research journal issue 'On Training' with artist's pages
  • Allain, P. (2016). Thick Description/Thin Lines: Writing about process in Contemporary Performance. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 26:485-495. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2016.1216409.
    The author draws on his experience working with two theatre companies, the Gardzienice Theatre Association of Poland and the Suzuki Company of Toga, Japan, to explore questions about authority in writing about process in contemporary performance. He asks how from an ‘embedded’ position the researcher can stand back to appraise theatre practice fully and objectively – the kind of approach that Geertz called ‘thick description’ where personal field observations are then contextualised. This raises questions about how the majority of theatre scholarship operates, following Susan Melrose’s view that much of it is ‘expert spectator studies’, ie based on watching performances. Issues of ownership in writing are then explored further regarding the author’s difficulties in publishing a journal article in which the views expressed in interviews cited in the piece were considered ideologically unacceptable by the editor. The author asks if the practice and its interpretation in writing are one and the same thing. He posits that certain ‘lines’, some quite evident and others less tangible, exist in theatre scholarship of this kind that engages with process. He argues that issues about such lines and where authority lies in such writing need to be opened up for further scrutiny.
  • Allain, P. (2015). The Archive. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 25:32-35. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2015.992233.
  • Allain, P. and Barbe, F. (2009). On the Shoulders of Tradition, East and West: a Conversation between Paul Allain and Frances Barbe. Studies in Theatre and Performance 29:149-159.
  • Allain, P. (2007). Goat Theatre Macbeth. Contemporary Theatre Review 17:255-258.
  • Allain, P. (2005). Grotowski’s ghosts. Contemporary Theatre Review:46-59.
  • Allain, P. and Ziolkowski, G. (2005). Polish Theatre After 1989: Beyond Borders. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online]. Available at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=g713728695.
    A special issue of the journal co-edited with the Programme Director of the Grotowski Institute, Poland. Submission consists of edition and authored article 'Grotowski's Ghosts', pp.46-58, translations from Polish into English, co-authored editorial pp.1-7 (50%). A Short Chronology, pp.8-16, plus numerous online materials including chronologies and bibliographies (50%).
  • Allain, P. (2002). After Grotowski - the next Generation. New Theatre Quarterly 28:59-66.

Book

  • Allain, P. (2009). The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki A CRITICAL STUDY WITH DVD EXAMPLES. A&C Black Publishers Ltd.
  • Allain, P. (2006). Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance. Routledge.
  • Allain, P. (2002). The Art of Stillness - The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki. Palgrave.

Book section

  • Allain, P. (2013). Ways of Hearing. In: Wisniewski, T. ed. A Between Almanach for the Year 2013. Maski Press, Gdansk/Sopot, 2013. Available at: http://www.wydawnictwomaski.pl/ksiazki/a-between-almanach-for-the-year-2013/.
  • Allain, P. (2010). Piotr Borowski and Poland’s Studium Teatralne: Where Process becomes Performance. In: Delgado, M. M. and Rebellato, D. eds. Contemporary European Theatre Directors. Oxon: Routledge Taylor and Francis, pp. 165-184.
  • Allain, P. (2008). Destarsi con One breath left. In: Opere E Sentieri. Vol. 3: Testimonianze E Riflessioni sull’arte Come Veicolo. Bulzoni, pp. 129-140.
  • Allain, P. (2007). Destarsi Con One Breath Left. In: The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards Visioni. Bulzoni.
  • Allain, P. (2006). Waking with one breath left. In: Attisani, A. ed. Tracing Roads Across. EU funded.
  • Allain, P. (2006). The Nature And Culture Of Performance. In: A Performance Cosmology: Testimony from the Future, Evidence of. Routledge.
  • Allain, P. (2002). The Gardzienice Theatre Association. In: Acting (Re)Considered (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Conference or workshop item

  • Allain, P. (2010). On Ensembles. In: Ensemble Theatre.

Edited book

  • Allain, P. (2018). The Great European Stage Directors Volume 5: Grotowski, Brook, Barba. [Online]. Vol. 5. Allain, P. ed. London, UK: Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-great-european-stage-directors-set-2-9781474254168/.
    This volume brings together three European theatre directors, Jerzy Grotowski (1933-99), Peter Brook (1925-) and Eugenio Barba (1936-), who have much in common. They are linked most explicitly by their exploration of the limits and parameters of theatre in relation to its form, the audience, its purpose and its space. Each of them in their own way has developed research processes in theatre-making and beyond theatre at different stages of their working lives. All have published books, talks and articles on their practice as well as various kinds of film documentation. They have frequently worked on classical European plays, but also explored music and song and myths from diverse cultures, often adapting source materials from outside their European cultural origins, with Indian culture of particular influence and significance for all three, along with Africa for Brook. Such interests have perhaps arisen from their dislocation or exile from their birth countries, which has strongly determined who they are.
    The six authors approach the three directors in different ways. All approaches are informed to some extent by their direct engagement with the directors’ practices. They focus on key artistic works, their lives and significant influences on them, as well as their enduring legacies and importance worldwide. Their influence is conveyed as much through their plays and productions as through their writings. The chapters offer fascinating examples of what a director is, what a director does, and how their directing work becomes enmeshed with, as much as it arises out of, their lives.
  • Allain, P. (2015). Acting With Grotowski: Theatre As a Field for Experiencing Life. [Online]. Allain, P. and Tyabji, K. eds. Abingdon, Oxfordshire: Routledge. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/9780415748292.
    Acting with Grotowski: Theatre as a Field for Experiencing Life explores the actor-director dynamic through the experience of Zbigniew Cynkutis, one of Polish director Jerzy Grotowski’s foremost collaborators. Cynkutis’s work as an actor, combined with his later work as a director and theatre manager, gave him a visionary overview based on precise embodied understanding.

    Cynkutis’s writings yield numerous insights into the commitment needed to make innovative, challenging theatre. A central component of Acting with Grotowski is his distinctive approach to training: ‘Conversations with the Body’ includes a range of techniques and approaches to warming up, rehearsing and creating work from a physical starting point, beautifully illustrated by Bill Ireland.

    The book comprises reflections and practical suggestions on a range of subjects – theatre and culture, improvisation, ethics, group dynamics, and Cynkutis’s vision for the Wroc?aw Second Studio. It contains visual and textual materials from Cynkutis’s own private archive, such as diary entries and letters. Acting with Grotowski demonstrates the thin line that separates life and art when an artist works with extreme commitment in testing political and social conditions.
  • Allain, P. (2014). Voices from Within. Grotowski’s Polish Collaborators. Allain, P. and Ziolkowski, G. eds. London: Routledge Taylor and Francis.
    This book focuses on the voices of collaborators of Grotowski from different periods of his work and research. It gathers together previously unpublished materials in English (with one or two exceptions) such as texts, interviews and dialogues with Grotowski’s collaborators, actors and work leaders, as well as their notes and testimonies. The materials have already been edited by Polish authors and published in Polish journals but have only rarely appeared in English. The issue gives the English readers the unique possibility of gaining insight into the work of Grotowski from the perspective of his collaborators.
  • Allain, P. (2010). Grotowski and Company. Allain, P. ed. Malta, Holstebro, Wroclaw: Icarus Publishing Enterprise.
    This collection by Ludwik Flaszen gathers together key texts, nearly all of which have never before been published in English. These include lectures, papers on issues such as actor training, as well as programme and explanatory texts on all the Laboratorium's performances (including Cain, Shakuntala, Dziady, Kordian, Akropolis, The Tragical History of Dr Faustus, The Constant Prince and Apocalypsis cum figuris). It provides insight into the concepts behind the practice of one of the twentieth-century theatre's leading lights, and introduces the cultural, literary and historical dimensions of his work. The texts open up understanding for English-lnaguage students, academics and practitioners of the social and political constraints affecting Grotowski's working life, as well as particular difficult and controlled circumstances in which Polish theatre artists operated, even whilst their theatre was seen to represent the pinnacle of theatrical achievement in the world. The book rangers across reflective papers, programme notes, polemical pieces, interviews, as well as critical reviews. Historically, it focuses mainly on the production period of Grotowski's work (1959-1969), but also includes texts from other phases such as paratheatre (1969-1976), as well as most recent pieces, including several written especially for the book. It comprises over thirty texts, as well as Allain's introduction and a short tribute by Eugenio Barba.
  • Allain, P. (2009). Grotowski’s Empty Room: A Challenge to the Theatre. Allain, P. ed. University of Chicago Press.
  • Allain, P. (2009). Grotowski’s Empty Room. Allain, P. ed. Calcutta: Seagull Books.
    Jerzy Grotowski (1933–99) was a Polish stage director, theatrical theorist, and founder and director of the small but influential Polish Laboratory Theatre. Most of Grotowski’s theater-making took place in this and similar small theaters and studio spaces, and as a result one of his central fascinations was the actor’s work within the context of an empty room. The essays in Grotowski's Empty Room analyze how Grotowski’s explorations in the theater continue to challenge dramatists and directors.

    The contributors to this volume reflect with special insight on how theater scholars and practitioners can further Grotowski’s work and how his legacy will be developed in the theater. Among the contributors are Leszek Kolankiewicz and Zbigniew Osinski, his close collaborators; Marco de Marinis, Franco Ruffini, and Fernando Taviani, scholars who have followed Grotowski’s works from the 14 years he spent in Italy; and Swedish filmmaker and writer Marianne Ahrne and director Eugenio Barba, who reveal the strong impression Grotowski left on all those who met him and express the challenge of those who must now work in the empty rooms he has left behind.
  • Allain, P. (2009). With Grotowski. Theatre Is Just a Form. Banu, G., Ziolkowski, G. and Allain, P. eds. Grotowski Institute.
  • Banu, G., Ziolkowski, G. and Allain, P. eds. (2009). Peter Brook, With Grotowski: Theatre Is Just a Form. Grotowski Institute, Wroclaw.
  • Allain, P. and Ziolkowski, G. eds. (2005). Contemporary Theatre Review: Polish Theatre After 1989: Beyond Borders. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group.

Show / exhibition

  • Allain, P. (2009). Dust: Grotowski’s Last performance. [45 B + W photos].
    Photos by Maurizio Buscarino of Grotowski's last performance Apocalypsis cum figuris
  • Allain, P. and Campo, G. (2009). Jerzy Grotowski: Theatre and Beyond. An Exhibition. [Drawings, photos, set, costumes, props, original materials from a performance].
    This exhibition aims to recall the spirit which animated the performances of Jerzy Grotowski’s company from its beginning in the 1950s until the 1980s, covering the period of its productions and its subsequent development during the ‘Paratheatre’ phase (in the 1970s) and beyond, including a focus on the ‘Theatre of Sources’ and connections with Indian culture.

    This will be the largest most comprehensive collection of material ever shown in public. It builds on an exhibition organized by Wroclaw’s Grotowski Institute and presented at the Polish Cultural Institute in Rome in 2006, by also including a reconstruction of the set of The Constant Prince, costumes and props from different productions, with a special emphasis on The Constant Prince, including further rare pieces such as colour pictures of that performance and photos from the last performance Apocalypsis cum figuris, as well as scenes from the lives of the laboratory members. It will also include a complete collection of original posters and leaflets from the post-theatrical phase. A special section, commissioned for this exhibition, will present new pictures by photographer Francesco Galli of the places and the protagonists of the Theatre of Sources. Screenings will show films, video and documentaries on or connected to Grotowski’s work.

Other

  • Allain, P. (2008). British Grotowski Project. Three year AHRC funded practical and theoretical project with multiple outcomes. [Project]. Available at: http://www.britishgrotowski.co.uk/.
    The British Grotowski Project – a re-evaluation’ has received significant financial support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project, under the direction of Professor Paul Allain, will be run with the assistance of the Grotowski Institute in Wroclaw (Poland) as well as other overseas partners.

    Polish director Jerzy Grotowski's contribution to world theatre is widely acknowledged. He has a central position in Britain in theatre studies and a still vital influence on theatre-making, especially devising and actor training in what is loosely termed Physical Theatre. However, teachers, students, academics and practitioners interested in this work both theoretically and practically, struggle with a lack of precise knowledge and access to primary sources, key texts, and good translations of his main treatises, as well as clearly articulated and accessible documents of and reflections on his practices. There is also no systematic analysis of his influence on British theatre-making and university drama studies since 1965 and his initial work with Peter Brook at the RSC. This project, running from October 2006 to October 2009, will address these knowledge gaps through creating:

    a Critical Edition with an accompanying DVD of images, film and audio extracts.
    online materials that will reveal the range of influences Grotowski has had on artists, teachers, and producers in Britain, whilst providing access to and information about useful Grotowski-related resources
    a multi-modal international conference for practitioners and academics in 2009, the 'Year of Grotowski' (marking the 10th anniversary of his death).
  • Allain, P. (2004). The Intercultural Training of Tadashi Suzuki Savarese, N. and Brunetto, C. eds.
  • Allain, P. (2002). ‘Sztuka bezruchu’, (‘The art of stillness’- edited extracts from the book of this name). [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/1233-9477.

Review

  • Allain, P. (2010). Review about Tadeusz Kantor. New Theatre Quarterly [Online] 26:301-301. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266464X10000552.
  • Allain, P. (2008). Review of Jerzy Grotowski by James Slowiak and Jairo Cuesta and Etienne Decroux, by Thomas Leabhart. Contemporary Theatre Review [Online] 18:115-117. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10486800701775517.
  • Allain, P. (2007). Macbeth. Didaskalia 7:89.
  • Allain, P. (2007). Review of Krzysztof Miklaszewski, Encounters with Kantor. Contemporary Theatre Review 17:115-116.
  • Allain, P. (2005). Review of Hidden Territories, Wlodzimierz Staniewski with Alison Hodge. Theatre Research International:0-0.
  • Allain, P. (2005). Review of Samuel L Leiter, Frozen Moments: Writings on Kabuki 1966-2001 and Faye Chunfang Fei’s Review of Samuel L Leiter, Frozen Moments: Writings on Kabuki 1966-2001 and Faye Chunfang Fei’s Chinese Theories of Theater and Performance from Confucius to the Present. New Theatre Quarterly 21:199-199.
  • Allain, P. (2004). Review of Edward Braun, A Concise History of Polish Theater from the Eleventh to the Twentieth Centuries, Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003. Theatre Research International:84-85.
  • Allain, P. (2004). Review of Daniel Meyer-Dinkgraffe, Approaches to Acting Past and Present. New Theatre Quarterly 20:95-95.
  • Allain, P. (2002). Review of Dymphna’s Callery’s Through the Body. New Theatre Quarterly 18:0-0.
  • Allain, P. (2002). Japanese theatre and the international stage. New Theatre Quarterly 18:197-197.

Thesis

  • Grieve, J. (2017). The Efficacy of Symbolic Action Investigating the Creation and Effect of Symbolic Action on Performers and Audiences in the Performance, The Passion of Lady Vendredi.
    ABSTRACT

    This thesis is based on directing the performance The Passion of Lady Vendredi produced by MAS productions at Soho Theatre in 2016. The style of The Passion is an immersive live music gig and performance art ritual that draws strongly from Haitian vodou dance. The performance centres on work with my collaborator Nwando Ebizie as cult music icon Lady Vendredi and featured a live band playing original compositions set to traditional Haitian rhythms.
    The focus of my Practice as Research is the creation of Symbolic Action and its application and efficacy in the research environment and in performance. The working definition for Symbolic Action is an action that causes a change in the participants. It is a coded action that contains the information necessary for a transaction or an exchange between the participants to create an intimate, spontaneous and self-aware experience. The artistic research on The Passion followed two simultaneous paths: the first is a vertical path inspired by Jerzy Grotowski and explored how a Symbolic Action or a ritual sequence has a tangible internal impact on the performer. The second, a horizontal path, is based on the methodology of Guillermo Gómez-Peña to create contemporary gods and demons. Transactional Analysis (TA), a system of social psychiatry founded by Eric Berne, formed the theoretical framework for Symbolic Action. TA views the transaction as the most basic unit of social intercourse and is particularly useful when working in the theatrical form of immersive theatre where the creation of meaningful interactions between the performers and the audience is crucial. The efficacy of a Symbolic Action is measured by whether it has caused a change in the energy and consciousness of the participant: this I have called 'Being a Part of Things'. The other measure of efficacy is whether the participant has achieved a level of autonomy defined as awareness, spontaneity and intimacy.
  • Ang, G. (2017). Sourcing Within: A Reflexive Investigation of a Creative Path.
    My Practice-as-Research doctoral dissertation, Sourcing Within: A Reflexive Investigation of a Creative Path explores potential sources for performer training and the creative process in performance work. I draw extensively from my embodied research in Taijiquan and songs from my Chinese cultural source, which I have explored since the early 1990s. Stemming from this embodied practice, I examine the notion of "care of the self" since Greco-Roman time, and how it can enhance the work of the performer via her physical and vocal presence. My research methodology draws upon Robin Nelson's writings on Practice as Research, Foucault's ideas in Practice of Self and Clark Moustakas's Phenomenological Research, primarily Heuristic Inquiry with the practitioner and her experiences as key resources.
    In parallel to care of the self runs the idea of care of the craft as in Konstantin Stanislavski's notion. What I argue for is a persistent practice on/through the source techniques that can lead to a unity of the bodymind, thus elevating the quality of the performer's practice. My hands-on experiences have also nourished my pedagogical work with cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural performing practitioners through my Sourcing Within project (since 2006). All these human interactions and shared experiences have enriched and expanded the scope of my research, as evidenced in my writing.
    Part of my Practice-as-Research is a creative synthesis entitled Wandering Sounds which I have created in collaboration with musician Nickolai D. Nickolov. Our collaboration explores the coalescence of text, song, music, and movement within a performance. The performance encompasses "musicality" and asks whether musical and performative integration can yield a renewed path for creativity. It aims at reaching audiences from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. This piece has served as an important platform in my investigation of whether or not it is possible to transmit the insight gained in a performer's self-practice to the audience in the performance context. Wandering Sounds has also facilitated my inquiry into whether or not the audience can follow the performer's process of self-transformation by watching it in performance.
  • Howe, W. (2015). A Cinema of Happenings: Exploring Improvisation As Process in Filmmaking.
    This thesis supports a practice-based-research project that examines differing methodologies
    of improvisation across the production of four film exercises: Fallen Angels (2005), Blood
    Offering (2005), Birdman (2009) and The Graduate Workshop (2010). By investigating the
    'materiality' of improvisation within my filmmaking practice, bearing in mind that between
    the performer and the finished film there are inherent production processes that both finesse
    and obfuscate the improvised performance, I seek to address a fundamental question 'to what
    extent are the footprints of improvisation visible within the performance and aesthetics of film
    production?'
    This study brings together a number of ideas about improvisation practice, as
    evidenced in the work of Mike Leigh (Abigail's Party, 1977, Another Year, 2010) and Daniel
    Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project, 1999). I use dominant 'institutional'
    practice as a counterpoint to the received ideas about improvisation. This research is further
    informed by new materials, specifically, an interview with Penny Woolcock (Tina Goes
    Shopping, 1999, Death of Klinghoffer, 2003) as well as analysis of my own practice.
    Where existing accounts of improvisation have principally sought to define this as a
    phenomenology within the context of theatre and live performance, this study identifies
    distinct 'models' of improvisation process in relation to filmmaking. In comparing different
    production approaches, on a project-by-project basis and by referencing other filmmaker's
    processes, the thesis proposes a paired down schema for future work; identifying clear points
    for developing and containing character, as well as recommending a structured approach for
    developing narrative and filming. This project makes a distinct contribution to the study of
    improvisation in film, by drawing attention to the importance of methodology in practical
    filmmaking.
  • Cutugno, C. (2014). Intercultural Performance and Dialogue. From Richard Schechner Performance Studies Onwards.
    Through a historical, theoretical and methodological excursus, this thesis analyzes the birth, development and current identity of Performance Studies, an academic research field that, born in the United States at the end of the Seventies, has always been reluctant towards any attempt to be defined. If Performance Studies conceives performance both as an object of analysis and as a methodological lens, and if, as pointed out by Richard Schechner, everything can be studied "as" performance and so investigated according to the analytical categories of this discipline, then, with a transitive and "meta-methodological" shift, this doctoral research takes Performance Studies as its object of study, observing it "as performance" and using the same methodological tools suggested by its object of analysis. This work investigates how the object of study of Performance Studies is, following Schechner’s theory, the "behaved behavior", and thus how, as a result, the repertoire, even before the archive can be regarded as the true custodian of "embodied practices". Focusing on examples of performative "reenactment" such as those by Marina Abramovi? and Clifford Owens, as well as on the efforts undertaken by the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage section, it suggests valid examples of "archiving performance". The paper then examines cases that exemplify the successful identification of "studying performance" and "doing performance", it underlines the crucial and inescapable role played by the on-field research, understood as "participant observation", and highlights the constant social and political commitment of Performance Studies. This dissertation addresses and supports the effectiveness of Performance Studies in itself as an innovative tool able to analyze a world increasingly performative in its dynamics. Thanks to its both interdisciplinary and intercultural nature, Performance Studies seems to be a proper lens through which to promote different levels of performance dialogue among cultures which are locally different but globally comparable.

Visual media

  • Allain, P. and Camilleri, F. (2018). Physical Actor Training - an Online A-Z. [films online]. Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama. Available at: http://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com/plays/physical-actor-training-an-online-a-z-iid-184969.
    PATAZ: Physical Actor Training – an online A-Z establishes a foundation for physical training exercises through over 60 dynamic videos with accompanying audio commentary, reflection, and texts for today’s physical actor, teacher, and trainer. Using innovative camera work and editing processes, each film explores a term from our A-Z, ranging from specific skills like Grounding and Balance to more abstract concepts like Energy or Craft. See for yourself with a sneak peak of Awareness, Breath, the Fundamentals, and Stillness. The A-Z encourages enquiry and an active, hands-on training process geared toward movement work, vocal exploration, dance-theatre, and physical training. Each exercise can be explored and experienced in myriad ways by an individual or group. Physical Actor Training – an online A-Z is a digital resource created by actor trainers Paul Allain and Frank Camilleri with filmmakers Peter Hulton and Stacie Lee Bennett, and trainees from the University of Kent. PATAZ prioritizes movement, voice, and the body rather than character or text-based approaches to making performance and preparing the actor. For students, practitioners and teachers, the A-Z works across film, text, audio and image.
    The A-Z resource includes the trainee voice, showing the learning process, highlighting challenges and how to work with them. Innovative approaches to filming reveal the exploratory use of digital tools in a studio environment. The A-Z provides viewers with a foundational resource from which to build.
  • Allain, P. (2012). Andrei Droznin’s Physical Actor Training. [DVD and Booklet]. Routledge Tay;or and Francis. Available at: https://doi.org/0415682975 (ISBN).
    ‘Droznin is remarkable and valuable for his ability to combine serious and historically contextualised reflection on the body, psychology and human behaviour with an incorporated and systematic exploration of these ideas in practice.' Paul Allain

    Andrei Droznin’s Physical Actor Training presents a unique introduction to the master teacher behind a programme of stage movement training that is taught all over the world. Droznin’s influence on the way biomechanical principals and the relationship between mind and body are approached in modern drama schools has been both extensive and profound. But never before has a publication attempted to document, in any real detail, both his methods and the motivations behind them.

    Aimed at both scholars and theatre professionals, Andrei Droznin’s Physical Actor Training is comprised of:

    * A DVD containing both an interview with Droznin himself, and a vivid selection of his exercises taught by long-term associate, Natalia Fedorova, building from essential principals of locomotion into explosive acrobatics.

    * An accompanying booklet featuring two practical essays by Droznin translated into English for the first time, along with an introduction to his work by Paul Allain.

    Droznin’s goal is ‘not simply to teach students "stage tricks" but to make a connection between...body and soul, so that when they feel something, they will immediately express themselves.’ This unprecedented collaborative project provides indispensible insights into how that connection might still be achieved in today’s technologically-driven world.
  • Marotti, F., Tinti, L. and Allain, P. (2005). Il Principe Costante Di Jerzy Grotowski Riconstruzione, With Subtitles in English. [DVD]. Centro Teatro Ateneo - University of Rome ’La Sapienza’.
    Paul Allain worked with a team of European researchers from Italy, Poland, France and Portugal, under the co-ordination of Professors Marotti and Luisa Tinti from Rome. His role was to translate Grotowski's script into English to make subtitles for the DVD,
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