European theatre Research Network

Directors and Members

Centre advisor

Centre associates

Network partners

  • University of Malta
  • Moscow Art Theatre School
  • Grotowski Institute, Poland
  • Laboratoriet – Performing Arts Research and Development, Aarhus (Denmark)
  • SPAM (Study Centre for Performance and Media), University of Gent (Belgium)
  • Department of Theatre Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (Germany)
  • Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Leipzig University
  • Schaubühne Berlin

Current Network students

Maja Milatovic-Ovadia - The affective potential of the dramatic genre of comedy in applied theatre practice to support the process of reconciliation in a post-war society.

The objective of my PhD research is to develop my own practical methodology in making applied theatre and examine new points of departure in using comedy in applied theatre practice in the sites that suffer crises and conflict.
I want to focus on the social use of performance as a possible tool in the process of reconciliation and to explore if using comedy could be beneficial, especially in the society where there is a strong disagreement over the conflict's narrative. By combining insight from social science and theatre studies, this research will address the issues of memory and cultural taboos, within the context of global theatrical discourse and with a focus on the contemporary post-war Balkan situation. Discourse on humour (Critchly), applied theatre (Kuftinec, Thompson) and reconciliation (Bar-Tar & Bennink) as well as the concept of the affect (Thompson) will form a theoretical framework for my exploration.

Ang Gey Pin - Sourcing Within A Performance Act - a reflective investigation of a creative path

This practice-led research aims to reveal potential sources for performer training and the creative path. Investigating how certain music traditions and physical approaches link to the practitioner’s cultural search, the study hopes to respond to questions regarding finding a mode of theatre performing embodied by music and speaking-singing. Can the discovery of the traditional sources yield an organic and coherent path in a contemporary context?  Would this transcend the language and geographical differences, nourishing a cross-cultural collaboration?  Emphasis will be on practice rooted within oneself; intensifying towards a coalescence and integration between theatre and music.

Lars Harald Maagerø – 'Canonical Dramatic Texts in Contemporary Directors' Theatre'

In the contemporary postdramatic theatrical landscape the traditional concepts of drama, such as plot, character and mimesis, have largely been abandoned. Nevertheless, plays by canonical playwrights such as Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov and Strindberg who all wrote within the dramatic paradigm, continue to be extensively performed throughout the world. The European tradition of directors' theatre, where the director and his/her team creates their own vision of canonical plays, has shown a particular interest in such texts. I explore what happens to plays by canonical dramatic writers when they meet a postdramatic directors' theatre where the dramatic principles on which they were written, are broken. I study what directors find in canonical plays that resonate on the contemporary stage, and the strategies they use to utilise it. Some directors that are of particular interest to me are Ivo van Hove, Calixto Bieito, Katie Mitchell, Vegard Vinge and Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson.


Past Students

Maria Gaitanidi - Contemporary stagings of Ancient Greek Drama through Jerzy Grotowski's physical actions and Anatoli Vassiliev's speech as action

'My research stems from the desire to re-unify the body, voice and intellect in actor's training and towards performance. The fragmentation of the contemporary world pushes the performer - creator, towards a warrior- style of being, towards verticality.
Through practical experimentation on Jerzy Grotowski's physical actions and Anatoli Vassiliev's speech as action, the work explores the possibilities of a contemporary staging of ancient Greek texts and draws on the theories of 'jeu' with a philosophical backdrop.

Electa Behrens - Vocal Action: channelling impulse through form in training towards performance

Contemporary performance is now made up of a wide range of dramatic and post-dramatic forms. What is the consequence of this for the actor and their voice? My research looks to develop an integrated web of ethics and exercises which approach the words, sounds and melodies of a performance score as physical actions. This is a bi-directional deepening and extension of the method of physical actions, as begun by Stanislavski and continued by Grotowski, and is informed by the research of Zarrilli, Lindh and others. Examined within the context of current trends of voice training, such as the work of Cicely Berry, Kristin Linklater and Roy Hart, this study aims to help the actor work ‘transformationally’ (across forms), translating their embodied knowledge from one training/performance aesthetic to another.

Electa passed her PhD in the summer of 2012.

Bryce Salisbury Lease - Fantasy or symptom? : desire and the political in Polish theatre

My research centres on Polish theatre in relation to the Slovenian theorist Slavoj Žižek. and his reworking of Lacan’s key terms, particularly sublimation, das Ding, symptom, fantasy and objet petit a. Focusing on enjoyment (Lacan’s jouissance), I begin with the sublime object of the Hero in Polish Romanticism and work through the twentieth century up to instances of the Third Father in contemporary Polish performance. Žižek’s notion of the Third Father signals a radical break in Oedipus, wherein the late-capitalist subject’s enjoyment is enforced (through the ego-Ideal) rather than barred by way of (Symbolic) paternal prohibition.
Bryce has finished his PhD and is now a lecturer at Royal Holloway in the Drama Department

Brian Schultis - The University of Research and the Immediacy-Endurance Paradox: Historical and Practical Perspectives

This research aims to explore performances and performance-like events that seek to break with culturally conventional modes of interaction and communication, in particular, how such events alter and work within participants' perception of time. Using Jerzy Grotowski's paratheatrical experiments as a primary case study, I will argue that being unable to rely on cultural conventions and scripts can create very powerful experiences which are temporally isolated - lacking clear or meaningful connections with the participant's past and future. I will explore the ways that Grotowski sought to address the issue of temporal isolation through the exploration of the “sourcial” and objective – actions with a deep tradition. Using practical experiments, I will explore alternative solutions to this problem, attempting to maintain the idea of breaking with conventional cultural patterns of interaction, but providing ways of incorporating what the participant experiences into his or her life.

Judita Vivas - Body and Its "Others": Dramaturgical Configurations of Physicality in Contemporary Performance Practices

The proliferation of "bodily" discourses exposed the body as a complex construct. The body is in continuous relation to the "others" - the bodies next to it, the bodies looking at it, artefacts and dead bodies. The body is also situated in various performative environments (dramaturgical configurations) and influenced by heterogeneous interconnections to them. My research aims to embrace this diverse take on "bodily" matters, and reassess how it influences our perception of the performer's physicality. I will examine "bodiliness" in phenomenological (Helmuth Plessner) and feminist (Judith Butler, Rosi Braidotti) contexts, and will apply them to concrete examples (or case studies) in order to explore the bodily "others" located in contemporary European performance practices.


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Last Updated: 08/10/2018