Research Methods in Theatre and Performance

Research Methods in Theatre and Performance

Research Methods in Theatre and Performance

Research Methods in Theatre and Performance

Synopsis

How have research methods and methodologies adapted to the burgeoning environment of theatre and performance studies in recent years? And how can researchers select the best approach for their project? The twenty-nine contributors in this book, including lecturers in performance history, theatre, drama, and scenography as well as practicing theatre directors, artists, writers, and performers, tackle these questions by first discussing the domains of research -- archives, technology, and creative practices -- and then focusing on selected specialist areas of research such as history and historiography, scenography and visual theatre, the body in performance, and applied theatre and performance. Designed both as a critical digest of methodologies and a toolbox of adaptable methods, this book, written in close association with the membership of TaPRA (the Theatre and Performance Research Association), guides individual researchers and encourages collaborative research learning.

Excerpt

This book was conceived and planned during a period when theatre and other human performance practices had become especially diverse and challenging in their aesthetics and cultural locations. Performance happens in more types of theatres than ever before, and in many other places than in theatres. Playwriting is countered by many approaches to scripting and devising shows. Acting is just one of myriad ways of performing. Design is extended into scenography. Audiences are transformed into spectators, witnesses, observers, voyeurs and the rest. Responding to this environment, the methods of theatre and performance studies scholars and practitioners have been revitalised by fresh research demands and opportunities. A new spirit of research and pedagogic innovation in UK university drama, theatre and performance departments has emerged, in part encouraged by the international growth of performance studies during the past few decades. Old research methods have been re-adapted and fresh ones invented, often responding to developments in twenty-first-century postmodernised, mediatised and globalised cultures.

Almost all its chapters are co-authored by members of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA), most have sections written collaboratively and every one results from sustained negotiation between colleagues with complementary research agendas but different ways of working. Starting with a community of scholars, rather than by invitation to individual authors, has ensured that the process of sharing research commitments generated ideas, arguments, emotions, passions and insights that show through all of the chapters. The authors’ creative approaches to research practices offer an implicit challenge to outmoded perceptions that the terms ‘method’ and ‘methodology’ imply an attempt to capture, codify and categorise knowledge. Across chapters the recurrent focus on researching the ‘liveness’ of the performance event within both theatre and performance studies, however loosely and variously this may be construed, has shaped the terms . . .

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