Research Students

Current projects

Alessandra Abbattista

Name: Alessandra Abbattista
Provisional Thesis Title: Animal metaphors and the depiction of female avengers in Attic tragedy: A theory of dramatic characterisation.
Supervisors: Susanne Greenhalgh, Dr Fiona McHardy, Dr Susan Deacy.
Description of Project:
The aim of my research is to provide the first in-depth study of animal imagery in the depiction of female avengers in ancient Greek tragedy. I particularly focus on the nightingale, the lioness and the snake, in order to provide a new theory of dramatic characterisation. I adopt an interdisciplinary approach, which entails animal studies, gendered perspectives and classical textual analyses, for reading and interpreting female characterisation in the fifth-century Athenian drama. I demonstrate that female depiction, by blurring the tragic dichotomies between animal and human, female and male, nature and culture, is paradoxically unified in its contradictory aspects.
Research Interests: Classical drama, Sensory studies and Posthumanism.
Email: abbattia@roehampton.ac.uk

Andre Amalio

Name: André Amálio
Provisional Thesis Title: Re-writing the history of the Retornados through Performance Making.
Supervisors: Dr. Ioana Szeman and Prof Joe Kelleher.
Description of Project:
This practice-based research will discuss the end of Portuguese colonialism, particularly the Portuguese presence in Africa, through the testimonies of former Portuguese settlers. This investigation will work with historiography methods, in particular archival research and oral history, which will be analysed through performance making. My research will draw on the use of oral history interviews with the Retornados as the main source for devising a group of scripts to be staged as public performances. I am particularly interested in the way performance work can contribute to the re-writing of history and work towards memory transmission, by opening the debate around these issues in Portuguese society.
Research Interests: Performance Studies, Documentary Theatre, Theatre of the Real, Oral History, Verbatim Theatre, Theatre and History, Devising, Postdramatic Theatre, Political Theatre, Postcolonial Studies, Performance and Memory.
Email: rodrigua1@roehampton.ac.uk

Sarah Blissett

Name: Sarah Blissett
Provisional Thesis Title: Food as Ecological Art Practice: Performing Environments.
Supervisors: Dr Josh Abrams and Prof Jennifer Parker-Starbuck.
Description of Project:
My practice-as-research explores performance ecology and food-related art practice, from an eco-dramaturgical perspective. I am investigating ecology as ‘the study of interactions between organisms and their environment’ and the intersection of these ideas in art and performance through cultural and biological ecosystems. Exploring taxonomy as a methodology of performance making, my materials-based approach currently focuses on algae ecosystems. My research engages with performance theories of phenomenology and considers new models of ecological environments and architecture in relation to sustainability and the performance of organic materials.
Sarah is an artist and dramaturg working in interdisciplinary performance. She holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and an MA, with Distinction, in Advanced Theatre Practice from The Central School of Speech and Drama.
Research Interests: Performance Ecology, Interdisciplinary Practice, Dramaturgy, Puppetry, Phenomenology, Architecture, Performance Environments, Site-Specific work.
Email: Blissets@roehampton.ac.uk

Neal Cahoon

Name: Neal Cahoon
Provisional Thesis Title: Sound Design for the Contemporary Novel: Applying the Poetics of John Cage to Digital Prose Fiction.
Supervisors: Dr Peter Jaeger and Prof Graham White.
Description of Project:
The focus of my research concerns the emergence of new listening practices within the context of the act of reading. I intend to engage with this topic by exploring the relationship between sound and the written word, and by critically analysing recent examples of novels with ‘soundtracks’. Through a practical exhibition of enquiry, I then aim to develop a work of digital prose that can challenge the existing model of a ‘musical’ soundtrack for fiction, and will instead make use of field recording and ambient sound in order to provide context and subtext to the written narrative.
Research Interests: Experimental Writing Practice, Sound and Text, John Cage.
Email: cahoonn@roehampton.ac.uk

Camilla EegTverbakk

Name: Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk
Provisional Thesis Title: Theatre-ting, Toward a Materialist Practice of Staging Documents.
Supervisors: Dr Simon Bayly & Karmelara Ely.
Description of Project:
Through my dramaturgical practice I explore ways of staging documentary material, proposing to entirely leave the supposed dichotomy between 'reality' and 'fiction', and rather look at documentary text material as text-things. This opens up questions related to authorship, professionalism, and modes of production and acting. I propose the "Theatre-ting" as a genre that draws on both fictional and documentary theatre, as well as performance art and lecture formats. I argue for a readdressing of materiality in contemporary documentary theatre practice, which points to a radical shift in how we think about the production of subjectivity and relations to our working material, giving a framework for an ethics of documentary practice.
Research Interests: Documentary theatre and performance, ethics in performance, object oriented philosophy, New Materialism, Sound and text.
Email: ceegtverbakk@gmail.com

Jennie Flader

Name: Jennie Flader
Provisional Thesis Title: Horticultural Aesthetics: The Politics of Performance in the Garden.
Supervisors: Dr Simon Bayly and Dr Fiona Wilkie.
Description of Project:
My main focal point is the garden as a site-specific performative space where notions of politics and identity are acted out. I propose 'horticultural aesthetics' as a new concept, outlining the performative potential of the garden from a performance ecology perspective. My research project investigates and complicates current mainstream discourses of ecology and develops new strategies through which to engage with the perception of ecology through theoretical and practical examinations of horticultural aesthetics.
Research Interests:Performance ecology and philosophy, radical gardening.
Email: jennie.flader@hotmail.com

Renata Gaspar

Name: Renata Gaspar
Provisional Thesis Title: Spatial practices: a politics of place-making for performance studies.
Supervisors: Prof Jennifer Parker-Starbuck and Dr Sarah Gorman.
Description of Project:
This project deals with the practice and critical analysis of ‘place-making’. As I propose, place-making is an approach to art practice guided by an explorative spatiality and concerned with the role of spatial relations and their politics in contemporary culture; it aims at questioning hegemonic spatial configurations and, simultaneously, imagining and creating alternative ones. As a framework, place-making intends to support a specifically located form of analysis; one that acknowledges the artwork’s geography of making by critically examining its particular connections to wider spatial politics.
Research Interests: Space and place, site-specificity, mobility, collaboration, community, dialogue, friendship, critical pedagogy, feminism, visual culture, intermediality; video, installation, performance-lecture, correspondence.
Email: gasparr@roehampton.ac.uk

Eeva-mari Haikala

Name: Eeva-Mari Haikala
Provisional Thesis Title: An Attempt to Mirror the Painterly and Stillness in Autobiographical Visual Practise .
Supervisors: TBC.
Description of Project:
An Attempt to Mirror the Painterly and Stillness in Autobiographical Visual Practise is a practise-as-research project consisting of a portfolio of videos, photographs and documentation of live performances, as well as a written part. The major projects of the portfolio, Gwen John and Kiss Me/St Ives, which are presented alongside the smaller projects, are inspired by two painters from the past: Gwen John and Helene Schjerfbeck. Their letters, notebooks and the biographies together with the writings of Virginia Woolf have worked as a source for the art works. With these works I attempt to explore how a) the autobiographical material reflects wider than just one person’s life and b) the complexity of how art history and biographies, even autobiographies, have been written. The other core themes for the art pieces in the portfolio are built around questions of how stillness is created by the manipulation of time in video works, and how the stillness of the performer entwines performance with still life painting, as well as how the concept of the painterly emerges from oil paintings into other art genres. As the emphasis of this project is on the practise, the written part is intended to work as a supportive body of material – or ‘brackets’ as it will be referred in the text – revealing the creative process behind those art works, and the central thinkers, writers and artists that are relevant to this study. The writing is built around the idea of attempts, in a written interpretation of a method I have applied to many of the art works. The attempts in the written part of the thesis focus on a) introducing the role of the texts in this visual art project; b) juxtaposing the still life genre with contemporary art; and c) opening up the autobiographical features of art history, and the way in which this act reflects upon my practise.

Gillie Kleiman

Name: Gillie Kleiman
Provisional Thesis Title: Recreo-labour: work and not-work in professional choreography with non-professional performers.
Supervisors: Dr Simon Bayly and Dr Sara Houston.
Description of Project:
The field of British contemporary dance has a long-established but little-researched tradition of producing works created by professional artists presented in professional contexts created with and performed by ‘non-professional’ performers. This practice-based research seeks to investigate this performance-making and its resultant productions through the lens of labour, primarily in order to consider how they contribute to a remapping of long-established understandings of work and its related notions, offering potent alternative perspectives and performed resistance to dominant modes of living and working within and beyond dance and performance.
Research Interests:Contemporary dance, community dance, experimental performance, autonomism, labour, practice-as-research.
Email: kleimang@roehampton.ac.uk

Pavlos Kountouriotis

Name: Pavlos Kountouriotis
Provisional Thesis Title: A qualitative analysis of three techniques of transcendence and immanence for coping with pain in performance.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr Jen Parker Starbuck, Dr Ernst Fischer.
Description of Project:
This research describes, critically analyses and assesses three training techniques that I have developed and that lie in the intersection of Altered States of Consciousness and Somatic Practices and prepare performers to deal with pain in the performance context. These techniques are classified as techniques of pain transcendence or pain immanence. More specifically, in this dissertation I analyse and qualitatively assess how these practices function, operate and proceed and what their possible body-political undertones are. This qualitative analysis is based on an independent framework of analysis that derives from the amalgamation of the 5 different classifications of characteristics of Altered States of Consciousness—as defined by scientists Ludwig (1990), Tart (2000), Farthing (1992), Pekala (1991) and Vaitl (2005)—, adjusted to include the four stages/elements of SP—as defined by Depraz, Varela and Vermersch (2003) —, and geared towards a focus on the transformation of perception of perception of pain and its bodypolitical ramifications for performance artists interested in the discourse and practice of pain.
Research Interests:pain, performance art, live art, dance, choreography, somatic practices, altered states of consciousness, continental philosophy, transgression.
Email: info@kountouriotis.org

Bettina Knaup

Name: Bettina Knaup
Provisional Thesis Title: Creatures of the Mud - materialist becomings in curating performance art.
Supervisors: Prof Adrian Heathfield, Prof Jennifer Parker - Starbuck.
Description of Project:
This practice as research project develops a deepened curatorial engagement with a group of international performance artists, who deal with waste and death. Guiding us into landfills, morgues, sewages, wastelands these artists do not dwell in dystopian despair, nor do they aim at cleaning the toxic mess, but rather explore transhuman connection, solidarity and pleasure. They can be contextualised within new materialist thought, especially its feminist strand, which questions stubborn dualisms of dead matter and vital life and gives special attention to matter's vitality and to the entanglement of being and knowing. My research explores these performance practices as contributions to materialist knowledges and asks how these modes of knowing and being can resonate and create further impact through curatorial work.
Research Interests:Gender and Performance, New Materialism, Performance as Knowledge Practice, Performance and Archives, Curating Performance.
Email: knaupb@roehampton.ac.uk

Irene Liverani

Name: Irene Liverani
Provisional Thesis Title: The system of co-existence. Examining an art format as a way of being together.
Supervisors: Prof Jennifer Parker-Starbuck, Prof Joe Kelleher and Dr Emily Orley
Description of Project:
The practice-led research looks into a specific format in performance and installation arts, a format which I have named the ‘system of co-existence -- to connect it both with recent developments in the Information-Communication Technologies, and with the antagonist movements emerged in the early 2000s. In the research hypothesis, network technology, the system of co-existence as an art form, and anti-corporate globalisation movements, embody a common way being together; a way of being together which is rhizomatic, non-hierarchical and horizontal. Embodying a way of being together, the system of co-existence implies a political concern and proposal.
Research Interests: Peter Sloterdijk’s ‘spherology’ and Actor-Network Theory, anti-globalisation movements of the early 2000s and network technology, participative methodologies in installation and performance art, sound design and the aural dimension, friendship as a social tie.
Email: Liverani@roehampton.ac.uk

Fabrizio Manco

Name: Fabrizio Manco
Provisional Thesis Title: Ear Bodies: Acoustic Ecologies in Site-Contingent Performance.
Supervisors: Dr P.A. Skantze & Prof Joe Kelleher.
Description of Project:
Our body is constantly situated and being performed, affected, played, acted upon by the alterity of sound. This includes its relation to acoustic environments – as well as the auditory phantom, otoemissions/tinnitus – with their exchange and experience of the world and its sites.
Through acoustics and one’s ear body, we have a number of ways of interacting with our embodiment, processes reliant upon perception. Sound pervades our bodies, and as an autonomous phenomenon and as a result of ecological interrelations, it creates a corporality of listening. So, how can sound and listening become a better way in performance for the body to relate to a site as contingent and as embodied?
From experiments in sound-enabled in-situ, itinerant performance art, movement, architecture and drawing, I have invented and used in research, my PhD offers a methodology for performance-making and aural choreography. The materiality of sound and listening becomes a basis for my theory of site-contingent performance. Here, I not only apply phenomenological theories of lived experience, but – through contingency – I also link acoustic ecology with ecophenomenology as constituting acoustic embodiment.
Research Interests: Ecophenomenology, Embodiment, Fields and Framing, Hearing/Listening, Live Art, the Messapians, Movement, Nishitani Keiji and Nishida Kitarô 's philosophy of the Kyoto School (Kyōto-gakuha), Panpsychism, Phantom Perceptions, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and his Phenomenology of Perception, Performance Art, Salentine Tarantism, Somatics, Tinnitus and Hyperacusis.
Email: terragumo@yahoo.co.uk

Rachael Nicholas

Name: Rachael Nicholas
Provisional Thesis Title: Absent Audiences: Livecasts, Shakespeare and the Re-Definition of Cultural Access in the 21st Century.
Supervisors: Susanne Greenhalgh and Dr Fiona Wilkie.
Description of Project:
My research is concerned with how the use of livecasting (or livestreaming) technologies has an impact on the construction and composition of Shakespeare audiences. I am particularly interested in how livecasts of Shakespeare might be facilitating the construction of audience groups that are traditionally underrepresented in major theatre auditoriums and how this intersects with concepts of access, the digital and the cultural value of Shakespeare.
Research Interests: Shakespeare in performance, digital media, adaptation, audiences, cultural value and policy.
Email: nicholar1@roehampton.ac.uk

Batina Panagiotara

Name: Betina Panagiotara
Provisional Thesis Title: Turning the spotlight on artistic practices during a social crisis: the case of choreographers in Greece.
Supervisors: Dr Efrosini Protopapa & Dr Simon Bayly.
Description of Project:
This research examines how an artistic community operates in a period of socio-political crisis by focusing on choreographers residing and working in Greece. It tackles notions of precarity, austerity and neoliberalism as experienced in the dance community in Greece and looks at collaborative and collective artistic practices as alternative working structures through which the dominant mentality of contemporary dance is being re-negotiated. Researching a particular case study, this research relates the specific to the general by contributing to a wider on-going debate on the role of artists within a neoliberal context, providing a broader understanding of the developments occurring in contemporary dance practices in a context of crisis.
Research Interests: Dance politics, history, ethnography, education, and animation in performing arts.
Email: panagiop@roehampton.ac.uk

AnnaMaria Pinaka

Name: AnnaMaria Pinaka
Provisional Thesis Title: Porno-graphing: dirty subjectivities & self-objectification in contemporary lens-based art.
Supervisors: Prof Joe Kelleher, Dr Josh Abrams and Dr Nina Power.
Description of Project:
I use the term ‘porno-graphing’ to group together and examine artworks (video, photography, performance and writing) where the artists use as art-material sexual situations or sets of sexual dynamics present in their life independently of their art practice. These sexual situations have in common that they can be regarded as ‘taboo’ or ‘transgressive’; also that in how they use them, these artists underline the ‘dirtiness’ or ‘wrongness’ of their sexual and artistic subjectivities. To approach the ‘dirtiness’ of these works as well as their processes I use the notions of ‘negativity’ (as developed under the anti-social turn in Queer Theory) and of affect.
Research Interests: Performativity, performance and visual media, sexualities, practice-led research, queer theory and gender studies, feminist philosophy, media and culture, art theory, photography and video-art and porn studies.
Email: annamariapinaka@yahoo.co.uk

Claire Read

Name: Claire Read
Provisional Thesis Title: Performance/Documentation: Disrupting Ontologies.
Supervisors: Prof Jennifer Parker-Starbuck and Dr. Sarah Gorman.
Description of Project:
My research investigates the merging states of performance and documentation under technology. I am particularly interested in the example of live streaming, and am using the NT Live project as a key case study. I am also concerned with performative writing and archiving.
Research Interests:Documentation, Live streaming, Archiving.
Email: readc11@roehampton.ac.uk

Jack Tan

Name: Jack Tan
Provisional Thesis Title: Karaoke Court: Towards an understanding of legal aesthetics through performative practice.
Supervisors: P.A. Skantze and Ernst Fishcher.
Description of Project:
JUDGE: The Claimant (daughter) seeks an order from this Karaoke Court allowing her to stay out late any night. The Respondent (mother) opposes.
CLAIMANT: I come home in the morning light / My mother says when you gonna live your life right / Oh mother dear we're not the fortunate ones / And girls they want to have fun / Oh girls just want to have fun.
RESPONDENT: Why do birds suddenly appear, ev'ry time you are near? / Just like me, they long to be close to you.
JUDGE: I find for Mother and the Claimant is allowed nights out only at weekends.

Research Interests: Law. Art. Performance. Aesthetic theory. Performatives. Rights. Judicial discretion. Critical and aesthetic judgement.
Email: mail@jacktan.net

Mary Witts

Name: Mary Witts
Provisional Thesis Title: Devising Biblical Drama to Inhabit Proposed QWorlds: Enabling Ricoeurian Interpretation in Orally-focused Church Communities.
Supervisors: Prof Tina Beattie, Dr Josh Abrams and Dr Andrew Rogers.
Description of Project:
This investigation of devised biblical drama is made in response to the difficulties of engaging with Scripture faced by many ordinary Christians, particularly in orally-focused rural sub-Saharan Africa. I use Paul Ricoeur's enticing and imaginative approach to Scripture of inviting engagement in possible worlds to investigate devised biblical drama, particularly in relationship with the drama of the Anglican Church of the Gambella region in Ethiopia.
Research Interests: The use of devised drama in biblical engagement, Ricoeurian hermeneutics, the use of the imagination in biblical engagement.
Email: wittsm@roehampton.ac.uk

Name: Niki Orfanou
Provisional Thesis Title: The New Dramatic Play: Reflections of Practice, Process, Theory.
Supervisors: Prof Joe Kelleher and Prof Graham White.
Description of Project:
My research aims to show that the new dramatic play is an autonomous composition that adheres to its own logic. It examines the play’s creative impulses and theatrical potential in order to re-evaluate and re-negotiate its place in the theatrical universe. It is practice-led and evolves around my own play Lucas and Time, taking on its creative processes and transforming them into research methods. The thesis develops as an assemblage of various materials whose piecing together creates new configurations and ultimately proposes an experimental model of looking into the theatre text.
Research Interests: Plays, Politics.
Email: orfanoun@roehampton.ac.uk

Name: Diego Arboleda
British Chekhov: an analysis of the United Kingdom's intercultural national identity through contemporary reinterpretations of Anton Chekhov's plays.

Name: Lis Austin
Provisional Thesis Title: Pedagogy and Equality: Towards a Theatricalised Performance.

Name: Henry Bainbridge
Provisional Thesis Title: Golden trumpets, Balkan madness: The performance of Southeast European brass band music.

Name: Joana Craviero
Provisional Thesis Title: Embodied practices and ways of transmission of memory politics of the Portuguese dictatorship, revolution and post-dictatorship.

Name: Chris Davey
Provisional Thesis Title: The audience/performer encounter in Neo-Burlesque performance.

Name: Mariella Greil
Provisional Thesis Title: Being in Contact: Encountering a Bare Body.

Name: Aikaterini Paramana
Provisional Thesis Title: Object Making, Meaning Making: The construction of Meaning and Value in Postmodern Performance and Choreographic Practices.

Name: Paul Singer
Provisional Thesis Title: All the time I sit here not answering. Not responding'. A Critical Study of Rhys Adrian's Radio and Television Drama.

Name: Mariel Supka
Provisional Thesis Title: Improv[is]ed Dwellings, Performing Worldliness in Encounters with 'Alien' Animals.

Name: Maria del Mar Yanez-Lopez
Provisional Thesis Title: Creative polylogues: historiographical approaches to feminism and performance in curatorial projects.

Name: Amanda Stuart Fisher

Name: Antonia Manoochehri

Name: Jeremy Ridgman

Name: Wen-Chi Su

Previous Projects

Name: Lisa Alexander
Thesis Title: Performing agency and the poetic witness.
The thesis presents a concept and practice of ‘poetic witness’ through in depth case studies of artworks created as part of the practice as research and by other artists that stage subjectivity through framing the relational narrativity of the moment. A poetic witness operates in a space of becoming engaging a plural voice that approaches another through an ongoing othering of self. Particular forms of participatory artwork, performance and contemporary poetics are explored that work to reveal the ways in which a person is conditioned as an individual in society to witness herself and an-other and so exercise agency. This process enlists the knowhow of mortal singularity, the sensuous understanding derived from an emplaced, embodied experience of being. The thesis explores how this affective endurance of the body and the durational experience of dwelling might interpellate the boundaries imposed upon expression-perception by a disembodied linguistic system, and in a process of participatory hearing give space for its unexpressed witness.
Examining how artists are staging a communication between the body’s voice, language and dwelling, the thesis explores embodied poetics and the impact of place and time upon a performance of witness, investigating how these processes might challenge a phallogocentric system. The signification and agency of the speaking body is posited in specific ways of framing the performance of utterance sensorily immersed in place that express the witness between hearing and speech; a sonorous voice that potentially discloses the self as other unfixing the autos of memory. It is proposed that a poetic process of witness transposes a context of globalisation and its techno-linguistic, geo-political and economic skew on people, place and time by treating an ongoing digital flow of information as becoming. The sensuous excess of the body’s becoming is ordinarily omitted from a system of exchange imposed by a society, its government and its media, perhaps because the infinity of this embodied, sonorous and poetic knowhow is impossible to regulate. The notion of a ‘situation’ is used as a structuring device in the written thesis to provide a frame within which elements of the practice speak or utter in the form of narrativity or metalepsis, whilst illustrating the voice’s plurality. In this way the written thesis itself applies a process of poetic witness upon the case studies of artworks that perform this witness.

What They're Doing Now: Lisa Alexander is an artist, curator, writer and researcher. Her most recent project "Love Letters to a (Post-)Europe" at BIOS, Athens, 2 & 3 October - is a curated event of short works performed in the context of a rapidly changing Europe and in a city whose country is currently bearing the brunt of austerity.
See these links for more information:

Name: Annalaura Alifuoco
Thesis Title: In The Event of the Wound: Vi(r)t(u)al Archives of Flesh-and-Blood
This thesis addressed the unseen and unexhausted potentials of the artistic and critical practice of performance (art) in relation to its forms of historicity. Concentrating on the affective forces that emerge from the aesthetic experience, I approach contemporary and 20th century works that reflect – in turn disruptively and harmoniously – a strategic invisibility and/or engage with the (mis)performance of an apparent corporeality. The point of reference for exploring these parameters is the figure of the body as it appears wounded, distorted, grotesque, modified, or emphatically absent.

What They're Doing Now: Post Doctoral Fellowship at Liverpool Hope University. Current practice-as-research explores the contemporary stage as a frame that renders interesting collaborations between the so-called ‘human’, inhuman life and immaterial agencies. The ensuing critical and physical forms of address focus on anomalous or fragmented bodies in relation to affective politics, modes of existence, radical activism and cosmopolitics.

Name: Gigi Argyropoulou
Thesis Title: Performance, Interventions and Occupations on the Periphery of Europe
This work is concerned with the production of social space through cultural and performance practices; it proposes the collective production of space as a mode of resistance and examines performance manifestations, occupations and constructions within the contemporary neoliberal landscape. The thesis seeks to develop a mode of critical engagement with the spatial – its constraints and potentialities – moving from performance manifestations to emergent cultural spaces reclaiming the city.
Setting its horizon in the cultural landscape of Athens before and throughout the ongoing economic crisis, this research explores divisions between the private and the public, performance practices and political interventions and examines how space is produced and organized within specific spatial reclamations. Moving across urban policies, site-specific interventions, performance and political manifestations, this thesis draws on interdisciplinary methodologies in order to examine the potential of cultural/performance practices to constitute critical counter-hegemonic sites and spheres of co-existence. This thesis operates in the interstice of site-specific practice, socially engaged and participatory performance and political/civic activism as it seeks to produce an interrelated discourse  through and across these fields  on the collective production of space by performance practices as mode of political resistance and an act of potential self-institution.
This practice as research project is accordingly multi-modal. It is a document that includes multiple other documents, events and voices, practices of making and spectating, working through and across convergences, resonances, conversions, discontinuities and occupancies. This document includes written text, documentation of live events, structural elements of practice and documentations of documentation. This research seeks to operate from within, and as part of, multiple and overlapping circuits of praxis.

What They're Doing Now: http://gigiargyropoulou.org

Name: Augusto Corrieri
Thesis Title: In Place of a Show
In Place of a Show is written to function both as a creative writing project and as a critical-theoretical enquiry.
It focuses on the once dominant architectural and aesthetic apparatus associated with Western theatre since the Renaissance: the théâtre à l’italienne, or the European opera house. An enclosed space, functioning according to specific conventions embodied in its form (curtains, stage, proscenium arch, auditorium, balconies, etc), this construction has long been dismantled and abandoned. And yet, might its very ruination signal a persistence of sorts? What kind of potentialities – material, imaginative, historical – might lie within empty or unused theatres?
Each of the four chapters focuses on a particular building, linking its specificities to broader questions around the persistence of the theatrical apparatus:
  1. A baroque opera house in Munich, meticulously dismantled during the WW2 bombings and later reassembled on site, prompts questions over the theatre’s preservation as a means to obscure historical destruction.
  2. A chapter on London’s Dalston Theatre, demolished in 2007 to make way for a shopping and residential complex, explores how a theatre might be seen to “linger” after it is gone, subtly manifesting within sites and structures that bear no apparent relation to it.
  3. During a visit to the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza I witnessed a swallow flying beneath the auditorium’s sky-painted ceiling; the flight of the bird reconstitutes the otherwise empty theatre as a place for inhabitation and co–presence.
  4. Based on a trip to the Teatro Amazonas in the North Brazilian city of Manaus, the chapter explores the interplay between theatre and non-human nature, reflecting on the opera house’s construction at a time when Manaus was supplying most of the world’s rubber.
What emerges in the writing is a building unlinked from its “proper function” i.e. the staging of performances. The focus falls on the promissory force held by walls, seats, curtains, and the micro-events taking place within and without the building. What happens in a theatre when nothing is happening? What occurs in place of a show?

What They're Doing Now: Augusto Corrieri is currently developing a new performance project on sleight of hand magic, and working as a Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Sussex.

Name: Ella Finer
Thesis Title: The Vocal Female Body in Performance Time and Space
This project focuses on the relationship of the female speaking voice to her own body and others’ bodies within the particular temporality of performance space. Arguing that the female voice can be theorised as a resistant theatre material, which through its volatile nature can escape attempts at control, the work develops practical strategies and methods for discovering how the voice eludes any easy identification or ownership as part of a feminist agenda. Following Michelle Duncan who writes that ‘voice puts matter into circulation, matter that is more, or other than language,’ the research undertaken investigates how this matter can be manipulated in performance so that the sound material of the voice makes meaning. Concentrating on how a female body might ‘handle’ the voice as matter, with the body in question being both performer of voice, and director/designer of voice, the work develops a methodology of the “auditor-composer,” the female body who speaks through careful listening to others’ voices. Introducing the model of the auditor-composer through a rethinking of the character of Ophelia, both the practical and textual research undertaken then investigate how bodies compose through long-distance time and space, activating the return of past voices to reverberate in the present. Animating and patterning elements of the theoretical projects of Gina Bloom and Elin Diamond and using Gertrude Stein as a theorist of motion and return, the research argues that the material movement of sound happens in the continuous present, and as such the single voice cites many voices in the action of its live sounding.

Name: Vlatka Horvat
Thesis Title: The Catalogues: A Poetics of Cataloguing Everyday Encounters
The Catalogues: A Poetics of Cataloguing Everyday Encounters comprises original projects represented as rendition on the page and as exhibition, and a discursive analysis. The dissertation investigates the interplay between modes of representation and essentially un-representable aspects of lived experience, by examining the encounters between a protagonist and a set of objects in performance-based photo works Hiding, Hiding Outside, Under the Table, Searching, Packages, One On One and Obstructed, and photo-based collage works Hybrids, Parts Work, Arrangements, Anatomies and To Nothing. Using a phenomenological approach, the investigation focuses on the world of relations and the negotiation of subjectivities, considering the performance-based encounters depicted in the work in terms of misrecognition, mistake and misappropriation. Within this framework of “wrongness,” the dissertation conducts a close reading of the representation of the body, framing it as object to be misrecognised and defamiliarised. Insights derived from this micro analysis are extended to the broader cultural, social and political contexts. Acts of misuse are discussed as opening habitual relations and normative values, while gestures of hiding and concealment repeatedly enacted in the work are proposed as strategies for circumventing the expectations of the photographic medium. In the course of the analysis, notions of presence and absence, exposure and invisibility, as well as categories of inside and outside, object and subject are probed and destabilised. The dissertation further examines a shift in the practical output from photography to collage, identifying two types of gestures operating in the work: cutting up and reconfiguring. Consequently, the body and the physical world are proposed as sites of collapse, failure, fragmentation, as well as of resistance, possibility, fantasy. Finally, the dissertation considers the series as an organisational form containing incongruous and conflicting material, framing it as a conduit for a dialogic involvement of the viewer in the meaning making process.

What They're Doing Now: Vlatka makes work in a wide range of forms and media - namely sculpture, installation, drawing, performance, photography, and text - and shows her work extensively across different contexts - from visual art exhibition spaces, through performance venues and festivals, to the public realm.

Name: Branislava Kuburović
Thesis Title: Performance Of Wit(h)nessing: Trauma and Affect in Contemporary Live Art
This thesis investigates traumatic affectivity and a complex mesh of artistic strategies in contemporary live art and performance that allow a certain material renegotiation and transformation of social and personal traumatic histories. These strategies are analysed not as means of interpersonal transmission of experience through narrative capture and consolation, but of a transmission of affect, where the sense of affective sharing, of ‘wit(h)nessing’ and ‘transmissibility’ (Bracha L. Ettinger) of (traumatic) affect is distinguished from the idea of identification, of mirroring, of emotional identification that in fact subsumes the other to the same, to a life as we can readily articulate and regulate it without needing to acknowledge the violence inherent in such articulations. The thesis also explores how the notion of dramaturgy changes when observed from the perspective of trauma. Dramaturgy is here understood as ‘the text (the weave) of the performance’, where performance is seen to encompass a wide range of artistic practices which involve some element of live or recorded performed action. Such definition of dramaturgy becomes especially significant when this text/weave is marked by a traumatic occurrence, which by definition damages, tears down its integrating fabric. How can we address the difficulty, physically and philosophically, of accessing a destructive event through a creative act? As one possible answer, the thesis proposes the notion of ‘dramaturgies of loss’, of a certain ‘melancholy’ or ‘traumatic’ text as a creative answer to the forces of violence. It argues that an awkward, uncomfortable presence of certain misplaced, ‘emptied’ mimetic forms of contemporary dance and performance can be seen to create a parallel topography that can retroact on accepted notions of culture and render what belongs inside or outside of the cultural sphere indeterminate and thus potentially open to change.

What They're Doing Now: Project Manager for BA and MA Development, School of Art & Design, Programme Leader HND Interactive Media and Associate Lecturer BA Fine Art Experimental Media at Prague College. Writing and translating - writing an essay for and co-editing (with Sodja Zupanc-Lotker) a book for the Prague Quadrennial titled Shared Space: Music, Weather, Politics, which will reflect the 2015 edition of this major international exhibition of performance design and space.

Name: Jungmin Song
Thesis Title: Animating Everyday Objects in Performance
This thesis concerns how everyday objects produce meaning in the apparatus of performance. The arrangement of the apparatus—including the performer, space, time, objects, audience, and the choreography of these elements—acts to shift the meaning of objects and materials from the everyday. Meaning is determined by an object’s material properties—its flexibility and weight, the sound it makes—but these properties take on significance depending on what happens around and in relation to the object. This is a lesson that is familiar to observers and practitioners of puppet theatre. Puppets do not acquire meaning solely based on their outside characteristics. They also signify based on the material properties (such as malleability) that emerge when they are manipulated.

My practice-based research, grounded in both puppetry and live art practices, displaces objects from the places they are customarily used in order to highlight or subvert the ways that objects are used in everyday life. I focus attention on the flux of objects in action. Animation emerges from my manipulation of such simple objects as paper, balloons, biscuits, glasses, thread and pencils. Animation in puppetry and object theatre is sometimes conceived as a means to give the appearance of life to dead objects, often by anthropomorphizing them. My understanding of animation is not mimetic, but involves a focus on emergent phenomena. I thereby interrogate the binary opposition of life and death. I also challenge the tendency to read objects and phenomena such as rainbows symbolically by dissociating them from their normal contexts and associated sentiments. Stripping objects of their accreted layers of meaning, I attend to the emergence of the here and now. Bridging concerns with the body and an object-oriented ontology, I bring new theoretical understandings of the vibrancy of matter to live art and object performance.

What They're Doing Now: Since finishing my PhD, I have taught in the US at the University of Connecticut, and in the UK at the University of Kent. I have also published articles in Performance Research and presented performance and video work in the US, UK and Greece.

Name: Richard Talbot
Thesis Title: The Clown Who Lost His Memory: Faces of the Clown in Practice and Theory
Performance documentation, critical analysis, theoretical writing, and archival objects constitute The Clown Who Lost His Memory: Multiple Faces of the Clown in Practice and Theory, a thesis which is presented via a process-based and rhizomatic research network. The thesis can be accessed online at www.ninaandfrederick.co.uk/pollard*, and is supported by a printed volume of written essays. This multi-model interdisciplinary investigation makes an original contribution in the specific area of contemporary clown performance and its theoretical reflections. Following theories of social interaction, symbolic exchange and carnivalesque politics the thesis moves into the fields of museology and cultural activism in the context of urban recovery. The aim of the project was to devise an original methodology that brings performance and theoretical practices into a mutually informative dialogue without privileging one over the other. Furthermore, to foreground self-reflexivity in the modes of “performer-in-research” and “creative scholar”, Talbot creates the surrogate clownesque persona Kurt Zarniko. Zarniko is deployed to interpret and expand an extant museum collection of the amateur clown performer, Irving Pollard (1898-1975). Through oral history collection and reiterative interventions in public spaces, the project discovers Pollard’s narrative of traumatic injury in the Coventry blitz of the Second World War. Inspired by Pollard’s attempt to recover from aphasia and agnosia by carving a jester’s jingle, Talbot and Zarniko develop a troubled and antagonistic, but nevertheless productive dialogue to voice research findings, and negotiate articulations of theory and practice. Following Fredric Jameson, Mark Dery and others, the thesis traces the paradigm of the post-modern “schizo-clown” and proposes a clownesque epistemology informed by writers from Walter Benjamin to Sigmund Freud and Elder Olson. The recombinant structures of archival fragments, dreams, and jokes are found to work in sympathy with gossip, “non-seriousness” and “failure” as effective modes of knowledge “transfer” which occur as much by osmosis as by inference.
* Since 2014 some of the Flash programming supporting this website has been superceded and some features are no longer available. Please contact Richard Talbot (r.talbot@salford.ac.uk) for access to project materials and written elements of the thesis)

What They're Doing Now: I am currently Senior Lecturer in Performance, in the School of Arts & Media, at the University of Salford. I am also co-Artistic Director of Triangle Theatre (UK) and Associate Artist with Ridiculusmus (UK/Australia) & Pan Theatre (France).

Name: Danae Theodoridou
Thesis Title: Short (Research) Stories: Drama and Dramaturgy in Experimental Theatre and Dance Practices
This practice-as-research project discusses modes, processes and aesthetics of contemporary dramaturgy, as practiced in experimental theatre and dance works in Europe from the 1990s onwards. In order to do this, the project draws particularly on discourses around ‘drama’ and suggests that the term can be redefined and usefully rehabilitated for both analysis and the creation of experimental performances. More specifically, this project defines drama (deriving from the Greek dro=act) as stage action, and dramaturgy (deriving from the Greek drama + ergo= work) as a practice that works endlessly for the creation of this drama/action on stage and is therefore always connected with it. In order to approach the newly proposed notion of ‘experimental drama’, this research uses the six main dramatic elements offered by Aristotle in his Poetics: plot, character, language, thought, the visual and music. Furthermore, it adds a seventh element: the spectator and contemporary understandings around the conditions of spectatorship. It then offers an analysis of dramaturgical processes and aesthetics of experimental stage works through these elements. Given that this is a practice-as-research project, it is accordingly multi-modal and offers its perspectives on dramaturgy and experimental drama through both critical and performance texts, documentation traces (photographs and video recordings) of artistic practice – all present in this thesis – and a live event; all these modes complement each other and move constantly between the stage and the page to proceed with the research’s inquiries. The current thesis has borrowed the dramaturgical structure of two artistic projects, created within the frame of this research practice, to generate its writings. The introductory parts of this text place the work within the discourse on practice-as-research and discuss the project’s proposal for an analysis of contemporary dramaturgy through drama. The Short (Research) Stories that follow analyze experimental works, created both within the frame of this research practice and outside it, by other artists, following the Aristotelian model. The element of spectatorship intervenes in this analysis instead of standing separately in the thesis. The project’s closing live event returns from the page to the stage to continue and add to discussions around central issues of the work, in its various distinct modes.

What They're Doing Now: Assistant Producer of Theatre and Performance at the University of Groningen; performance maker and researcher based in Brussels.

Name: Rachel Zerihan
Thesis Title: Catharsis in Works of Contemporary Female Performance
This thesis explores catharsis in works of contemporary female performance. Following performance art’s move towards a testing of the limits of representation, the theatrical forms of contemporary ‘experiential’ theatre are counterpointed against performance art’s concern with the Drive to the Real. Proposing an affinity of affect across performance art and theatre aesthetics, the phenomenal space between performer and spectator is examined in recent performances by Karen Finley and Kira O’Reilly, and in the plays of the late Sarah Kane. The experience of catharsis is re-assessed beyond the tropes of purgation and purification, proposing terms that analyse its therapeutic and political efficacy. A feminist framework identifies compositions of hysteria and abjection together with modes of the ob/scene, as cathartic symptoms read in the (female) subject’s dis-ease. Critical theory and performance analysis are used to foreground feminist agendas seen to reclaim these strategies by subverting psycho-analytical ‘translations’ and cultural and societal ‘treatments’ of verbal and visual languages marked female. My own response to recent performances by Kane, O’Reilly and Finley works through readings of contemporary critical theory to open out the feminist and therapeutic figurings of catharsis to re-examine its political efficacy. Works by the three female practitioners are investigated therefore as a part of the proliferation of works invested in notions of intimate, intuitive and experiential dialogue with the other. These recoveries of ‘feminine features’ as strategies for empowerment (for self and other) are seen as a cultural response to humanist reflections of a social sickness breeding in the current climate of increased insecurity. The thesis examines the claim that catharsis evokes a kind of mass unconscious understanding, a mutually reactive experience and considers whether and how, in contemporary performance, this experience can be recognised and ultimately valued. Re-evaluating Aristotelian catharsis as the reason for theatre, this thesis considers its place, scope and efficacy in contemporary female performance works.

What They're Doing Now: Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at the University of Sheffield

Name: Esra Cizmeci
Thesis Title: Sufi Rituals in Turkey: Religious or Secular?.

Name: Jaime Gutierrez
Thesis Title: From borders to thresholds: using the body to bring worlds together (working title). 

Name: Austin McQuinn
Thesis Title: Acoustic Creatures: Human and animal vocal entanglements in performance. 

Name: Flora Pitrolo
Thesis Title: What was before isn't anymore: Image and the Italian Post-Avantgarde.

Name: Eleftheria Rapti
Thesis Title: Performing the Unschooled Body.