Volume 24 Issue 8
Issue editors: Helena Grehan and Peter Eckersall
Publication date: 15 April 2020
‘On Politics’ is concerned dramaturgically and existentially with relations of power in all spheres of life. We propose that life itself and all forms of economic, environmental, social and cultural production are inherently political. To say otherwise is, as Bertolt Brecht noted, to merely align oneself with the ruling group. Dramaturgically, the forms and actions of performance themselves communicate, critique and express the desire for conversations with a range of interlocutors, antagonists, audiences and others. This issue is informed by our current context of rapid and continuous transformations in environmental, technological and social life -- transformations that pose both existential and practical challenges for theatre and performance. The essays in this issue respond to this proposition through three distinct, yet interrelated themes: Diagnosis, Activism and Futures.
Volume 25 Issue 1
Issue editors: David Gilbert, Judith Hawley, Helen Nicholson & Libby Worth
Publication date: 30 April 2020
The current attempts of theatre makers to increase diversity by including non-professionals in their casts and of social policy makers to promote participation in the arts justify the perception that there is an ‘amateur turn’ in performance practice. Yet this ‘turn’ has not brought about a revolution in attitudes to the amateur. As Sarah Jane Bailes points out, the amateur actor is an ‘often risible and endearing figure to a British public’. And often more risible than anything else. The tension between the commitment with which amateurs pursue their activities and the indifference they meet in professional and academic circles inspired us to champion the very notion of the amateur in this issue. We challenge the notion of the amateur as secondary or second rate. These essays explore the geographies and histories of amateur performance, think through the nature and limits of the idea of the amateur in different cultural contexts and help us to develop a new vocabulary to understand the complexity and nuances of amateur performance. Authors address such subjects as the global reach of amateur performance through new social media, changing work patterns, spaces of performance, amateur participation as political activism and the distinctive aesthetics of amateur performance.
Volume 25 Issue 2
On Dark Ecologies
Issue editors: Angenette Spalink & Jonah Winn-Lenetsky
Publication date: 31 May 2020
Timothy Morton describes dark ecology as ‘ecological awareness, dark-depressing. Yet ecological awareness is also dark-uncanny. And strangely it is dark-sweet.’ The concept of dark ecology represents a crucial intervention in the current moment of political conservatism and climate change denial and enables a focused exploration of a wide range of issues relating to performance and ecology. Human activity on the planet is responsible for a number of ecological and political dilemmas, including (but not limited to) global climate change, pollution, leaking pipelines, fragmentation of ecosystems, diminishing natural resources and nuclear meltdowns. While some may harbour hope and positivity about the future, it is easy to feel overwhelmingly hopeless about these large-scale, complex problems. Morton refers to the awareness of these substantial ecological dilemmas as ‘ecognosis’, which he describes as ‘a riddle… It is something like coexisting. It is like being accustomed to something strange.’ It is this tension between hope and despair, the coexistence between ‘depressing’ and ‘sweet’ — this space of ‘dark ecologies’ in our current political and ecological climate — that we explore in this special issue. The essays in this issue consider dark ecology in relation to performance and explore the ways that performance can intervene in or engage with a plurality of dark ecologies.