Playing with Intimacy and Intensity:
An interdisciplinary network for participatory performance practice.
Performance culture is changing. The turn towards playful invitations to intense and intimate encounters, is becoming immensely popular with both artists and audiences.
Audiences are being drawn into rich and sometimes risky experiences in the middle of performance, rather than at a safe spectatorial distance, often through structured games or playful provocations. The diverse work that is going on in theatre, live art, dance, gaming and applied arts can be seen as a dynamic but diffuse project of research and development into interaction, involvement and encounter, and into what play and performance can become in contemporary culture.
This project, led by Gareth White and Bruce Barton with an international group of practitioners, academics and practitioner-academics, strengthens connections between these disciplines, to enhance shared understanding in the sub-disciplines of participatory performance, and to stimulate new directions of enquiry in practice and theory.
The project began in May 2019 with a performance Lab, attended by network members from across the world, at Jackson’s Lane in London. A second Lab takes place in November, along with a one-day open symposium, sharing the experiences of the network and inviting other experts (producers, critics, audiences, as well as practitioners and scholars) to share their perspectives.
Funded by the AHRC’s Research Networking Scheme, this project shares ideas and working methods of playfully inviting audiences to engage in challenging activity in the midst of performances.
Dr Adam Alston is Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London. His publications include Beyond Immersive Theatre: Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation.Full profile
Dr Bruce Barton is a performance maker and scholar. He works extensively as a director, playwright, dramaturg, and designer with numerous devising and intermedial performance companies across Canada and internationally. He leads the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.Full profile
Dr Jorge Lopes Ramos is Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Performing Arts Development at the University of East London, and co-Artistic Director of ZU-UK.Website
Nick is artistic director of learning disabled theatre company, Access All Areas, whose work playfully blurs boundaries, including those between the audience and the performance.Website
Christer is one half of performance duo Lundahl & Seitl, with Martina Seitl. They are pioneers of ‘antidisciplinary’ practice, working with technology, choreography and shared experience.Website
Dr Josephine Machon is Associate Professor in Performing Arts at Middlesex University. Her publications include Immersive Theatres: Intimacy and Immediacy in Contemporary Performance, and The Punchdrunk Encyclopaedia.Full profile
Persis-Jade Maravala is artistic director of the influential and innovative theatre company, ZU-UK, creators of game-changing shows such as Hotel Medea and The Binaural Dinner Date.Website
Silvia is a performance artist, creating experimental theatre and immersive performances since 1998, including with Rotozaza and Il Pixel Rosso. Recent pieces include Macondo, a participatory re-telling of One Hundred Years of Solitude.Website
Dr Jane Munro is Senior Lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She makes interactive dance performances, such as Rope and Invitation with her company The Visitors.Website
Natalie is Co-Artistic Director of the Lab Collective, who create interactive, visceral live experiences treading the line between theatre, game and installation. She also works with companies such as Specifiq, Dank Parish and Punchdrunk.Website
Dr David Shearing is a performance maker, working with immersive multimedia environments, in pieces such as The Weather Café, and The Dock.Website
Dr Jaakko Stenros of Tampere University, Finland is one of the leading scholars of live action role play, Jaakko’s publications include Nordic Larp, (with Markus Montola) and Pervasive Games (with Markus Montola and Annika Waern). He is a prolific researcher, blogger and player of games.Website
Dr Tassos Stevens is director of interactive theatre makers Coney, who make game-based performances like A Small Town Anywhere, and Early Days of a Better Nation, as well as making games that are just games.Website
Joe is Co-Artistic Director of the Lab Collective, creating theatrical experiences in traditional and non-traditional spaces, from intimate one-on-one experiences to larger scale festival work. Joe also works with Punchdrunk, Specific, Hartshorn Hook and Dank Parish.Website
Dr Gareth White is Reader in Theatre and Performance at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He writes about participatory performance in books like Audience Participation in Theatre, Aesthetics of the Invitation, and Applied Theatre Aesthetics, and sometimes makes performances of that kind too.Full profile
Dr Gareth White
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
London NW3 3HY
Tel: 020 7722 8183