Affective Bodies in Dynamic Space: A site-specific theatre of lost texts

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This practice-based thesis explores the possibilities presented by dissonant relations between site and text in site-specific theatre. Identifying the under-examination, and so under-theorisation of site/text relations in site-specific scholarship, the thesis pursues an enquiry into the role of dissonance and lack of fit between site and text. The thesis presents the work and thinking of Tadeusz Kantor and his concept of site as ‘Mill to Grind the Text’ as a counter-origin of the practice of site-specific theatre, and proposes an expanded conceptual vocabulary of site-specific theatre which attends to lack of fit between site and text in the political, critical and creative practice of site-specific theatre.
Working with two noteworthy, little-performed texts, The Tragedy of Mariam by Elizabeth Cary and The Massacre by Elizabeth Inchbald, the project considers the ways that site-specific theatre creates positive conditions for marginal plays that face considerable obstacles to performance and reception. Through practical investigations in several sites with each of the texts, the enquiry generates and archives considerable knowledge of these culturally notable, marginalised plays, connecting them through the practice to contemporary discourses. This includes the thinking of cultural geographer Doreen Massey and sociologist John Urry, and the fluid, mobilities-based models of space that they propose, and also Spinoza’s radical notion of affective bodies as explored by Kathleen Stewart, Gernot Bohme and Nigel Thrift.
Through the practice’s ongoing engagement with the theoretical and conceptual questions of the thesis, the thesis contributes a distinct site-specific theatre of little-performed texts.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Worth, Libby, Supervisor
  • Williams, Antony, Supervisor
Award date22 Jun 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016


  • site-specific
  • feminist
  • lost texts
  • affect theory
  • space
  • Inchbald
  • Elizabeth Cary
  • Spinoza
  • Tadeusz Kantor
  • Audience
  • agency
  • spectatorship
  • participation
  • dramaturgy
  • immersive
  • participatory

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