Finding Myself, Lost

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The experience of disorientation, and of ‘out of place’-ness is frequently a component of participation in both site-specific and immersive theatre performances. It is often cited as a central part of the thrill or pleasure of participation. Encountering unexpected, or even dysfunctional place-behaviours, participants are caught in situations in which the day-to-day rules of life are suspended. Engagement with these performances are highly memorable, and when articulated by audiences, reflections tend to focus on the intensity of affective, non-verbal encounters.

Drawing on my practice-based research exploring notions of place-identity drawn from environmental psychology, I propose that through encountering what has been termed ‘dysfunctional place’, (Proshansky et al, Genereaux et al) the sense of place-identity for the participant is challenged, a moment which offers the possibility of a subtle shift in self-identity. If this is the case, the effusive response of audiences is not ‘merely’ hedonism, but a response to a significant, possibly even transformative encounter. For makers, this moment of lostness contains great potential – for affirmative, progressive engagement, and of immense cultural value.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 29 Jan 2016
EventAudience, Experience, Desire Conference - Department of Drama, Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Jan 201630 Jan 2016


ConferenceAudience, Experience, Desire Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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