Professor David Williams

Personal profile

My research – both scholarly and practical – has focused on contemporary performance theory and practice, in particular in relation to processes of generation and composition in devised work. I have been interested in intersections between contemporary performance, philosophy and critical practices, with ‘performance’ conceived in an expanded field of practice (theatre, dance, live art, installation, performance writing etc).

One core interest has been the working regimes of certain directors, usually in collaborative devising contexts within which the creativity of performers is privileged in the creation of what Anne Bogart has called ‘resonant shapes for our present ambiguities’: most notably Peter Brook and the CICT, Ariane Mnouchkine and Le Theatre du Soleil, Simon McBurney and Theatre de Complicite. More recently, I have also written about dramaturgy and the ‘production dramaturg’, animals in performance (in particular horses and dogs), artists and the weather, artists and waste, and a range of contemporary performance makers and artists (including e.g. Pina Bausch, Goat Island, Forced Entertainment, Lone Twin, Damir Bartol Indos (Croatia), Théâtre Zingaro/Bartabas, Basia Irland and Mierle Laderman Ukeles). Essays have been published in journals internationally, including e.g. Performance Research, the TDR, Contemporary Theatre Review, New Theatre Quarterly, Writings on Dance, and Frakcija (Croatia). Recent publications relate to Sicily: performance and the city in a performative and affective textual 'mapping' of Palermo and its activists; and memory/memorialisation, utopian architecture and public space, in the wake of a major earthquake in Western Sicily.

Alongside teaching, I have worked as a director, dramaturg, performer, writer, editor, journalist and translator. I am currently the dramaturg with Lone Twin (Gary Winters and Gregg Whelan), and co-editor with Carl Lavery of a book about Lone Twin’s work: Good Luck Everybody: Lone Twin - Journeys, Performances, Conversations (Aberystwyth: PR Books, 2011). I have also edited a book about Lone Twin's 'Artists Taking The Lead' project for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad: The Lone Twin Boat Project (Chiquita Books, 2012), launched, with the boat itself, in May 2012. The most recent Lone Twin duo work, True West, premiered in spring 2015 at the In-Between Time Festival in Bristol.

Other performance collaborations, in dance and theatre, include work with choreographers Jane Mason, Emilyn Claid, and Malgven Gerbes/David Brandstaetter (Berlin), and residencies as guest artist with the Goat Island Summer School in Chicago.

I have been a Contributing Editor with the journal Performance Research since its inception in the mid-1990s, and an Associate Editor with Writings on Dance (Australia). I am also a member of the Editorial Board of Theatre Dance and Performance Training, a new Routledge/Taylor & Francis journal (co-editors, Jonathan Pitches/Simon Murray).

View all (12) »

ID: 4489