World Political Theatre and Performance

Theories, Histories, Practices


World Political Theatre and Performance: Theories, Histories, Practices is the second collection of essays to emerge from the Political Performances Working Group at the International Federation for Theatre Research. Bringing together scholars and practitioners from multiple locations, the book analyses a range of examples – historical and contemporary – of counter-hegemonic theatre and performance.
Part 1 offers a diachronic view of the relationship between activism and performance; Part 2 focuses on the changing nature of what constitutes ‘political theatre’ today. Case studies from Finland to India and from Chile to China are framed by section introductions that underline both commonalities and tensions, while the general introduction reflects on what a radical practice can look like in the face of global neoliberalism.

Contributors: Julia Boll, Paola Botham, Marco Galea, Aneta Głowacka, Pujya Ghosh, Camila González Ortiz, Bérénice Hamidi-Kim, Fatine Bahar Karlıdağ, Madli Pesti, José Ramón Prado-Pérez, Trish Reid, Mikko-Olavi Seppälä, Andy Smith, Evi Stamatiou, Wei Zheyu.

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Mireia Aragay is Professor of English Literature, Drama and Theatre at the University of Barcelona. She is Principal Investigator of the Contemporary British Theatre Barcelona research group and has published widely in the field.

Paola Botham is Lecturer in Drama at Birmingham City University, UK. She has published extensively on modern and contemporary political theatre in Britain and Chile, and is a former convenor of IFTR’s Political Performances Working Group.

José Ramón Prado-Pérez is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Universitat Jaume I. He is a member of the Contemporary British Theatre Barcelona research group and publishes on British political theatre.
Notes on Contributors
General Introduction Trish Reid

Activist Theatres/Performances Past and Present

Activist Theatres/Performances, Past and Present: An Introduction José Ramón Prado-Pérez
Political Activism or Handling Trauma? The Civil War Staged in Workers’ Theatres in 1920s Finland Mikko-Olavi Seppälä
From Revolution to Dissent: a Case Study of the Changing Role of Theatre and Activism in Bengal Pujya Ghosh
Who Gets to Represent the Past and Why Should They Bother? Maltese Political Theatre in the 1980s Marco Galea
A Film-Set Activism: Political Dimensions of a Labor Day Performance Fatine Bahar Karlıdağ
Making the Audience Cry: Witnessing Violence and the Ethics of Compelled Empathy Julia Boll
Stepping Forward: an Exploration of Devised Theatre’s Democratic Designs in an Actor-Training Setting Evi Stamatiou

Contemporary (Debates on) Political Theatre

Contemporary (Debates on) Political Theatre: An Introduction Paola Botham
The Politics of Theatre in France Today Bérénice Hamidi-Kim
Returning to the ‘Plebeian’ Roots of Comedy: Contemporary Political Theatre in Poland Aneta Głowacka
Theatre NO99’s Savisaar: an Estonian Political Musical for the Twenty-First Century Madli Pesti
Theatre and Democracy in Chile: La Re-sentida’s La imaginación del futuro, or the Failure of Utopias Camila González Ortiz
The Touring Grass Stage: Staging the Site-Specific Dilemma of Glocalization in Hypermodern China Wei Zheyu
Meeting in the Theatre to Think towards Social and Political Change Andy Smith
Academics and students with an interest in the intersection between theatre/performance and politics, as well as theatre practitioners.
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