Towards a Listening Theatre: Metamodernism, Millennials and Contemporary Political Theatre

PhD Thesis

Drayton, T. 2020. Towards a Listening Theatre: Metamodernism, Millennials and Contemporary Political Theatre. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Creative Industries
AuthorsDrayton, T.
TypePhD Thesis

This practice-based Ph.D. maps emerging trends in contemporary political theatre in order to apply them in the development of a new frame of performance practice: The Listening Theatre. It does this by defining an evolving structure of feeling in new political theatre created by millennial artists which reflects current sensibilities as part of the emerging metamodern paradigm. This study provides significant new insight into how the metamodern can be located in a theatrical frame and indicates possible future trajectories for metamodern performance practices; locating and developing an innovative form of theatrical metamodernism.
The written component of this thesis maps out the territories and previous performance practices that the Listening Theatre intersects. I focus on the development of my own performance practice, through which I locate my work within a wider framework of political theatre created by millennial artists that exhibits an oscillation between optimistic endeavours towards, and doubtful self-criticism of, authentic, efficacious
theatrical engagement. This theatre of hope/lessness is inherently connected to the historical situatedness of the millennials as a generation. By offering a new definition of the millennial as a related structure of feeling, this thesis connects particular precarities and crises in my generation’s formative adult years to specific anxieties observable in our art.
This study also details my uncovering of the practical modalities and aesthetic concerns shared by a number of millennial theatre makers and my application of these as theatrical tools to engage with the millennial generation itself. The written component of this thesis details the development of this engagement and how I utilised the outcomes of this research to develop my own performance practice. This culminates in a new play, Like Lions, which forms the practical body of this study, through which I applied millennialmade performance modalities and metamodern aesthetics in order to intentionally develop innovative forms of metamodern, political performance.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Online18 Jun 2020
Publication process dates
SubmittedJan 2020
Deposited18 Jun 2020
Copyright informationThe copyright of this thesis rests with the author. Except where otherwise indicated, its contents are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-ND).
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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