Listening Theatre: The New Politics of Millennial Performance Makers

Conference paper


Drayton, T. 2018. Listening Theatre: The New Politics of Millennial Performance Makers. NYU Educational Theatre Forum 2018: 'Performance as Activism'. New York University, NY, USA 19 2018 - 21 Apr 2019
AuthorsDrayton, T.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

A new paradigm of political performance is being created by theatre makers in the UK. As a response to a climate of instability, heightened by imposed austerity, 0-hour contracts and Brexit, companies such as The Gramophones and Lung create performances that are constructed around an equal and mutually beneficial dialogue between actor and audience – what I have termed horizontal transaction. It’s an ‘attempt to make them [the audience] part of the conversation,’ as Hannah Stone, Artistic Director of The Gramophones told me in an interview, ‘…it’s not really about us.’

This paper argues that the performative, political dialogues created by these artists are a direct response to specific socio-economic, political and philosophical crises affecting our generation and reflective of the emerging concept of the metamodern. Popularised by Dutch cultural theorists Timotheus Vermuelen and Robin van den Akker (2010), metamodernism refers to a constant oscillation between opposing states in a direct response to the failings of postmodernism. A back-and-forth dialogue between irony and sincerity, hopelessness and hope.

Through critical analysis of performance practices, and interviews with the companies themselves, this paper reviews the specific methodologies at play within these productions and explores my own reflexive praxis. How can we engage audiences in a critical and beneficial exchange of ideas, outbursts and activism? How can we create theatre that both offers a discursive platform for communities and audiences and effectively promotes social change? What can we offer as theatre makers in this time of crisis?

KeywordsMillennial Theatre; Metamodernism; Political Performance; Millennials
Year2018
ConferenceNYU Educational Theatre Forum 2018: 'Performance as Activism'
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Repository staff only
Publication process dates
Completed20 Apr 2018
Deposited21 Feb 2023
Copyright holder© 2018 The Author
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