The QUORUM 2012-13 series offered a particularly interdisciplinary focus, and explored the nexus between theatre and performance studies, and fields such as geography and contemporary art. Performance pieces were presented alongside more traditional research seminars – with topics ranging from the Early Modern period to Postcolonialism.

The Quorum Committee for 2012-13 were:

  • Catriona Fallow
  • Katharine Fry
  • Katja Hilevaara
  • Lauren Barri Holstein
  • Lynne McCarthy
  • Francesco Scasciamacchia
  • Sarah Thomasson

Wednesday 3rd October 2012

Dr Tony Fisher, Central School of Speech and Drama

Revolts of Conduct on the Restoration Stage

In this paper I seek to situate the Restoration Stage in terms of Foucault’s analysis of ‘conduct’: to place restoration theatre next to the emergence of governmental power whose new role will be, as Foucault argues, ‘salvation’ and the ‘conducting of men’s souls’. Exploring conduct in relation to Restoration theatre, I propose two things: first, that restoration theatre, with its libertines, cuckolded husbands and its derisive view of marriage as a corruption of ‘nature’ articulates a form of resistance to the new ‘moral’ class; second, and inversely: that the ‘moral objections’ to restoration theatre, and the valorisation of the family, are precisely expressive of the projection of pastoral power into the very heart and logic of government. Hence, on the one hand, we can begin to understand through its co-option of Puritan moralism something of the nature of the new pastoral regime of government. On the other hand, in restoration plays, in the figure of the libertine, and in the response of the Ancien Régime to the displacing of its power, we find a peculiar ‘revolt of conduct’ that draws the wrath of Puritan critics such as Jeremy Collier. This paper thus asks: how might we understand through the example of Restoration theatre the politicisation of moral discourse as formative of a new rationality of governmental power?
Tony Fisher is a lecturer at Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Essex, and a background in art and film practice. His research interests include aesthetics and politics, and the ancient antagonism, first articulated by Plato, between philosophy and theatre.


Wednesday 17th October 2012

Professor Jon May, Queen Mary and Dr Jennie Middleton, Kingston University 

Conversations with the mob: London’s Sock Mob and the politics of encounter

Whether seeking food or money from charities or passers-by, negotiating the ministrations of outreach teams, or avoiding the attention of the police, street homeless people’s encounters with others are highly strategic and tightly scripted. Though the relative power of either player to steer these encounters to their own ends – and the precise details of the scripts – may vary, such engagements continue to operate across a more or less open, more or less tightly policed, border-zone; with homeless people on one side, members of a beneficent public, welfare bureaucracy, or agents of enforcement on the other. Alternatively, street homeless people are simply ignored; their needs unheard and unmet. In a quiet exception, London’s Sock Mob is seeking to promote alternative forms of urban encounter. Founded in 2008, its 600 or so members meet two or three times a month to walk London’s streets and converse with street homeless people. In contrast to the studied disinterest of many members of the housed public, ‘Mobbers’ seek to engage those on the streets in conversation. Differing from the instrumental engagements of outreach teams and the police, the conversations that lie at the heart of a ‘mobbing’ are genuinely dialogic; with no destination beyond the conversation itself. At a time when ‘assertive outreach’ and street sweeps are playing an ever more central role in British homelessness policy, yet remain largely uncontested, these apparently mundane, even banal, encounters pose a challenge to more familiar understandings of possible relationships between a housed a homeless public: as passers-by bear witness to the possibility of mutual engagement rather than the continued supplication, disavowel or active exclusion of street homeless people. The paper draws on ethnographic research to explore the work of Sock Mob and assesses its potential to develop a more progressive politics of encounter.

Jon May is Professor of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. His research focuses on the geographies of street homelessness, and of low paid migrant labour. His most recent books include Swept up Lives? Re-envisioning the homeless city (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010; with Paul Cloke and Sarah Johnsen), and Global Cities at Work: New migrant divisions of labour (Pluto Press, 2010: with Jane Wills, Kavita Datta, Yara Evans, Jo Herbert and Cathy McIlwaine). http://www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/staff/mayj.html

Dr Jennie Middleton is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Kingston University in the School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science. Whilst having a background in urban, social and cultural geography Jennie’s research cuts across other disciplines that include sociology and psychology, and strongly relates to the field of mobilities research. Following the completion of her PhD at King’s College London, Jennie held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Royal Holloway, University of London before taking up her previous post as Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Plymouth. Jennie’s research explores everyday urban mobility, focusing on how to theoretically and empirically engage with people’s spatio-temporal and embodied mobile experiences and the implications of this for urban and transport policy.


Wednesday 31 October 2012 (Halloween special)

Dr Theron Schmidt, King’s College London

Outsider Theatre: Back to Back’s Hell House

In the US, evangelical Christian communities stage promenade-theatre Hell Houses as a way to depict the consequences of what they regard as sinful behaviour and to encourage re-affirmation of faith and fundraising. Back to Back Theatre recently staged a production of one of these plays for Melbourne’s Arts House, drawing on a volunteer cast of amateur and semi-professional performers as well as a few members of their permanent ensemble composed of performers perceived to have intellectual disabilities. The company described the project as an ‘anthropological study’ in which they attempted to follow the instructions of the play as literally as possible and to avoid interpretation or critique; they also presented the theatrical event as prelude to a series of public forums featuring secular and religious commentators on faith, provocation, and morality. Both the world-view of the play’s fiction, and also of the public forums, emphasised clear distinctions between self and other and moral dimensions that arise from these distinctions. But the theatre event itself was more complicated, involving a series of leaps of identification and complex relationships of insider and outsider. Drawing on my observations of the rehearsal process as well as some of the history of evangelical Christianity, I will reflect on the figure of the outsider as a basis for moral judgement, and the possibility for ‘outsider theatre’ as a variation on ‘outsider art’.

Theron Schmidt is a Lecturer in Theatre & Liberal Arts at King’s College London. Recent publications include articles on Christoph Schlingensief for Performance Research (2011), site-specific performance and monumentality for Contemporary Theatre Review (2010), and the performativity of political apology for a special issue of Law Text Culture (2010). He has regularly presented papers at conferences such as PSi, TaPRA, and ATHE. In 2012 he joins Contemporary Theatre Review as Assistant Editor.


Wednesday 14th November 2012

Dr Emily Orley, University of Roehampton

Between Land and Paper: An Experiment in Place-Writing

My grandfather, who died over twenty-five years ago, left behind a brief collection of memoirs which my father only discovered in a storage box in November 2008. Repetitive, fragmented and unfinished, they record the migrations of a Russian-Jewish medical student and then doctor who travelled back and forth across Europe before, during and after the First World War, before changing his name and becoming a British citizen.
I will select an extract from these memoirs to engage in an experiment in place-writing, exploring what it means to view a piece of paper as a place by entering into one sheet of my grandfather’s writing and travelling across it. Drawing on the writings of Doreen Massey and Jane Rendell in particular, I will use a combination of description, magnification, regurgitation and association to perform a tour of the chosen page, with images and words.

Dr. Emily Orley is a researcher-practitioner whose work reflects on, and engages with place-writing, installation art, performance and scenography. She lectures at Roehampton University in the Drama, Theatre and Performance, and has degrees from the Wimbledon School of Art and Cambridge and Roehampton Universities. She also trained at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. For more information and images of her work, go to www.emilyorley.com.


Wednesday 28th November 2012

Dr TJ Demos, University College London

Poverty Pornography, Humanitarianism, and Neoliberal Globalization: On Renzo Martens’s Enjoy Poverty (2008)

This presentation, drawn from Demos’ forthcoming book Return to the Postcolony, examines Renzo Martens’ Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), a controversial film that documents the artist’s intervention in the dire economic conditions in the Congo. Proposing something of a Swiftian satire, the Dutch artist’s film suggests that the country’s greatest resource is its poverty, for which it receives hundreds of millions in aid yearly from international donors such as the World Bank. Martens’ work represents a critical investigation into the image-industry—of photojournalists, artists, and humanitarians alike—that presents us with the paradox of its production of well-intentioned compassion for the impoverished that ends up contributing to, and economically benefiting from, the perpetuation of the current crisis. The presentation shows how the current economic arrangements that drive African poverty are a carry-over from colonial dominance; as such, globalization remains haunted by Europe’s imperial past.

Dr. TJ Demos lectures in the Art History Department at University College London. He writes widely on modern and contemporary art, and is the author of Dara Birnbaum: Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (Afterall Press, 2010), and The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp (MIT Press, 2007). He is presently completing two new books: Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (Sternberg Press, forthcoming, 2012); and The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis (Duke University Press, forthcoming, 2013). He is also currently guest-editing a special issue of Third Text on contemporary art and the politics of ecology (to be released in early 2013).


Wednesday 12th December 2012

Dr Emer O’TooleRoyal Holloway University

Intercultural Capital: Reading Tim Supple’s Pan-Indian and Pan-Arabic Spectaculars

Director Tim Supple’s British Council funded production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2006) was the result of two years work with artists from all over India and Sri-Lanka. The physical, sensual production toured in India, the UK, and on the global festival circuit for almost three years. Supple’s next major project was ambitious: a pan-Arabic version of 1001 Nights (2011), which returned to classical, pre-Orientalist versions of the tales and did not flinch from their sexual and violent content. Funded by Luminato, a Canadian theatre festival, it played first in Toronto, then Edinburgh, while the planned U.S. leg of its tour was cancelled due to performers’ visa issues. Drawing on material from interviews and rehearsal observations, this research paper examines the circulations of capital – economic, social, cultural and symbolic – inherent in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and 1001 Nights. Further, grounded in cultural materialism, Bourdieusian cultural economics, and postcolonial theory, it looks at the ideological functions that both works uphold in a global field of cultural production. In doing so, the paper aims to comment on the politics and ethics at play in contemporary intercultural theatre practice.
This research has been generously supported by Royal Holloway, University of London’s Una Ellis-Fermor award.

Dr Emer O’Toole is an intercultural theatre scholar, whose research interrogates the materialities – in terms of economics, politics, history, race, gender and class – that inform intercultural practice in a globalized and globalizing world. She currently works on the Indigeneity in the Contemporary World project at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is on the executive committee of the International Federation of Theatre Research in the capacity of New Scholars’ Representative. Emer is also a popular writer and social commentator, contributing to The Guardian and the politicised but fun feminist blog Vagenda.


Wednesday 16th January 2013

Dr Kim Solga, Queen Mary University

Beatrice Joanna and the Rhetoric of Rape: Women, Sex and Labour in Contemporary Early Modern Performance

In 2006, Cheek By Jowl staged a “backstage” Changeling at the Barbican and toured it around Europe. In 2009, I wrote effusively of this production’s feminist potential in my first monograph, Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance (out in paperback this month). In late 2011, I returned to Cheek By Jowl’s Barbican offices to watch the production’s videos again; what I saw shifted my thinking about the Cheek by Jowl Changeling as exemplary of early modern feminist performance. This paper is the story of that re-visiting.
In this talk – drawn from a chapter I have completed for a new book on progressive performance and neoconservative ideologies – I will follow several related threads to argue that the Cheek by Jowl production embedded exceptional feminist potential, but also produced along the way some very conservative spectatorial impulses with which feminist scholars of contemporary early modern performance have not fully reckoned. The main female character in the piece, Olivia Williams’ Beatrice Joanna, is raped but not a victim: she’s a woman who barters with her body and falls prey to a very violent assault. As such, her behaviour needs to be read through the lens of sexual labour and its cultural prejudices. I thus consider her rape, and her play’s refusal to name it as such, in the context of contemporary female sex workers’ experiences of assault. I argue that the representational conundrum those experiences pose today in nations like the U.S., Britain, and Canada can be read anachronistically onto the problem Beatrice’s rape and ongoing abuse posed for viewers of this production: namely, the difficulty very sexually active women encounter in being seen as both agential and in pain, as both sexually powerful and sexually vulnerable at the same time. The Cheek by Jowl Changeling sought the latter representation arduously but not quite successfully, prompting me to ask: Can we ever figure a gorgeous, complex, thrilling, suffering, bad, hurt, damaged, but also strong and compelling Beatrice Joanna without foregrounding her sexuality in risky, ultimately very conservative ways? Can we ever, really, stage a truly feminist Changeling?

Dr Kim Solga is Senior Lecturer in Drama at QM. Her edited books include Performance and the City (2009); Performance and the Global City (2013); New Canadian Realisms: Eight Plays (2012); and New Canadian Realisms: New Essays in Canadian Theatre, Vol. 2 (2012). Her 2009 monograph, Violence Against Women in Early Modern Performance, is out in paperback this month. With Roberta Barker and Cary Mazer, she is currently working on a special issue of Shakespeare Bulletin focused around Naturalism in Early Modern performance; her new independent project is titled Women, Work, and the New Naturalism, 1992-2012.


Wednesday 30 January 2013

Professor Joe Kelleher, University of Roehampton, and Dr Eirini Kartsaki, Anglia Ruskin University

Agonies of Sound

For the Quorum event, we will re-visit and extend the 25-minute two-person performance ‘How to catch a dog in a bucket’ that we presented at the 2011 Performance Studies international (PSi) conference at Leeds University. We had proposed the Leeds performance in the following terms: A spoken-word performance for two adults about children’s silent industriousness, and about the tricks and devices with which we tried to catch a life, to make a world. A laboratory of imaginative industry, a meditation on our first cultural productions, and a word or two about the gift of shit.

Over a series of chapters, we rehearse plots and plans, as if for the sake of efficacy, as if to make something that really ‘works’, but really for the pleasure of making itself. In addressing culture as the matter or material of children’s industriousness, the performance considers the culture that is made out of adults’ retelling of childhood narratives, affected by the seduction of childhood’s serious industry. The performance asks: how to find the matter or the material in the making, how to use it, how to play and deliver stories, how to perform. Using a mixture of original and found text the performance looks into the ‘aporia’ of text and performance, at what leaks out of children’s imaginings told over by adults. That performance was the second in a series of performed ‘lessons’ following our first piece together the previous year ‘How to swim’. More recently we have been discussing not only how to extend the work with a third and final lesson for the series, but also how to develop the performance form itself towards a durational exploration of voice and sound. These discussions have in turn led into some early-stage thoughts about a research project on duos and duets in performance, focusing – to borrow a term we have adopted to characterise an aspect of our own work – on the ‘agony’ of two voices sounding together. At Quorum we will offer an extended (50 minute) version of ‘How to catch a dog in a bucket’ that will try to feel a direction towards these ideas, but through the only way that the performance knows, through an extended agony of vocal sound.

Eirini Kartsaki writes and performs. She has presented her work nationally and internationally (V&A, Arnolfini, Whitechapel Gallery, Camden People’s Theatre, East End Collaborations, The Place, Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, etc.) and has published in journals Activate, PerformArt and Choreographic Practices. Eirini is currently a Senior Lecturer in Drama at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Joe Kelleher is Head of Department for Drama, Theatre and Performance at Roehampton University London. During the 1990s he performed with the London-based theatre group PUR, and at PSi#15 he co-curated the shift The School of Sisyphus. He is co-editor with Nicholas Ridout of Contemporary Theatres in Europe (Routledge 2006), co-author with Claudia and Romeo Castellucci, Chiara Giudi and Nicholas Ridout of The Theatre of Societas Raffaello Sanzio (Routledge 2007), and author of Theatre & Politics (Palgrave Macmillan 2009).


Wednesday 13th February 2013

QUORUM / Annual Drama Lecture: Professor Brian Singleton, Trinity College Dublin

Performing Intimacy: Post- and Prosthetic Memories of Irish Postcoloniality in Anu Productions’ Laundry

This paper will examine Anu Productions’ immersive performance with specific reference to their 2011 award-winning Laundry, directed by Louise Lowe. Laundry was set in the St Mary Magdelene Asylum in Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, closed down in my own living memory in 1996. Using theories of collective, post- and prosthetic memories, the paper will examine how the performance offered spectators traces of the material in their symbolic encounter with spaces, gestures, images and objects unhinged from a represented past and re-embodied in a memorialized present. It will argue that Anu Productions’ work in inner-city north Dublin challenges the forgetfulness of state social histories and postcolonial national consciousness, and instead invokes in its witness-spectators a will to remember.

Brian Singleton holds the Samuel Beckett Chair of Drama & Theatre at Trinity College Dublin, is Head of the School of Drama, Film & Music at TCD, and is Academic Director of The Lir – National Academy of Dramatic Art, also at TCD. He is former president of the International Federation for Theatre Research and former editor of Theatre Research International (Cambridge University Press). He is co-editor (with Janelle Reinelt) of the book series ‘Studies in International Performance’ published by Palgrave/Macmillan. His most recent monograph is entitled Masculinities and the Contemporary Irish Theatre (published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).


Wednesday 27th February 2013

Professor David Wiles, Royal Holloway University

Theatre and Time: In Search of a Methodology

In this paper I will run over some of the key ideas that I propose to develop in my ‘Theatre &’ volume. Ultimately I have in mind writing a history of theatrical time as a kind of sequel to my Short History of Western Performance Space (2007). My central proposition is that time only exists when it is measured and apprehended by the body. Until the arrival of the clock, rhythms of measurement were embedded in the body through the three biological rhythms of the pulse, gait and breath, and through circadian and seasonal rhythms incorporated in biological ‘clocks’. The arrival of the mechanical clock and its digital successors has in many different ways affected the relationship between spectator and performer, as also the relationship between self and body within the performer. I will attempt to sketch out some of the implications of this approach for understanding phenomena like timing and presence in performance. And I will consider how in this light we should understand the relationship between theatre and memory. The theories of Bergson which link time to consciousness offer a useful means of addressing the problematics of time, as will be demonstrated in a short piece of performance. I shall be particularly appreciative of feedback received at this early point in developing the overall project.

David Wiles is Professor of Theatre at Royal Holloway University of London. He has published extensively on Greek and Elizabethan theatre, and has long-standing interests in questions of mask and theatrical space. His most recent monograph was devoted to “Theatre and Citizenship”, and he was lead editor of the Cambridge Companion to Theatre History published at the beginning of 2013. He is currently working on questions of ‘authentic’ historical acting in relation to the Baroque theatre of Drottningholm, and has been commissioned to write a volume on Time in the ‘Theatre &’ series. He will be assisted in his presentation by Nik Wakefield who is undertaking a practice based Ph.D. on theatre and time, focusing on the theories of Bergson.


Wednesday 13th March 2013

Kira O’Reilly, AHRC Creative Fellow, Queen Mary University

Touché/Techné, Untitled Techné No 2 (we keep our biologies intimate)

The eggy yolk stares back, unblinking, with transparent tendrils of sap like oxygenated blood syncopating a duh/duh double beat.
Synching my eyes and my fingers, I tap, I beat, I count, I rhyme.

Duh/duh, duh/duh, duh/duh.

My fingers move in and out of what I’m seeing.



Index and middle digits of the left hand.

Tap/tap, tap/tap, tap/tap.

I want to say that it’s iambic, those feet, but my memory is doubting, I’m trying to recall, in my body and mind, memory sensing, muscle sensations, trochaic, I think.

I keep falling in and out of synch, in and out of syncope, sympathy.

Duh/duh, duh/duh, duh/duh.

A boxing work out.

Kind of.

Jab/cross, jab/cross, jab/cross.


This reading is of tangles, of chickens and eggs and small killings.

It will present a series of investigations of artworks with chicken embryos reflecting on a gradual development of perspectives and possibilities.

Kira O’Reilly is a UK based artist; her practice, both wilfully interdisciplinary and entirely undisciplined, stems from a visual art background; it employs performance, biotechnical practices, photography and writing with which to consider speculative reconfigurations around The Body. Since graduating from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff in 1998 her work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe, Australia, China and Mexico. She has presented at conferences and symposia on both live art and science, art and technology interfaces. She is currently an AHRC funded creative fellows at Department of Drama, Queen Mary University of London.


Wednesday 27th March 2013

Dr Juliet Rufford, Queen Mary University

Space Acts: Architecture, Mimesis and Performative Critique

My current research is focused on inter-disciplinary exchanges between theatre and architecture. In it, I investigate how theatrical techniques and methodologies might change how we understand and practice architecture and, conversely, how architecture – as both metaphor and practice – might transform how we think and do theatre. I claim that theatre and architecture are caught up in an interrogative aesthetics, one that uses the ruptures between them as much as their points of convergence to explore their signature dilemmas, the affordances and limitations of each. In this paper, I pursue questions about the politics of architectural space in relation to themes of representation and the real. Weighing modern and contemporary understandings of Aristotle on mimesis against the Platonic/Heideggerian categorisation of architecture as non-mimetic – a thing rather than a sign – I ask: what is gained (and what is risked) by arguing for the representational in architecture? To what ends have architects employed mimesis in built projects? And, where might the concept of theatricality figure in debates about all this? What I am hoping to establish is that principles associated with theatre and performance offer architecture the means to reinvent itself, through its ‘space acts,’ as a resistant practice, a practice that intersects the art of construction with the projection and protection of the ethical, shifting attention from what architecture is to what it does and what it might enable.

Juliet Rufford is a lecturer in drama, theatre and performance at Queen Mary College, University of London. Her research is centrally concerned with how the theories and practices of theatre/performance can be used to explore and question architecture (and vice versa), producing new modes of knowledge. An artist contributor to the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (2011) and to the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012), she has written articles for Contemporary Theatre Review, Journal of Architectural Education and New Theatre Quarterly and is currently working towards completion of Theatre & Architecture (Palgrave Macmillan).


Wednesday 1st May 2013

Dr Silvija Jestrovic, University of Warwick

The knife is real, the blood is real, the emotion is real. Repeat it. Record it

I start from two points about performance art. One is by theorist Peggy Phelan for whom the ontology of performance art is “defined by its ephemeral nature” as “a representation without reproduction” and “as a means of resisting the reproductive ideology of visible representations.”(Unmarked 31) For Phelan, “artists who have dedicated themselves to performance continually disappear and leave “not a rack behind.” (31) The other point about performance art comes from performance artist Marina Abramovic:
Theatre is fake: there is a black box, you pay for a ticket, you sit in the dark and you see somebody playing somebody else’s life. The knife is not real, the blood is not real, and the emotions are not real. Performance is just the opposite: the knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real.
I choose these two takes on performance art because they are both alluring and thought-provoking, yet neither is actually entirely true. Focusing on versions of Abramovic’s “The Lips of Thomas” and on “Artist is Present,” I ask: what happens to the ephemeral and to the real in performance art when it is re-performed, recorded, written about? Doesn’t re-performance, a format lately much used by Abramovic, involve a certain degree of theatricality—an artifice engrained in the process of repetition—even when real blood is spilled again? How can these re-performances, and even their parodic reiterations, work as epistemological tools and as a means of rethinking the authenticity of performance?

Dr Silvija Jestrovic is Associate Professor in the School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy at the University of Warwick (UK) and a playwright. Her books include Theatre of Estrangement: Theory, Practice, Ideology (University of Toronto Press 2006), Performance, Exile, ‘America’ co-edited with Yana Meerzon (Palgrave Mcmillan 2009). Her new monograph Performance, Space, Utopia: Cities of War, Cities of Exile was published by Palgrave in 2012.

Wednesday 15th May 2013

Dr Fintan Walsh, Birkbeck University

Iris Robinson, Sodomy and Reparation

On June 6, 2008, Iris Robinson – then Democratic Unionist Party Member of Parliament, and Member of Legislative Assembly for Strangford – responded to the homophobic assault of a local man on BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan Show. She claimed she believed homosexuality was an ‘abomination,’ and that it made her feel ‘sick’ and ‘nauseous.’ She offered to refer homosexuals to a psychiatrist she knew who was practising a form of reparative therapy gaining popularity at the time. Shortly after making the assertion, the politician addressed a Commons debate on sex offenders, conflating homosexuality with child abuse. While the DUP’s condemnatory stance on homosexuality has always been public since the party was founded in 1971 by Ian Paisley, on this occasion heated debates, public protest, political and artistic responses followed. Focusing on a variety of performance contexts, this paper examines some of these events and their consequences. In particular, I explore Robinson as a camp figure who both perpetuated and exposed the logic she peddled, while ultimately becoming its victim.

Dr Fintan Walsh is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at Birkbeck, University of London, where current research projects are concerned with Irish theatre and cultural performance and performance and affirmation. Most recent publications include Theatre & Therapy (Palgrave, 2013) and the co-editedPerformance, Identity and the Neo-Political Subject (Routledge, 2013). Fintan is author of Male Trouble: Masculinity and the Performance of Crisis (Palgrave, 2010), editor of Queer Notions: New Plays and Performances from Ireland (Cork University Press, 2010), co-editor of Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture (Palgrave, 2009), and editor of a special issue of the journal Performing Ethos on the subject of ‘Queer Publics’ (2.2, 2012). He is co-convenor of IFTR’s Queer Futures working group.


Thursday 16th and Friday 17th May 2013

Performance & Mystical Experience

A research event organised by TaPRA Theatre, Performance and Philosophy Group in cooperation with QUORUM.

Keynote speakers were Professor Alan Read,  King’s College London, and Professor Patrick ffrench, King’s College London.

In a two-day conference event exploring the performative intersections between politics and the discourse of theology, Performance & Mystical Experience seeks to untangle the various aspects of mystical experience in relation to performance and aims to disclose the precariousness of religious and mystical experience in a world governed by instrumentality, totality and immanence. Convened by Eve Katsouraki (University of East London) and Tony Fisher (RCSSD, London University) in cooperation with Quorum (QMUL), the event will confront the philosophical problem of ‘immanence’ and ‘transcendence’ in relation to theatre and performance’s interrogation of different political structures as well as their impact on the performance of the politics of the everyday.

Conference Keynotes by Prof Patrick Ffrench (King’s College London): On (Not) Having One’s Feet on the Ground and by Prof Alan Read (King’s College London): Weak Ecstasy: Epileptic Encounters in Essex, with a range of panels from Theatre, Mysticism & Political Activism; Theatrical Encounters of the Mystical; Transcendence and Materiality; Biopolitics & Mystical Experience; Space, Materiality and Political Theology; to Performing the Mystical. Conference speakers include Chris Megson, Kéline Gotman, Fred Dalmasso, Giuliano Campo, Gabriella Calchi – Novati, Amanda Stuart Fisher, Joshua Edelman, Charlotte Bell, Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen, Aaron Ellis, Dan Ruppel, Catherine Tomas, Anna Kawalec, Jonathan Boddam-Whetham, Irum Fazal, Seferin James, Evi Stamatiou, Paola Crespi.

Wednesday 29th May 2013

Dave Beech, Chelsea College of Art

Spreading The Cost Disease: Handicraft and Art’s Economic Exceptionalism

I will be developing the ideas of Baumol and Bowen, whose 1966 book ‘Performing Arts: The Economic Dilemma’ introduced the idea of the ‘cost disease’. This argument has been expanded recently by Baumol in his book on the cost disease of health and education. I will be asking whether the cost disease is an example of art’s ‘economic exceptionalism’.

Dave Beech is an artist in the collective Freee. The group exhibited at the Liverpool Biennial in 2010 and has been selected for the Istanbul Biennial in 2013, as well as exhibiting at BAK as part of the Former West project, Vittoria, Smart Project Space and Culturegest. He co-curated the exhibition ‘We Are Grammar’ at Pratt Institute, NY and edited the book ‘Beauty’ for Whitechapel/MIT. He teaches at Chelsea College of Art and is currently writing a book on art and economics for the Historical Materialism Book Series.