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Performing Futures: Toward a 'Future Theatre'

Koellner, Dana (2018) Performing Futures: Toward a 'Future Theatre'. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The contribution of this thesis lies in the exploration, combination and creation of new methods of imagining positive futures through performance. It initiates a field of study within contemporary performance practice that builds upon the work of other artists and contributes developmental insights and new methods into imagining futures within performance contexts. The research is conducted through multi-modal methods. It begins with an autoethnographic study of Live-Action-Role-Play (LARP) examining how ‘other worlds’ are created in real time. This is followed by a survey of prominent artist practitioners whose work can be considered performances of or about the future, which then informs a series of eight Practice-As-Research (PAR) based case studies. The case studies combine and test various approaches to imagining the future, which are inspired by LARP and the artist practitioners. The thesis concludes with a proposal for a range of practices and suggested solutions to some of the issues that arose while imagining the future within the workshops and performances of the case studies. The issues concerned predispositions toward dystopias, perceptions of human greed that discouraged imagining future possibilities, representations of the performer as a political agent and challenging contemporary theatre perceptions. Solutions came in the form of open and invitational language, disclaimers for role playing, discursive open scenarios where the dialogue (and performance) was guided by and co-created by the participants, and the facilitator’s ability to provide counterarguments to dystopian inclinations. The main advantage of the approaches, methods and suggested solutions resulting from the study is the beginning of a flexible form of ‘Future Theatre’ practice that can be applied within different situations and contexts as needed and appropriate to different perspective positions. This flexible approach encourages finding agreement amongst individuals and potentially disparate groups by examining their ideas and desires about the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Future, Live-Action-Role-Play LARP, Futures, utopian, contemporary performance, experiential futures, imagined speculation, improvised speculation
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dana Koellner
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2019 08:08
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2019 08:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23553

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