Performing Site-Specific Theatre

Tompkins, J. (ed.) (2012) ‘The ‘Place’ and Practice of site-Specific Theatre and Performance’, in Birch, A. (ed.) Performance Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Main Points;

  • Deconstruction of sites
  • It is not necessarily what you can see but what you cant see
  • Take information and reconfigure it

This chapter is used to introduce the concept of Site-Specific theatre. He explores the idea that site-specific theatre can be interpreted in many different ways and there are multiple blurred lines regarding it overall meaning. However he does inform the reader categorically that the practice involves communication between place, performer and participant.

Tompkins spends this introductory chapter to define various terms, firstly he looks at that definition of ‘place’ In order to do this he examines different contexts in which a ‘place’ can be examined. Firstly he looks at Geography stating that this allows us to recognise and acknowledge the physical changes of an area. He also then goes and looks at social and historical contexts of a ‘place’ because it cannot simply be defined by its physical being.

This introductory chapter observes the questions prevalent in performing site specific theatre by looking beyond the fundamental difficulties behind addressing a site into the different ways that a space can be interpreted.

Critical evaluation

This introductory chapter was very intriguing and got me thinking about the creation of a project in Hackney. The main point that I have taken away is that it is important to be aware of my surroundings and allow them to influence my project without dictating its content.


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