London – February 2015

Dramaturgy at work – on the creation of actions

Thursday 26th – Friday 27th February 2015

Hosted and organised by the Dance Department of the University of Roehampton

This 2-day workshop was addressed to the MFA Choreography, MRes Choreography & Performance, and practice-as-research PhD students of Roehampton Dance. Departing from the etymology of the term (deriving from the Greek drama = action + ergon =work), dramaturgy here was introduced as a process of ‘working on actions’ and was conceived both as a significant working process that is immanent in the creation of contemporary performance, and as a critical practice that is able to interrogate and reinvent the social. In this sense, the interest was in ‘drama-turgy’ as a shared working practice amongst collaborators that focuses on the creation of actions in the making process and in performance.

At the same time, special attention was given to the relation between these actions to their social and political context. For example, what might it mean to be working on actions; how does one act; what are the boundaries or crossovers between art and activism; how is dramaturgy to be thought of in the context of artivism?

Departing from their own artistic projects and through a series of task-based creation models, readings and discussions, participants addressed the questions above and explored, in theory and practice, possible understandings of what it means ‘to act’, to create an ‘action’ or ‘act’ in performance. We therefore delved deeper into the relation of dramaturgy and artistic creation to the social and the political, but also to notions such as ‘activism’ or the more recently suggested term ‘artivism’.