Bringing Theatre Home: an investigation into the socio-spatial implications of performance practices in domestic settings
Royal Holloway, University of London
Year of enrolment: 2019
This innovative and timely project uses theatre practice and cultural geography to examine the socio-spatial implications of performance work delivered in domestic settings. In the 2016 AHRC report on 'Understanding the Arts and Cultural Value', Crossick and Kaszynska write that ‘the home is where most engagement with cultural activities takes place and yet it is virtually ignored in discussions about their impact’. This interdisciplinary project between Geography and Performance Studies responds to such contentions, seeking to re-frame the home as a place of significant creative and cultural activity.
Utilising archival research the first phase of this study offers a geohistorical analysis of the practice of home performance in the UK, exploring the ways in which the physical architecture and geographies of home are challenged by performances within it. Uniquely, the second phase of this research tests a set of theoretical observations against practical theatre making in a domestic space by employing two established family models for home performance developed by The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home and Footprints Theatre Trust in my own home.
The third phase addresses how the complex territory of home might be navigated by artists and venues stepping beyond public art spaces to develop work in domestic settings. Working with the Nottingham Playhouse and Coventry University alongside Edgewick Primary School and charities Home Start and Carriers of Hope, this research explores how two international models for home theatre including the Chicago Home Theater Festival and Internacional de Cenas em Casa might be utilised to reach and engage people that, for socio-economic reasons, are unable to attend performances in theatre settings. The study aims to draw upon the networks and support made possible by the recent designation of Coventry as UK City of Culture and Nottingham as a UNESCO City of Literature.