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Located Stories: Theatre Makes Place with the Body

Campbell, Angela Louise (2008) Located Stories: Theatre Makes Place with the Body. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The journey into theatre-made places offered here is both analytical and creative. It is comprised of case studies analysing three theatre productions that occurred in Perth between 2004 and 2006 and two of my own creative works, forming the Prologue and Conclusion to the thesis. Throughout, I am informed by Edward Casey’s philosophy of place as I work to develop both a poetics and a dramaturgy of place in theatre. I draw upon of a range of thinkers in order to interrogate the limits of theatrical representation and to suggest that an active engagement in the process of place-making in theatre offers a touchstone and paradigm that can release both thought and the body from totalizing and foreclosing cultural imperatives. This dramaturgical and poetical journey into place works, I hope, toward creating an open and dynamic field from which to experience the ‘here and now’ of being in place in theatre, and in the world. I argue that the notion of place as embodied meaning frames the body and the mind in contexts that are personal, emotional, historical, ethical, and political; that to be in place, to be aware that one’s body is a particular place, suggests that the body and mind are listening to each other. This conscious connection, I believe, offers a radical challenge to the bifurcation of body and mind that runs as a consistent theme throughout the history of Western thought. More particularly, I aim to demonstrate that a voyage into place, in theatre, conveys the body and mind together in ways that allow us to “resume the direction, and regain the depth, of our individual and collective life once again – and know it for the first time” (Casey, 1993: 314).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): Grehan, Helena
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