Doing the Ecological Through Performance

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This article discusses the ecological potentials of live theatrical performance. I focus on the possibilities for performance to do and enact the ecological, rather than (only) represent or be about ecology. My proposal is that the theatrical medium itself – the
dynamics of the performance form – is where the ecological potential of theatre most generatively lies. Through critically reflecting on aspects of the final performance from my practice-led performance project Wild Life, which involved collaborating with professional and nonprofessional child and adult performers to co-devise a dance performance that explored ‘wildness’, I discuss two key methods for doing ecology through performance: firstly, producing unpredictability and exposing human-nonhuman entanglement; and, secondly, devising homological relations between sections of the performance which structurally connect intra-human and nonhuman-nonhuman performances. This article responds to, and builds on, the timely discussion begun by scholar Carl Lavery and others about ‘what theatre and performance might be able to do ecologically’. Bringing together my perspective as a practitioner-researcher, spectator and critic responses to the final Wild Life performance, ideas from the performance and ecology field, and theoretical concepts from wider ecological thinking, this article presents a unique discussion about
ecological performance practice.


Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalStudies in Theatre and Performance
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 2020