Theatre Materials: What is theatre made of?

Theatre Materials: What is theatre made of?

Eleanor Margolies, editor
published by Centre for Excellence in Training for Theatre/Central School of Speech and Drama (CETT)
ISBN: 978-0-9539501-5-7

Artists, engineers and architects look at the raw materials of theatre in Theatre Materials: What is theatre made of?. An illustrated collection of essays, edited by Eleanor Margolies, it delves into the matter of performance, from portable theatres to street arts, the physics of materials to low-energy lighting, mirror neurons to acrobatics.

Eleanor Margolies writes ‘Theatre artists are experts in materials: the costume maker records how different textiles respond to dyes, the prop maker seeks out compounds and techniques developed for boat-building and aeronautics, the director and actor study the body. But these forms of knowledge, which combine tactile experience with thought and imagination, are too rarely articulated outside the workshop’.

Contributions include:

  • reflections on ‘six real things’ by celebrated American director Anne Bogart;
  • theatre critic Robert Butler trying not to sink into a muddy swamp;
  • scenographer Pamela Howard auditioning fur and lace for an opera set in 1950s New York;
  • cartoonist Tim Hunkin taking off his kid gloves;
  • Zoe Laughlin, curator of the Materials Library, smashing roses and blasting memory alloys back into shape;
  • puppeteer Sean Myatt rambling around a landscape of performing objects;
  • professor of theatre Alan Read on anthrax, cement and the lure of material facts.
The book is a record and continuation of the The Theatre Materials/Material Theatres conference at CETT.
Other contributors are:

  • Rene Baker (puppeteer and lecturer at the Institut del Teatre, Barcelona)
  • Anne Bogart (Artistic Director, SITI Company, New York)
  • Jane Heather (illustrator and theatre designer)
  • Joanna Parker (scenographer, Central School of Speech and Drama)
  • Paul Rae (performer and lecturer, National University of Singapore)
  • Bob Sheil (architect, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)
  • Ben Todd (Executive Director, the Arcola Theatre).
For more information, contact Gail Hunt at CETT:
cett@cssd.ac.uk
t: 020 7449 1571

See Eleanor Margolies articles here on the Directory on puppets and animals onstage and on the first feast.
Robert Butler blogs here.

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