Technology & Performer Training (Online)

18-05-2020 at 2pm to 4pm

Location: Online (Blackboard Connect)

Audience: Public

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14:00 - 14:10      Welcome

14:10 - 14:30 Session 1: InstaStan - FaceBrook - Brecht+: A performer training methodology for the Age of the Internet

Dr Sarah Crews and Dr Christina Papagiannouli (USW)

14:30 - 15:15 Session 2: Preparing Our Selves: Performer Training and Technology

Guest speaker:  Dr Maria Kapsali (University of Leeds)

15:30 - 16:00 Panel and Q&A: Technology & Performer Training

Chair: Denis Cryer-Lennon (USW)

Session 1: InstaStan – FaceBrook – Brecht+: A Performer Training Methodology for the Age of the Internet

Sarah Crews & Christina Papagiannouli, University of South Wales

What do we do with a cohort of student-performers who show more interest in Instagram than in Konstantin Stanislavski, in Facebook than in Peter Brook and in Google than in Bertolt Brecht? This presentation will draw on our co-authored article ‘InstaStan – FaceBrook – Brecht+: a performer training methodology for the age of the internet’ (2019,10:2) published by Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal. Based on our experience of working with second-year BA (Hons) Performance and Media students at the University of South Wales, this article aims to provide a performance training methodology for the age of the internet. In particular, it focuses on our approach to creating a laboratory-style training experience, engaging student-performers in critical-creative processes as both participants and facilitators of creative practice. The article argues that this exploratory and experimental journey of using social media and online platforms in live performance allows student-performers to make strong connections between everyday digital tools and theatre and performance methods and techniques.

Dr Sarah Crews is a senior lecturer in performance and media at the University of South Wales, where she leads the BA (Hons) Performance and Media degree and teaches new media performance, performer training for stage and screen and critical and cultural theory. She is co-convener of TaPRA’s Bodies and Performance working group.

Dr Christina Papagiannouli is Research Fellow in Performance and Interactive & Immersive Technology at the University of South Wales, where she also lectures performance and new media. She is co-convener of TaPRA’s Performance and New Technologies working group.

Session 2: Preparing Our Selves: Performer Training and Technology 

Guest Speaker: Dr Maria Kapsali University of Leeds

This presentation will explore the possibility of the field of performer training to serve as a productive space for negotiating, rehearsing and re-thinking relationships to technology and technological artefacts. The presentation aims to respond to the extensive technologisation of contemporary lifeworld in the global North, and the concomitant concerns expressed by scholars (Berry 2014; Crary 2013; Stiegler 2013), as well as the increasing use of digital technologies in performance making and performer training (Allain et al 2019). Instead of approaching performer training as a virgin territory about to be colonised by the invasion of digital artefacts, this presentation will argue, with reference to a host of historical and contemporary examples, that performer training is inherently technological. This idea will be advanced by examining the foundational assumption underpinning performer training practice: that its aim is to enable the development of an expressive ‘instrument’. As such, performer training practice, knowledge and history can offer unique insights into the ways human subjects engage with and make tools, as well as the way in which processes of instrumentalisation are accepted, contested, and reconfigured within specific historical moments. Considering the urgency, dictated by current political and environmental crises, to reconsider our relationship to the environment and technology, it will be argued that performer training can offer a form of embodied praxis that may allow us to understand the way technology becomes constituted through embodied interactions with human and non-human others and accordingly to think/imagine/rehearse alternative attitudes.

Dr Maria Kapsali is a Lecturer in Physical Performance in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds.  She is the co-editor, with Dr Rebecca Loukes, of the  Perspectives on Performer Training series (Routledge), and, with Prof Frank Camilleri, of the special issue of Performance Research Journal ‘On Hybridity’ (October 2020). Her presentation will draw on her forthcoming monograph Preparing Our Selves: Performer Training and Technology (Routledge 2020).