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A01 Participation and Dissociation: Frictions in 20th Century and Contemporary Political Theatre

This research project investigates participation and dissociation as dynamics that impact political theatre. It takes as its focus the tradition of activist theatre, which has recently gained steam under the banner of global protest movements and networking possibilities provided by the Internet. Performance forms standing in the tradition of the agitprop theatre of the 1920s and 1930s confront their audiences with models of collectivity that—although created in the “as-if” mode—are to be perceived by the spectators as real political interventions and subsequently ‘realized’ by them. The theatre brings its own distinctions into political conflicts and controversies when it intervenes politically: those, for example, between the actors and spectators, or between participants and bystanders. Is the promise of participation implicated by many activist theatre forms even sustainable under such conditions? This project will examine these questions across three periods of crisis: around 1930 (SP 1), around 1968 (SP 2), and in the present (SP 3). Do theatrical communities and performative processes of collectivization and connectivity ultimately generate real divides? Addressing these questions should lead to an understanding of the features of theatrical interventions as compared to other forms of intervention.

Head of Project

Prof. Dr. Matthias Warstat (SP 1)

Doctoral Researcher

Judith Pieper (SP 2)

Naomi Boyce (SP 3)

Student Assistant

Julia Schmit

Jannika Hinz (on leave)