School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies
TH220 European Street Arts
Module Convenor: Dr Susan Haedicke (email@example.com)
“The city itself is a form of literature in which streets are the lines of a book that can never be completed.” (Peter Ackroyd in the Catalog for the Richard Wentworth/Eugène Atget; Faux Amis exhibition at the Photographers Gallery)
Tutor: Dr. Susan Haedicke
Class location: Millburn Studio
Class times: Monday, 2-7pm
Office Hours: Monday, 12-1:30pm
Street theatre moves theatrical performance outside the predefined spaces of conventional theatre and establishes an artistic and social intervention into the actual life of the city. This practice-based module introduces students to the public art of European street theatre from two perspectives: the historian/scholar and the practitioner. As historians/scholars, we will investigate the experiments of many professional street theatre companies with performance forms, provocative content on social issues and taboos, audience spectatorship and participation, and the use of public space. We will also look at how their productions use performance to interrogate many of the questions about the public sphere, spectacle, radical democracy, and public art raised by theorists. As practitioners, we will play with various street theatre forms in student-generated projects. The practical work means that we will work in the studio, but also in non-traditional spaces—sometimes inside, sometimes outside. You should always be ready to do exercises and improvisations and to walk around outside! To say that in other words, we will have a dress code for this class:
- For work in the studio, come in neutral clothing that you can move in easily—loose fitting trousers, jazz shoes or sneakers, loose shirt. Please, no dangling jewelry, scarves, hats, or other “stylish” items. Come dressed like this everyday (although there may be days that we will not move around).
- For work outside, be ready for rain, cold weather, and sun (boots or other rain shoes, waterproof jacket, sweater or fleece, sunglasses, etc). I should be able to let you know when we are working outside, so you will not have to bring this gear every week.
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- devise original street theatre pieces from conception to public performance using the practical skills of dramaturgical research, initiation and development of an original performance project, creative writing, critical evaluation of a performance space, and actual performance
- demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the historical precedents and range of forms of contemporary European street theatre
- demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical, political, and social questions and issues that contextualize this experimental art form
- analyze and evaluate street theatre performances
- conduct research using printed and electronic sources and communicate the findings in oral and written forms
Possibility of visiting artists:
Depending on artists’ availability and budget, I will try to bring in two street theatre artists at some point in the year to work with you on the student-devised projects. I do not know who or when yet, so we will need to leave the schedule flexible.
(In each class period, we will spend some time discussing the readings and the videos and some time on practice. The readings and viewings must be completed by the day on which they are listed below. This schedule is subject to change.)
The articles and book chapters that are scanned are available at:
The other “course texts” are the visual documentation—photographs, videos, websites. In fact, some of the “reading” assignments are to watch videos and look at photographs!
There are certain websites that we will use often:
--and its archive section: http://www.rueetcirque.fr/
Circostrada network: http://www.circostrada.org
--and to access its documents in English:
Independent Street Arts Network (ISAN), www.streetartsnetwork.org.uk
Stradda Dossiers (articles from Stradda translated into English), www.stradda.fr