Theatre and Performance Studies Seminar: Global Musical Theatre Industry as a Workplace & Ecophenomenological Performance
“Behind the Red Curtain: An Ethnographic Exploration of the Global Musical Theatre Industry as a Workplace”
This research project is an ethnographic exploration of the global musical theatre industry as a workplace. The exploration expressly considers the globally commodified world of commercial musical theatre, evidenced in the mode of work created in the leading markets, Broadway and the West End. The chief aim of this project is to reveal workplace culture and practice and consider possible benefits of inclusion of such knowledge in higher education musical theatre curricula. The primary outcome of this research is to offer curriculum recommendations to higher education musical theatre programmes. The intention of these recommendations is to equip students with skills and knowledge required for developing sustainable careers, particularly from a global perspective.
Melissa Fenton is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Sydney. Her research focus is the embedded workplace cultural knowledge of the musical theatre industry, and how knowledge of workplace culture can be leveraged in the development and improvement of musical theatre curricula. She also holds a Master of Creative Industries (Creative Production and Arts Management) and a Bachelor of Arts (Drama) from the Queensland University of Technology. She has spent most of her working life in non-profit education.
“What is Ecophenomenological Performance?”
This paper outlines the idea and practice of Ecophenomenological Performance. It briefly lays out some ideas and a pertinent history of ecophenomenology, and gives a brief description of an approach to a performance method based in a living application of key concepts. The aim is to explore potential change in basic relationships between humans and earth.
In a view of the human as subject/agent, the earth and everything on it appear as resources to be acted upon, used, for human purposes. This is leading to the seemingly inevitable devastation of the planet. In this context, it is necessary to address and redefine the meaning and place of the human and its relationships with everything.
Ecophenomenology is the study of the fundamental sensory and embodied relationships with the worlds in which we find ourselves (Wood 2001). Ecophenomenological Performance, as developed by the Environmental Performance Authority (Grant 2015, 2013). <epaperformance.org>, enacts and explores these relationships to provide audiences and participants renewed experiences of the worlds in which they live.
EPA performances engage audiences in perceptual disruptions of speeds, times, scales, weights, textures of movement, sensory hierarchies, habitual attentions and intentions. The practice provides an altered experience of customary modes of inhabitation, taken-for-granted meanings and purposes of places, objects, and flows of movement. Unnoticed corners are foregrounded; unlikely sensory-motor actions alter scales of perception, offering new possibilities in the relationships in which we are held.
The paper touches on how the practice enacts and furthers the philosophical investigation, in ways which provide concrete embodied experiences for participants, which can enable them to question, examine and redefine their most basic relationships with the things of the world.
- Grant, Stuart. 2013. “Performing an Aesthetics of Atmospheres.” Aesthetics 23 (1):12-32.
- Grant, Stuart. 2015. “Performing from Heidegger’s Turning.” Performing Ethos: International Journal of Ethics in Theatre & Performance 5 (1-2):37-51. doi: 10.1386/peet.5.1-2.37_1.
- Wood, David. 2001. “What is ecophenomenology?” Research in Phenomenology 31 (1):78-95.
Dr Stuart Grant is founding Co-director of the Environmental Performance Authority and a Core Convenor of the Performance Philosophy Network. He has published widely on Performance Phenomenology, Performance and Place, and relationships between performance and philosophy.