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Undoubtedly one of the most prominent and most important Russian directors of the past two decades, Yury Butusov here refers to several landmarks of his artistic trajectory, gradually revealing a sense of oeuvre, of a body of work connected by a distinctive worldview. Not all of his productions of exceptional significance are cited here, and Flight (2015), at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow, not having found its rightful place here, appears separately at the end. This Conversation, while intentionally taking a wide perspective, nevertheless focuses on production details so as to foreground various artistic qualities that distinguish his approach. Butusov discusses at some length what constitutes his directorial method and methodology, stressing, above all, the primacy of creative freedom for his actors and himself from which emerge complex and highly charged theatre constructions. Butusov, who is against war as such, speaks of his position on the Russian-Ukrainian war, which led to his resignation in 2018 from the artistic directorship of the Lensoviet Theatre in St Petersburg. He became Principal Director of the Vakhtangov, alongside the acclaimed Rimas Tuminas, Artistic Director of this theatre. Tuminas resigned from his post in spring 2022. Butusov and his family left Russia for Paris, and Butusov resigned from the Vakhtangov in November 2022. His production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is to be premiered at the Russian- and Lithuanian-speaking Vilnius Old Theatre in September 2023. This conversation took place on 23 March and 27 April 2023 on Zoom, and was translated from the Russian and edited by Maria Shevtsova.
If all national identity is performative, the Northern Irish national identity offers a particularly pronounced model of this performative instability. Such precarity was emphasized when the 2016 UK EU ‘Brexit’ referendum raised contentious questions over Northern Irish citizenship. This article explores how two recent Northern Irish performance pieces, David Ireland’s Cyprus Avenue (2016) and Clare Dwyer Hogg’s Hard Border (2018), probe the unsettled plurality of Northern Irish national identity through the casting of actor Stephen Rea in their respective central roles. Rea’s own personal and professional history, as a figure inflected in the public mind with an extreme range of potential ‘Northern Irish identities’, encapsulates the shifting boundaries of an unstable, performative spectrum of ethno-national selfhood. This article explores how the lingering memories of Rea’s on- and offstage past offer a fittingly multilayered, even contradictory, representation of contemporary Northern Irish identity.
This article examines the solo work Lovers (1994) by Teiji Furuhashi, a prominent member of the influential Dumb Type group in Japan’s theatre and dance scene from the 1980s onwards. Lovers was Furuhashi’s only solo work; he died shortly after its installation at a Tokyo art centre in 1994. The essay examines the work in the context of themes of mobility, migration, and shifting corporealities in Japan across the post-war decades, especially through the key event for art and technology of those decades, which was the Osaka World Exposition of 1970. Lovers was commissioned by the arts laboratory of a Japanese technology corporation, Canon Inc., and incorporated what at the time were innovations in moving-image elements within theatre and dance. But those technologies rapidly became obsolete, and the essay explores the dilemmas about the digital experienced by the curators of the New York Museum of Modern Art in ‘upgrading’ Lovers to show it in their galleries in 2016–17.
The unprecedented suspension of cultural events across Europe in March 2020 had a profound impact on the performing arts. Alongside the proliferation of digital and hybrid modes of theatre-making, the Covid-19 pandemic has also precipitated a substantive shift in how theatres operate at both institutional and organizational levels in an attempt to respond to the volatile economic impact of the pandemic on the culture sector. This has provided a decisive moment for the reinterpretation of the theatre landscape, raising fundamental questions relating to institutional transformation that challenge precarious working models and entrenched hierarchical divides. Drawing on wider transnational research as part of the ‘Theatre after Covid’ project, this article examines the institutional effects of the pandemic on theatre and performance in the United Kingdom and the German-speaking countries. It details the findings of a wide-ranging survey conducted in 2022 with theatre workers and organizations that address how the industry is adapting and transforming in response to the crisis. Using this new data as a starting point, it analyzes how new forms of artistic innovation have emerged during Covid-19. By focusing on these institutional and aesthetic developments, the article argues that the pandemic has produced a paradigm shift that has crucially reinscribed how theatre is created, programmed, and understood.
‘Decolonization’ has superseded ‘postcolonial’ as the most compelling catchword of the present moment. Broadly speaking, the term possesses two parallel genealogies: African decolonization and Latin American decoloniality. But where are Asian territories such as India and Hong Kong, and, more specifically, fields such as theatre history, located in the debate? This article analyzes the stakes and struggles, inner contradictions and blind spots, involved in decolonizing or decentring the curriculum. It asks whether the decolonial temporalities of our time constitute an adequate lens to theorize theatre history by firstly examining the term’s misuse by popular historians, media, and government; and, second, by interrogating a spectrum of positions on ‘Indian Theatre’ from the nineteenth century onwards. Through this double focus, the article probes the scholarly possibilities for undoing the dominant mode when the ‘decolonization trope itself becomes a tool for colonization’.
The account here is in the spirit of the short pieces that periodically used to appear under the rubric ‘Reports and Announcements’ at the back of New Theatre Quarterly. Its purpose is to invite the journal’s readers from all over the world – and they are truly from across our whole planet – to be aware of the very existence of a major theatre event of socio-historical and artistic significance to our shared field of interest; and to give them some insight into the evolution of this event in its interface with political and social change, which, in the current times, have become increasingly brutal. The theatre field is vast, as vast and varied as the approaches and perspectives within it, the positions long held, shifting, or newly taken, and the stakes at play, differently for different people in different political, social, and cultural contexts. The Theatre Olympics, established in 1995, seek to pay tribute to, and activate interaction between, the multifarious humanity that makes theatre and is embodied in it.