Theatre, Science and Architecture: What do these fields have to do with dramaturgy?

Firstly, we might want to ask a question about what dramaturgy is? Dramaturgy is a term that describes the active processes of theatre in relation to historical, cultural and aesthetic contexts. It describes the means and forms of theatrical expression, the dramatic structure of a play-text and/or performance, and considers how a play is staged and received by an audience. In recent times dramaturgy has been an increasingly important focus of scholarship in theatre and performance studies internationally.

For Professor Bleeker, who is Chair of the Theatre Studies Department at the University of Utrecht, dramaturgy is a way of looking not only at performing arts but also visual arts, architecture and even the philosophy of science. Her work on visuality and perception in dramaturgy is a way of thinking about how our ways of seeing and experiencing the world are organised. As she argues in her highly regarded study Visuality in the Theatre: The Locus of Looking (2008), visuality, consciousness and presence in performance can experience dramatic transformations as a result of the use of new media technologies and the increasing influence of scientific disciplines and their applications in the creative arts. Dramaturgy is posited as a uniquely enduring aesthetic domain that spans our understanding of visual arts and performance, and the sciences and philosophy. Her work theorises our perceptive faculties and ability to perceive and interpret artistic experiences as a dramaturgical consciousness.

In her visit to the University of Melbourne Professor Bleeker will give particular attention to the medium of contemporary dance as a field that unifies key concerns of her work including bodies in motion and bio-mechanical sciences, visuality and design and performance studies. Professor Bleeker has been invited to the University by Associate Professor Peter Eckersall, PhD candidate Anny Mokotow and the School of Culture and Communication. Professor Bleeker will work with PhD and dance studies students across the university. Ms Mokotow whose PhD is on dance dramaturgy has organised workshops with Dr Alyson Campbell and Ms Helen Herbertson at the VCA. Ms Anouk Van Dijk, the artistic director of Chunky Move will host Professor Bleeker in a workshop seminar for the dance community in Melbourne.

A major focus of Professor Bleeker’s visit will be her free public lecture: ‘Theatre’s New Dramaturgy: the Anatomy of the Mind and Making Art’ to be held on Thursday 15th August, 6-8 pm on the Elizabeth Murdoch Building.

Professor Bleeker’s visit is supported by the Macgeorge bequest.

For further information about her visit please contact: Peter Eckersall eckersal@unimelb.edu.au, Anny Mokotow amokotow@unimelb.edu.au.

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