Please note that this is a provisional schedule and there may be some minor changes.

We will not be providing a paper copy of the programme on arrival. You can download a PDF version of the programme here and print your own copy if required.

Here is the link to the VIRTUAL CONFERENCE GALLERY. Please note, access to the Virtual Conference Gallery will be available until Sunday 11/12/2022 only.

Location: UoA Epsom Campus


8:15am – 8:30am   | First Shuttle Bus – Auckland CBD to Epsom Campus 
                                     Departs from 2 Symonds Street, Auckland CBD


8:30am – 9:15am   | Arrivals, Registrations, Tea & coffee


9:15am – 9:30am   | Mihi Whakatau / Welcome


9:30am – 11:00am | First Panel 

Far and away: Workload, (self) expectations and remote candidature
Matt Tyne, Abbie Trott, Beanie Ridler, Hannah Banks


11:00am – 11:30am | Morning tea


11:30am – 1:00pm   | Second Panel 

Getting through it: Neurodiversity, mental health and the HDR experience
Stephen Carleton, Dr Kathryn Kelly, Shinjita Roy, University of Melbourne, Romy Hume


1:00pm – 2:00pm | Lunch


2:00pm – 3:30pm | Third Panel 

What’s next? Endings, beginnings and staying connected
Sean Mulcahy, Sarah Thomasson, Liza-Mare Syron, Chris Hay


3:20pm – 3:40pm | Second Shuttle Bus – Auckland CBD to Epsom Campus
                                   Departs from 12 Grafton Road, Auckland CBD


4:00pm – 5:30pm | Pōwhiri / Conference Welcome Ceremony
                                   Light refreshments will be provided


5:40pm – 6:00pm | Return Shuttle Bus – Epsom Campus to Auckland CBD
                                   Arrive at 12 Grafton Road, Auckland CBD


5:40pm – late        | Informal catch-up time
For those wanting to gather informally for further catch-up time, we suggest the following venues, which serve both food and alcohol:

  • Mt Eden: De Post Belgian Beer Cafe, 466 Mt Eden Road; The Garden Shed, 470 Mt Eden Road; Wu and You, 399 Mt Eden Road
  • City Centre: Citizen Q, 305 Queen Street; Elliott Stables, 39-41 Elliott Street; Mezze Bar, Durham Street East

Location: UoA City Campus


NB: Ongoing conference installation Weds-Fri

Unfolding ecologies of RE: How far can we connect? Janaina Moraes, Joanna Cook, Adam Ben-Dror.


8:00 – 9:00 am        | Body Stirring  @ Dance Studio 113-G10
Instructor: Felicity Molloy
60 minutes of somatic awakening into em-body, not just anybody. Yoga mats will be provided.


8:45 – 9:30am        | Arrivals & Registrations


9:30 – 11:00am      | Opening Conversation: Travelling Together @ Humanities 206-220

Facilitators: Tanea Heke, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Rea Dennis, Rand Hazou

A facilitated participatory conversation/s to open up the conference theme.


11:00 – 11:30am    | Morning tea


11:30am – 1:00pm | Concurrent panels 1


1.1 Performance and paper

Animal/God – The Great Square, Tony Yap


1.2 Paper panel

Chair: Chris Hay

Daniel Lammin. “Adaptation: travelling from classic text to rediscovered pleasure.”

Pierce Wilcox. “Learning to stage the novel: The reader as trainee director in postmodern theatre-fiction.”

Oliver Gough. “Travelling into the anthropocene with ecological absurdist theatre.”


1.3 Paper panel

Chair: Vanessa Byrnes

Harry Haynes. “Is it enough to be seen and heard? Leading actors in a post #metoo world.”

Sarah Courtis. “Do you hear the people sing: Travelling towards a more ethical industry.”

Sarah Austin and Isabella Vadiveloo. “Collaboration and consent: Teaching boundaries in creation methodologies to theatre undergraduate students at the Victorian College of the Arts.”


1.4 Paper panel

Chair: Molly Mullen

Sarah Peters. “Time together: Verbatim theatre and healthy ageing project.”

Rand Hazou. “Performing with the precariat: The Hobson Street Theatre Company.”

Beanie Ridler. “Conversation and co-ownership: Navigating writing theatre of the real together.”


1.5 Paper panel

Chair: Andrea Moor

Pauline Ward. “Fishing for Convincingness: Performance creatives’ practices for suspending emotional disbelief.”

Paula van Beek. “Meet me in the foyer: Expanded online performance as social ritual.”

Shane Pike, Kathryn Kelly, Jeremy Neideck. “The Philosophy of Travel: A kind of retrospective from three academics who attempted to lash their canoes together.”


1:00 – 2:00pm         | Lunch


1:30 – 1:55pm         | Lunchtime performance installation

Bodyography. Joanna Cook.


2:00 – 3:30pm         | Concurrent panels 2


2.1 Performance and paper

Chair: Hannah Banks

Kat Thomas. “Opening spaces for artists and academics to collide and collaborate: Exploring applied-theatre-as-research with those who know their stuff.”

Bree Hadley, Katie Ellis, Janice Rieger, Eddie Paterson. “Travelling together safely: cultural safety as a foundation for allyship in disability arts.”


2.2 Paper panel

Chair: Tsan-Huang Tsai

Jonathan W. Marshall. “Tony Ding Chai Yap: A case study of the syncretic nature of Australian Butoh & related forms which ‘travel together,’ in body and culture.”

Em Chandler. (Paper) “Strangeness and wonder: Magic, theatre, and enchantment.”

Rob Doran. “Fields-of-Being: The dramaturgy of Da-sein.”


2.3 Paper panel

Chair: Murray Edmond

David O’Donnell. “Travels in the avant garde: Re-assessing Alan Brunton’s scripts.”

Pedro Ilgenfritz. “The Journey of Jacques Lecoq’s theatre pedagogy to Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Sarah Thomasson and Oliver Knott. “Connecting communities: A history of the Auckland Festival of the Arts (1949-82).”


2.4 Paper panel

Chair: Stephen Carleton

Vanessa Byrnes. “Essential ‘SHARP’ skills: Defining creative abilities in a post-pandemic World.”

Zhaoxi Zheng. “Post-COVID theatres: Understanding young adults’ perspectives and experiences.”

James Wenley. “Performing through the pandemic: Shifting policies and destinations for Aotearoa’s theatre ecology between 2020-2022.”


2.5 Paper panel

Chair: Alys Longley

Rheannan Port and Carol Brown. “Body time for reckoning with space and place.”

Philipa Rothfield. “Collaboration beyond subjectivity, agents and actants in the field of dance.”

Amaara Raheem. (Lecture Performance) “The Red Shoes: Choreography and magic”


2.6 Curated panel

Susan Fenty Studham, Clint Bracknell, Kylie Bracknell, Kyle Morrison, Trevor Ryan (NB: Online panel via Zoom). “Brave Spaces: Transforming rehearsal sites for culturally centred performance making.”


3:30 – 4:00pm         | Tea Break


4:00 – 5:00pm         | Keynote Presentation

Chair: Nicola Hyland

Liza-Mare Syron. “Ngapa Yaan – Niibi Aanmitaagzi: Connection and exchange.”


5:30 – 6:45pm         | Discussion and sharing @ Strata Cafe, Level 4, Kate Edger Information Commons, University of Auckland, 9-11 Symonds Street, Auckland CBD

Storytime: how are we lashing the aspirations of Indigenous, First Nations and Mana Moana communities to tertiary performance programmes?

Drinks and light snacks provided.


7:15pm                     | New Zealand Delegates Dinner @ Citizen Q, 305 Queen Street, Auckland CBD

Please RSVP to James Wenley:

Location: UoA City Campus


8:30 – 9:00am        | Arrivals & Registrations


9:00 – 10:30am      | Concurrent panels 3

3.1 Paper panel

Chair: Denise Varney

Molly Mullen, Mark Harvey, Marie McEntee, Kat Thomas. “Being trees: A arts-based inquiry into ngahere ora – forest health.”

Tessa Rixon, Tanja Beer, Ian Garret. “Designing through climate change: Embedding an ecoscenographic framework into tertiary performance pedagogy.”

Natalie Lazaroo, Tanja Beer, Linda Hassall, Julian Meyrick, Jacqui Somerville. “Travelling  together during a global environmental crisis: Reflections on the role that Australian theatre organisations can play in addressing climate change.”


3.2 Paper panel

Chair: Dorita Hannah

Emma Cox. “Interceptive Navigation: Aestheticised Rescue in the EU Migrant Panopticon.”

Paul Rae. “Geoperformance: Performing Islands.”

Carl Walling. “A Performance without its Audience: Subantarctic Claiming Ceremonies on South Georgia Island.”


3.3 Paper panel

Chair: Gillian Arrighi

Tsan-Huang Tsai. “Performing a shared history: Chinese dragon and lion performances at the Bendigo Easter Fairs/Festivals.”

Anne Pender. “‘Asian comedian destroys America!’ Chinese Australian stand-up comedians and contemporary circuits of exchange.”

Jonathan Bollen. “Norma Shem and Herbert Young: Tuning in to young voices from Chinese Australia in the 1930s and 1940s.”


3.4 Paper panel

Chair: Sarah Austin

Hannah Banks. “Thirteen sleepless years: Directing Caryl Churchill’s Three More Sleepless Nights in 2009 and 2022”

Natalie Schiller. “And then domesticity stole my hips! An artistic research journey of con-fusing notions of hips and domesticity.”

Kathryn Henry. “Deliverance: Investigating the interactivity implications of a 240 hour- long social performance artwork.”


3.5 Workshop & Performance

Forest v Kapo, Alison Shirley, Christopher Wade. “Becoming Horizontal”.


10:00 – 10:30am      | Installation 

Dancing in/Dancing with the Digital. Becca Weber, Joanna Cook, Danielle Lottridge.


10:30 – 11:00am      | Morning tea


11:00am – 12:00pm | Keynote presentation

Chair: Tia Reihana

Rachael Swain. “10 snapshots from the family photo album — the making of Jurrungu Ngan-ga” Or “De-bordering Australia: performing, living and sharing solidarity in a time of ongoing occupation, border closure, incarceration, boycott and global pandemic.”


12:00 – 1:00pm        | Lunch


12:30 – 12:55pm      | Lunchtime performance/installation

Humattering. Alys Longley


1:00 – 2:30pm          | Concurrent panels 4


4.1 Workshop

Amy Hume, Alex Witham. “A billabong or puna ngahere of sound? Teaching Linklater voice in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.” (60 minutes)


4.2 Performances

  1. How then to act – A performance as research investigation into the potentials of expanding an actor’s agency. Ross Brannigan. (30 minutes)
  2. Audio Logical. Kate Hunter, Olivia Millard. (30 minutes).


4.3 Paper panel    

Chair: David O’Donnell

Nicola Hyland. “UnCooked meets: Performing [with our] back to History.”

Andrea Moor. “Embedding Indigenous perspectives within actor training: An account of inclusive play making.”

Tia Reihana. “Place-based articulations of the creative: A Kaupapa Māori storyline.”


4.4 Paper panel

Chair: Paul Rae

Grey-An Pascual. “́Moving bodies: queer, migrant, and transmedia performances in Eisa Jocson’s Happyland.”

Allen Baylosis. “Pagtawid at Pag(l)akbay: A dramaturgical reflection of Filipinxs doing a land-based Inquiry in the settler-colonial city of Victoria.”

Ian Ramirez. “Virtual drag shows: Gesturing towards a queer elsewhere”


4.5 Curated panel

Chair:Tessa Rixon

Denise Varney. “Future scenarios.”

Peta Tait FAHA.  “Environmental violence and rage in performance”

Lara Stevens. “‘There is no unicorn for us’: Performing climate denial”


4.6 Roundtable

Chair: Sarah Peters

Rand Hazou, Fran Kewene, Molly Mullen, Amber Walls, Sarah Woodland. “Future directions in evaluating participatory arts and wellbeing.”


2:30 – 4:00pm      | Concurrent panels 5


5.1 Workshop

Kim Sargeant-Wishart, Alys Longley. “Cycles of travelling, landing and mapping.”


5.2 Roundtable/performance

Natalie Schiller, Janaína Moraes, Joanna Cook, Kristian Larsen. . “This is the research: Arriving: visiting: interrupting.”


5.3 Paper panel

Chair: Tia Reihana

Chastity Samoa. “Theorising Wā-Vā as a Mana Moana methodology.”

Iatua Felagai Taito. “Storytelling and Fāgogo methodology.”

Sepelini Pati Mua’au. “E le mapeva se upu: An auto-ethnographic approach to decolonised theatre frameworks in Aotearoa.”


5.4 Curated panel

Chair: Glen McGillivray

Sue-Anne Wallace. “Falling into the theatre: The beginning of Walter Bentley’s theatrical career.”

Chris Hay. “On being Elizabethan: Artistic standards and cultural renewal down under.”

Caitlin West. “Travelling together to make meaning: performers, text, and context in contemporary performances of Shakespeare.”


5.5 Paper panel

Chair: Gillian Arrighi

Joanne Tompkins, Julie Holledge. “Travelling together through time and space: Virtual  reality and site-specificity.” (2 linked 20 minute papers)

Jane Woollard. “Travelling with the ghosts of Eliza and Cordelia: 1830s Australian theatre practice and its intersection with the virtual world.”


5.6 Curated panel

Chair: Sarah Woodland

Sharon Mazer. “We are still here”

Natasha Diaz Cardona. “The horrible night has (not) ceased”

Mihailo Lađevac. “It lives, it lives, the Slavic spirit”


4:00 – 4:30pm      | Afternoon tea / Book Launches

Chris Hay and Stephen Carleton. Contemporary Australian Playwriting

Emma Willis. Metatheatrical Dramaturgies of Violence: Staging the Role of Theatre. 

Alys Longley. Let Us Drink The New Wine, Together! / Beberemos El Vino Nuevo, Juntos!


4:15pm                 | Performance

Here and Now. Marianne Schultz.


4:30 – 6:00pm      | Concurrent panels 6


6.1 Performance

Adventures in Failure, Declan Patrick, Karen Barbour, Alec Forbes (60 minutes)


6.2 Workshop

“Expanded practices and loose loops of feedback; practices for interdisciplinary artistic research sharing.” Alys Longley, Kim Sargent Wishart, Becca Wood, Amaara Raheem, Carol Brown, Rheannan Port


6.3 Paper panel

Chair: Sarah Thomasson

Suzanne Little. “Connections, challenges and synchronicities: Practice as research in Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand.”

Rea Dennis. “Ecologies of us: Practice research as accruing moments together over  time.”

Ellin Sears. “The Lonely PhD Club.”


6.4 Paper panel

Chair: Philipa Rothfield

Felicity Molloy. “Line of flight – fight or freeze.”

Marianne Schultz. “The ‘mature’ dancer.”

Glen McGillivray. “Tango and emotion: ‘One heart and four legs’ travelling together.”


6.5 Paper panel

Chair: Rand Hazou

Jess Lamb. “A playful path: Theatrical wayfinding in rural Queensland tgriygh the gift of the game.”

Adrianne Smith. “The imperative of presence: The value of amateur/community theatre in Aotearoa.”

Matthew Tyne. “‘…Maintaining a neutral, observational position.’: Performance ethnography and the co-creation of intercultural research.”


6.6 Paper panel

Chair: Jonathan Bollen

Rhumer Diball. “Lifelong learning philosophy for a dramaturg? Applying the ALACT model to traverse heuristic challenges and guide critical reflection.”

Gillian Arrighi. “Embedding the pedagogy of collaboration.”

Melita Rowston. “Hearing the past: Utilising deep mapping to dramatise the lost voices of Irish female convicts.”


6.7 Paper panel

Sean Mulcahy. “Coming together in parliamentary committee rooms.”

Alexandra Bonham. “On the road to participatory politics: Legislative Theatre.”

Chris Hay and Stephen Carleton. “Travelling apart: pandemic postcard performance projects.”


6:00 – 8:00pm      | Conference Dinner @ Strata Cafe, Level 4, Kate Edger Information Commons, University of Auckland, 9-11 Symonds Street, Auckland CBD

Location: UoA City Campus


8:30 – 9:00am        | Arrivals & Registrations


9:00 – 10:15am      | Plenary panel

Chair: Emma Willis

Anna Marbrook, Dorita Hannah, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Kasia Pol

“Waka Odyssey: Oceanic theatre as an expression of unity.”


10:15 – 10:45am      | Morning tea


10:45am – 12:00pm | Plenary panel

Chair: Molly Mullen

Huia O’Sullivan, Jackie Moyes, Michelle Johansson.

“Travelling together with communities.”


12:00 – 1:30pm      | Working lunch/ADSA AGM


12:30 – 3:00pm      | Performance installation

What Might Happen Together? Episode 6f: The Reparar of a Massage Chair. Janaína Moraes, Chris Berthelsen, and Negative Emissions and Waste Studies Programme.


1:30 – 3:00pm        |Concurrent panels 7


7.1 Performance

Dr Drama Makes A Show. James Wenley


7.2 Paper panel

Chair: Jonathan Marshall

Abbie Trott. “Title: Being with: Audiences and artists co-generating knowledge.”

Corrine Heskett. “Imagining Life: Creating costume as a performing object.”

Graham Seaman. “Journeys into suburbia.”


7.3 Paper panel

Chair: Sarah Courtis

Andrew Fuhrmann. “Moments of effervescence: Untrained dancers and the renewal of community.”

Gareth Belling. “It’s only the beginning: Way-finding in the establishment of a national ballet company in Australia.”

Sarah Austin. “An uncertain time: toward an Australian dramaturgy for theatre for Babies.”


7.4 Curated panel

Chair: Alys Longley

Megan Beckwith, Victoria Chiu, Yinan Liu, Kialea-Nadine Williams, Carol Brown. “Making space for ‘through-others’”


7.5 Paper panel

Chair: Lara Stevens

Tony McCaffrey. “Travelling together in learning-disabled theatre.”

Sarah Wilson. “Our own time and space: Locating autistic poetics in theatre.”


3:15pm                   | Plenary performance (20 minutes plus Q & A)

The Journeys of Different Light: history and futurity in learning disabled theatre 

Different Light Theatre: from Josie Noble, Peter Rees, Isaac Tait, Matthew Phelan, Matthew Swaffield, Biddy Steffens, Angie Douglas, Glen Burrows, Tommy James, Damian Bumman


4:00pm                   | Haera Ra

PG/ECR Day - First Panel

Tuesday 6th December
NZ Time – 9.30am-11.00am
Room: Epsom Auditorium 6EB-113

Far and away: Workload, (self) expectations and remote candidature
Dr Matt Tyne, University of Sydney; Dr Abbie Trott, University of Queensland; Beanie Ridler, UNSW Sydney; Dr Hannah Banks, University of the Sunshine Coast

While the ongoing COVID pandemic compelled many postgraduate students and early career researchers into remote work environments, for some HDR persons, remote candidature was always part of the plan. This session will explore how to manage workload and (self) expectations, without the motivation of on-campus life and research cohorts. Hear from speakers with diverse experiences who always knew at least part of their candidature would be remote. Finally, hear about how HDR / academic persons find their tribe – regardless of the status of your candidature or stage of your career.

PG/ECR Day - Second Panel

Tuesday 6th December
NZ Time – 11.30am-1.00pm
Room: Epsom Auditorium 6EB-113

Getting through it: Neurodiversity, mental health and the HDR experience
Associate Professor Stephen Carleton, University of Queensland; Dr Kathryn Kelly, Queensland University of Technology; Shinjita Roy, University of Melbourne; Romy Hume, University of Auckland

There is still very little research on neurodiversity and the needs of neurodiverse academics, particularly how HDR persons might successfully navigate their candidature. This session will explore the personal experiences of HDR / academic persons who are navigating the academic world, their tips and strategies and will also explore the notion of burn-out which is a prevalent concern for many neurodiverse folks. Finally, this session will open a discussion on how HDRs (neurodiverse and neurotypical) might access support through their universities related to mental health as well as disability support.

PG/ECR Day - Third Panel

Tuesday 6th December
NZ Time – 2.00pm-3.30pm
Room: Epsom Auditorium 6EB-113

What’s next? Endings, beginnings and staying connected
Dr Sean Mulcahy, La Trobe University; Dr Sarah Thomasson, Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington; Dr Liza-Mare Syron, UNSW Sydney; Prof. Chris Hay, Flinders University

Each HDR experience is different, but as we know, all eventually come to an end. This panel will explore how to prepare yourself for the post-completion journey. From preparing your brain for the emotions of post-submission, to beginning life as an early career researcher, our panelists will discuss their experiences of navigating what’s next. Finally, this session will open a discussion about career options within, and adjacent to, the academy, publishing, and offer practical advice on staying connected following the HDR experience.

Session 1.1 – Workshop and Performance

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 11.30am-1pm
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Tony Yap – Animal/God – The Great Square 

“Animality is an exercise.” (M. Foucault, Le Courage de la vérité, March 14 1984) “We love nature the less humanly it behaves, and art when it is the artist’s escape from man, or the artist’s mockery of man, or the artist’s mockery of himself” (F. Nietzsche, The Gay Science, pg. 379)

Animal/God — The Great Square is a new contemporary dance work by Tony Yap that investigates psychophysical trance through an Asian-inspired modus operandi that draws from traditional & classical trance dance & philosophy. In the performance, I adopt specific inductions into deep-trance which are traversed from three Asian traditions employing deep- trance: the Daoist shamanistic temple practices from Melaka, Malaysia; the Bantengan bull trance rituals in Batu, East Java; and the royal court dance of Bedoyo of Yogyakarta, Central Java in Indonesia. The performance was developed as the final phase of my practice-based Ph.D. The title suggests the core of my development in addressing the space between polarities (human and animal) in a performance, and aligns with the concept of how one can make visible the invisible through Dao, the Chinese word signifying “the way.” Here we explore some of the ways in which the term “emptiness” is understood in Daoism: specifically as a zone of spatial consideration for trance forms: “The great square has no corners.”

Tony Yap, born in Malaysia, is an accomplished dancer, director, choreographer and visual artist. He has made a commitment to the exploration and creation of an individual dance theatre language that is informed by psycho-physical research, Asian shamanistic trance dance, Butoh and psycho-vocal experimentations. Tony has received numerous nominations and awards and has been a leading figure in inter-cultural discourse He has contributed significantly to the development of contemporary dance & performance practice, particularly bringing a non-Western perspective to the palette of work being created. His practice is grounded in: Asian philosophies, sensibilities and forms; inter-cultural and multi-disciplinary approaches; ongoing relationships and collaborations that deepen over time; inclusiveness, diversity and individuality; process, evolution and the emergent.

Session 1.2 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 11.30am-1pm
Room: Humanities 206-201

Chair: Chris Hay

Daniel Lammin – Adaptation: travelling from classic text to rediscovered pleasure

In this paper, I will examine the recent adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray by Australian writer-director Kip Williams (Sydney Theatre Company, 2020) through the lens of the pleasure of adaptation. Much of the critical response to this production spoke to an intense satisfaction at the contemporary rendering of this classic text. Jo Litson notes in her review for Limelight that the production “captures Wilde’s wit and wickedly astute insights, and presents them in exhilarating fashion for contemporary audiences”. This speaks to the presence of pleasure for an audience coming together to see this classic anew.

In ‘A Theory of Adaptation’, Linda Hutcheon writes about the “palimpsestic pleasures” of the adaptation process, where the recognition of the relationship between the source text and this new reinvention/reinterpretation can create a sense of enjoyment for the reader or spectator. Pamela Demory expands on this connection in ‘Queer/Adaptation’, citing the “intellectual pleasure of intertextuality, enjoying the oscillation between the adapted text being experienced and the source text being remembered”. While we often think of the pleasure for an audience emerging from the collective experience of witnessing the new, similar pleasure can also be found in collectively witnessing a beloved classic reinterpreted through the process of adaptation. As Hutcheon puts it, adaptation “is repetition but without replication, bringing together the comfort of ritual and recognition with the delight of surprise and novelty”.

I will be activating Hutcheon’s metaphor of adaptation as palimpsest, multiple layers of meaning through repeat engagement over time, allowing us to see “both the parts (or layers) and the whole” and appreciate how they travel together. Through this analysis, I argue that an awareness of the palimpsestic pleasure of adaptation can be embraced by practitioners to enhance the adaptive journey for the spectator.

Daniel Lammin is a theatre director and playwright currently completing an MPhil  in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on how the legacy of adaptations of classic texts across different mediums can inform future adaptations for the stage. He has written and directed a number of adaptations, including ‘Awakening’, a reimagining of Frank Wedekind’s ‘Spring Awakening’, first produced in 2016 and published by Playlab. He is also the host of the film history podcast ‘Ink & Paint: A Journey Through the Disney Animated Classics’.

Pierce Wilcox – Learning to stage the novel: The reader as trainee director in postmodern theatre-fiction

ADSA’s description of Waipapa Taumata Rau/The University of Auckland conjures the university as a space where different modes of knowledge can meet, mingle, and be shared. This paper argues that theatre-fiction, defined by Graham Wolfe as an intermedial genre which makes the rehearsal or performance of theatre works central to the plots of prose narratives, can create a similar space of knowledge exchange and transform the reader into a student who must direct an imaginary performance to complete the novel.

Theatre-fictions, in this conception, function as a mode of training. These novels can take knowledge passed down informally within the production process, or formally within the conservatoire, and offer this knowledge to readers by teaching them to interpret the scripts within these books and imaginatively stage them. Theatre-fiction can invite the reading audience to zones that are typically mysterious and exclusive — the director’s chair, the rehearsal room, the darkness of backstage — and render them into places to gain knowledge and experiment with theatrical interpretation.

Aoteroa’s own Eleanor Catton crystallised the category for the 21st century in The Rehearsal, while recent postmodern theatre-fictions push the boundaries of the form by including sections of playtext. The final section of Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise incorporates excerpts from a playtext written by one main character; Fernanda Torres peppers scenes of her protagonist’s dissolution with flashes of Shakespeare in Glory and its Litany of Horrors; and Sheila Heti’s How Should A Person Be frames conversations as scripted dialogue. By examining the assimilation of script into the novel form within these theatre-fictions, this paper will show how each novel encourages the reader to adopt the position of a theatre scholar or director and take up the imaginative work of ‘staging’ the novel, provoking new questions about novels, theatre, and the production of knowledge.

Pierce Wilcox is currently undertaking an MPhil in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland. He studied English Literature at the University of Sydney before completing postgraduate studies in theatre directing at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. He has directed theatre and opera, toured his own performance works across Australia, and his libretti for contemporary opera have been performed at festivals including the Biennale of Sydney and the Melbourne Festival.

Oliver Gough – Travelling into the anthropocene with ecological absurdist theatre

As the epoch of the Anthropocene intensifies, passage into a recognisable future is becoming increasingly unsure. The outdated rationalisms of neoliberal thought, capitalist organisation and presumptuous anthropocentrism are coming under question. Where have these frameworks taken us so far? In Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (2015), Roy Scranton argues that “the reality of global climate change is going to keep intruding on our collective fantasies of perpetual growth, constant innovation, and endless energy” (5). As these illusions fade, new playwriting can embrace the absurdity of the Anthropocene, and suggest pathways into a future of what Timothy Morton describes in Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (2016) as “ecological awareness” and an “anarchic, comedic sense of co-existence” (159-160). I argue that writing for this epoch can depart from naturalism or didactic dystopia, and challenge in form and content to destabilise the reasoning of anthropocentrism. Two absurdist plays that both satirise the logic of neoliberalism and hint at ecological paths forward are Pomona (2014) by Alistair McDowall, and The Turquoise Elephant (2016) by Stephen Carleton. While Pomona unmasks of the inherent violence of late capitalism, The Turquoise Elephant finds crooked gallows humour in climate catastrophe. A combination of these reflexes can usefully innovate ecological thinking and theatrical form. Scranton suggests that “If we want to learn to live in the Anthropocene, we must first learn how to die” (7). I suggest that these plays contain an emerging pathway for new playwrighting that can chart the journey into the oblivion of either our old systems, or that of ourselves completely.

Oliver Gough is an emerging playwright and MPhil Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland. He was a participant in Playlab’s 2021 ‘Incubator’ program, and his plays have been produced by UQ’s Underground Theatre Company and at Brisbane’s Anywhere Festival. His honours and master’s projects have built on an interest in interrogating climate-change ravaged futures, and using absurdism to conceive of the Anthropocene.

Session 1.3 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 11.30am-1pm
Room: Humanities 206-203

Chair: Vanessa Byrnes

Harry Haynes – Is it enough to be seen and heard? Leading actors in a post #metoo world

This paper contributes to the ongoing conversation surrounding actor training and modern professional rehearsal practice, examining the most effective models in the development of an actor’s expressive range. It analyses the efficacy of empathic listening in the leading, directing, and teaching of actors in a post #metoo world. It explores how practioners can nurture and safeguard vulnerability while leading actors by considering the symmetry between Carl Rogers (1980) notion of Unconditional Positive Regard and Rudolf Laban and Yat Malmgren’s (1956) notion of Free Flow Adapting. This is reflected in the authors experience working as both an acting coach with first year acting students and as a collaborative director devising a new work with two female identifying theatre makers and speaks to the benefits of listening and vulnerability as both the leader and the led. Finally, it concludes by discussing how empathic leadership can contribute to higher standards in acting and discusses how lessons learnt might shape future developments in the leading and teaching of actors.

Harry Haynes is a Melbourne based director, educator and researcher. Born in London and raised in Spain he trained at Drama Centre London. As a director he has presented work in Melbourne at The National Theatre, MeatMarket, Brunswick Mechanics Institute and Siteworks. In England as a director Harry was mentored and was assistant to award winning director Di Trevis. As an educator he has lectured and taught at University of the Arts London, Deakin University, University of East Anglia, Drama Centre London and The National Theatre Drama School. He is currently a HDR candidate at Deakin University, his research looks to address the pedagogy of vulnerability within acting and its relevance within an evolving professional theatre practice. Harry is neurodiverse (ADHD).

Sarah Courtis  – Do you hear the people sing: Travelling towards a more ethical industry

The performing arts industry (and musical theatre in particular) is rife with issues of racism, sexism, ableism and bigotry, with many performers facing ethical dilemmas each time they audition for a show. The students at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) are at the beginning of their professional journey, and questions of ethics are front and centre as they begin exploring what it means to be engaged performers. While aware of the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter and issues around diversity (such as the cancellation of the 2020 Rob Guest Endowment due to a lack of representation in the finalists), students and young performers often feel powerless against institutions, professional companies and partners which don’t reflect their values, and control their artistic future. In 2021, I was employed by WAAPA to design and teach a course for the second-year musical theatre students, teaching the theoretical frameworks of musical theatre. In this paper, I will discuss the ethical focus I chose to engage with in developing this course, covering topics of discrimination and the impact it has on the industry, using an anecdotal reflection on the teaching practice. I will then consider what actions we can take as academics and practitioners to continue developing a more ethical and inclusive performing arts industry, looking at both a roots-up and top down approach. I will open the discussion up for the audience to participate with their own ideas as we question and travel together towards dismantling the systematic failings of the performing arts industry.

Dr Sarah Courtis is an Associate Lecturer of Career Learning at Murdoch University. She has worked in many roles over the course of her career including as a lecturer, teacher, content creator, actor, stage manager, lyricist and writer. She is an award-winning comedy actor and holds two citations for learning and teaching excellence. Her PhD was in the lyric in musical theatre and she has performed on many international stages. Her teaching experience spans through all forms of drama (at Murdoch and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) as well as history, philosophy, ethics, screen and sound studies and career management.

Sarah Austin and Isabella Vadiveloo – Collaboration and consent: teaching boundaries in creation methodologies to Theatre undergraduate at the Victorian College of the Arts

This joint paper by Dr Sarah Austin and Isabella Vadiveloo, colleagues at the Victorian College of the Arts teaching into the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) degree, will detail how new approaches to curriculum and pedagogical practice are emerging that are designed to respond to urgent issues around intimacy, collaboration and consent in creative arts collaboration through two key strategic processes; the practice of Brave Space which has emerged from social justice facilitation discourse and consent and boundary practices developed by Chelsea Pace for tertiary students. These two approaches combine to provide new strategies for navigating this complex and nuanced area of theatre practice and our presentation will foreground how and why we are adopting these approaches and early indication of their impact on inclusive, safe and compelling theatre making.

The presentation will introduce and demonstrate the emergent practice of ‘holding Brave Space’ in artistic collaborations with young people as a strategy for addressing the hunger for cultural change in the Australian arts sector. This practice is designed to foreground inclusion and safety and to strategically shift the way power might operate in a collaborative project. The framework for cultural safety posited by healthcare scholars Elaine Papps and Irahapeti Ramsden (1996) urges us to find ways of working that are ‘regardful of the unique intersections of individual identity’ rather than creating models for collaboration that are ‘regardless’ of these things. Moving from these foundational ideas from Ramsden and Papps, the framework for Brave Space works as a stakeholder-centred approach that emphasises ‘sharing decision-making, information, power and responsibility’ (de Souza, 2020) across collaborative contexts and disrupts and decentres the colonial paradigm that supports and upholds the status quo within Australian cultural institutions and conservatoire training environments.

Likewise, United States based Intimacy director and scholar, Chelsea Pace (2020), has developed strong frameworks for actors and performers to recognise, articulate and document their physical boundaries. Combining this framework with above mentioned principals of cultural safety facilitation offers students an empowered understanding of agency and self-advocacy in setting physical boundaries and working with safe and appropriate limits of touch. This is especially pertinent in training spaces, where power differentiation between teaching staff and students is particularly pronounced. Kim Shively and Suzanne Shawyer have written about “repeated calls for ethical actor training that acknowledges the importance of boundary management” (2019) within the conservatoire model of training, and offered the consent-based tools the emergent field of Intimacy Direction as a “possible response”. When offering students vocabulary, time and encouragement to articulate physical boundaries, we are able to set a precedent for the management of emotional, cultural and spiritual consent and boundaries too. This helps us in creating and evolving our understanding of the brave spaces we are working towards.

Responding to the urgent and compelling need and desire for transformation within the Australian theatre sector that acknowledges the inequities that permeate the industry ‘in an environment of increasing polarisation and heightened global attention on injustice, racism and inequality’ (Creating the Future, 2020), the combination of a brave space and boundary and consent centred framework intentionally creates accessible pathways for student to experience cultural safety within arts and training institutions. We ultimately posit that these approaches have the potential for fostering the capacity of these young people to reckon with the colonial paradigm of making work on stolen land, the ability to bring their full authentic selves to the work they make, and to move into significant artistic decision-making and culturally significant roles across the arts sector. 

Dr Sarah Austin is an award-winning artist and researcher, with a specific expertise in working with children and young people in contemporary performance. Her award-winning performance work has been seen on stages in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Singapore, Germany and the UK and her research has been published in several journals and as part of edited book collections. Sarah is a Lecturer in Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, where she coordinates the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) program.

Isabella Vadiveloo is a theatre director and intimacy director. She is a tutor in Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Session 1.4 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 11.30am-1pm
Room: Humanities 206-209

Chair: Molly Mullen

Sarah Peters – Time together: Verbatim theatre and heathy ageing project

Time together: Verbatim Theatre and Healthy Ageing Project On the 1st March 2021 the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety published their final reports with an extensive list of recommendations including ‘Improved public awareness of aged care’, particularly to ‘encourage public discussion about and consideration of aged care needs’. South Australia’s Plan for Ageing Well 2020 – 2025 is to ‘spread a view of ageing that is diverse, busts myths and enables planning for transitions in ageing’. Against this backdrop the ‘Verbatim Theatre and Healthy Ageing Project’ has researched the lived experience of transitioning into aged care using a practice-led verbatim theatre methodology which investigates this topic from the triangulated perspectives of people who are accessing aged care services themselves, their family members and carers, and people working in aged care.

Partnering with Barossa Village in the rural South Australian town of Nuriootpa the project team undertook a process of community immersion; running storytelling workshops and interviewing residents, staff and family members whose loved ones have transitioned into aged care. Halfway through this project, the conference theme prompts us to ask; how have aged care service users and providers travelled together in this context? How does memory and forgetting inform how time is spent together as a family? How can these diverse and sometimes contradictory stories be written meaningfully into performance in order to encourage public discussion and bust myths about ageing? What dramaturgical choices are being made when writing these triangulated verbatim stories into performance? These questions usefully inform the drafting process of the central outcome of this project, namely a verbatim play about ageing, care, labour and love, with the work-in-progress title Time. This paper outlines where we have travelled from in the ‘Verbatim Theatre and Healthy Ageing project’, briefly outlining the context and background, before looking forward to where we are going next.

Dr Sarah Peters (she/her) is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and book reviews editor for ADSA. Sarah is a playwright and theatre practitioner specialising in verbatim theatre and community-engaged theatre making, most recently with youth arts organisations in SA such as Expressway Arts (Carclew) and Prospect Theatre for Young People. Her verbatim plays (published with Australian Plays Transform) engage with communities to tell the shared stories of experience. Sarah’s research investigates collaborative theatre making processes within an ethic of care, dramaturgies of theatre based on lived experiences, and the socio-political and inter-personal outcomes of arts engagement for community participants.

Rand Hazou – Performing with the precariat: The Hobson Street Theatre Company

Guy Standing describes ‘The Precariat’ as a social class born from neoliberal efforts to deregulate and privatise the labour and economic market (2011). Increasingly punitive welfare policies, as well as the increased casualisation of labour and the shift to a globalised economy has impacted on people’s income security and overall wellbeing (Bambra & Eikemo, 2018; Groot et al., 2017). Legacies of colonialism in New Zealand have resulted in precarity disproportionately impacting Māori and Pasifika ethnic groups. This presentation explores the work of the Hobson Street Theatre Company (HSTC) and how it engages with and represents the lived experience of precarity on the stage.

The HSTC is an award-winning company produced by Flock Charitable Trust in partnership with the Auckland City Mission, who have been creating and touring together since 2010. The HSTC employs a strength based kaupapa, focusing on creating safe and inclusive spaces for participants to share their stories. In many ways the work of the HSTC allows street community members to co-inhabit meeting places with audience members. This presentation will explore a selection of the Company’s work to examine how the company negotiates issues of insecurity and precarity while working to produce work ‘from the street’ that speaks about ‘the street’ experience.

Rand Hazou is a Palestinian-Kiwi theatre practitioner and scholar. His research explores theatre engaging with rights and social justice. His research interests lie in applied theatre, refugee theatre and decolonial theory and practice. In 2004, he was commissioned by the UNDP to travel to the Occupied Territories in Palestine to run workshops for Palestinian youths. In Aotearoa, he has led teaching and creative projects engaging with prison, aged-care, and street communities. Rand is currently part of the Health Research Council funded research project ‘Wellbeing and the Precariat’, which is exploring the lived experiences of working whānau experiencing poverty and the impact that this has on health and wellbeing.

Beanie Ridler – Conversation and co-ownership: navigating writing theatre of the real together

This paper explores data collected as part of a Creative Practice PhD investigating ‘co-design’ as an ethical method for playwrights when co-authoring theatre of the real with underrepresented communities. It addresses the findings of interviews conducted with professional theatre artists who create verbatim and community-engaged theatre within Sydney and London. Accounts such as Hammond and Steward’s Verbatim Verbatim (2008) demonstrate that to date most verbatim writers or theatre-makers have had very little discussion about text with their interviewees after interviewing them. Although there is usually an initial exchange of knowledge and story, and sometimes opportunities for interviewees to amend or approve the script, ownership sits firmly with the playwright. Community-engaged theatre often offers a more collaborative, dialogical, model with room for co-ownership. However, it does not always involve a professional playwright, which may be one reason why there has not been a lot of scholarly attention to writing and text creation within community-engaged theatre.

The interviews I have conducted recently with theatre of the real artists explore the individuals’ processes for working with community members on writing performance text. They investigate whether and how the artists’ approach: dialogue around script feedback and amendments; script ownership; and ethical considerations when working with community members. Ultimately the findings from these interviews will be combined with a co-design approach in order to devise a series of workshops with a community group, with the goal of creating a 60-minute playtext as well as the collaborative process by which it is created. In so doing I aim to contribute to the practice and scholarship surrounding the role of the writer in community-engaged theatre and to continue conversations surrounding ethical practices when working with communities to create verbatim theatre.

Beanie Ridler (she/her) is a Creative Practice PhD Candidate in the School of Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales. Her work explores ‘co-design’ as an ethical method for playwrights when co-authoring theatre of the real with marginalised communities. Beanie has spent the last 8-years working in theatre, comedy and dance in Auckland and London. She has experience as a playwright, dramaturg and in marketing and PR.

Session 1.5 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 11.30am-1pm
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Andrea Moor

Pauline Ward  – Fishing for Convincingess: Performance creatives’ practices for suspending emotional disbelief

A begrudging wedding guest sits outside the reception in front of a sea-weathered man — before long, he is transfixed by tales of the old man’s encounters with sea monsters, angels, and reanimated corpse. Coleridge’s The Ancient Mariner illustrates the power of an audience’s ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ about a narrative. However, like the guest who becomes invested in the Mariner’s feelings during impossible events, audiences also suspend disbelief about a character’s emotions as portrayed by the performer. This belief is critical to their engagement with the narrative: they invest because somehow, they believe these emotions, despite knowing them to be fictional and often appearing very different to everyday human expression. How easily an audience suspends their disbelief about an emotional performance may be measurable, and this measure could be termed emotional ‘convincingness’. Having personally pursued these ideas in relation to live Theatre, how might this endemic knowledge translate into embodied digital interaction?

In this paper, I explore creatives’ understandings of ‘convincingness’, their implications, and potential applications to motion capture performance. I conducted a series of semi-structured group interviews with performers, directors, and animators from diverse stylistic backgrounds. They discussed their conceptualisations of emotion, its embodied performance, what made an effective emotional performance, and detailed how they attained this effectiveness in practice. I will analyse themes from these discussions and their applications to interactive motion capture performance and direction, which I then tested through audience. Finally, I consider broader implications for Affective Psychology and Performance Studies and revisit Coleridge’s concept of the ‘willing suspension of disbelief’.

Works Cited:

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, and James Russell Lowell. The rime of the ancient mariner. UP, 1916. Roberts, Adam, ed. Biographia Literaria by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Edinburgh University Press, 2014.

Pauline Ward is a doctoral candidate at Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington, supervised by Hedwig Eisenbarth and Nicola Hyland. Their scholarship straddles both Theatre/Performance Studies and Psychology, and contributes to Wiri, an interdisciplinary project that seeks to create better computational models of human emotion for game designers.

Paula van Beek – Meet me in the foyer: Expanded online performance as social ritual

Performance is often described as experience and presence. A key ingredient is the presence of the audience as they become active collaborators in the creation of a piece of theatre. There have been many challenges for the performing arts due to the social distancing restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. The spatial connection and ease of energic communion between actors, actors and audience and audiences themselves have been put to the test as performances moved into online contexts. However, positioning theatre as a social experience allows a richer understanding of the importance of the audience rituals that surround a theatre-going experience. Ensuring these rituals are enacted facilitates more opportunities for presence and connection within online performance works.

A short online performance work ‘Everything in Extremity’, performed via Zoom video conferencing in September 2021, explored concepts of ‘connective experience,’ and ‘collective pretending’ to test actor-audience connection and presence. In this experimental performance based on two key scenes from ‘Romeo & Juliet’ by William Shakespeare, the context of the theatre work took equal value to the artistic content. A pre-show foyer experience, uncontrolled screen space during the performance and post show experience were all tested as strategies that could contribute to the actor-audience and audience-audience felt sense of presence and liveness.

Valuable findings around digital theatre spectatorship were raised through surveys and interviews of remote audience members. These point to an understanding that theatre is more about ritual, listening, and feeling than looking. In translating a theatre experience to an online screen experience theatrical not cinematic approaches should be prioritised. The significance of this research is its ability to add to the growing knowledge within the field of expanded performance and online theatre experiences. It also serves to reiterate the fundamental importance of the social rituals that are inherent to both emerging and traditional performance forms.

Paula van Beek is a performance maker and arts educator dedicated to creating and supporting original performative works. Her research interest focuses on expanded performance, which investigates widening the frameworks for presenting live work through live-streaming and digital theatre techniques. She has a practiced-based MFA in performance, social media and female subjectivity. Paula has taught performance practices at Victorian College of Arts, Melbourne and Toi Whakaari: NZ National Drama school. She currently teaches into the Whitireia stage and screen programme at Te Auaha: NZ Institute of Creativity in Wellington.

Shane Pike, Kathryn Kelly and Jeremy Neideck – The Philosophy of Travel: A kind of retrospective from three academics who attempted to lash their canoes together

“Has anyone ever considered the philosophy of travel?” Wrote Spanish-American philosopher and thinker, George Santayana (1964). He goes on to attribute the gift of movement – the ability to travel, explore and roam – as the “privilege of animals… perhaps the key to intelligence.” (1) Contrasting with Aristotelean vegetables, their roots as mouths anchoring them to one place, Santayana declares locomotion as the basis for human evolution and, what is more, the greater a person’s experience of travel and traveling the more “arts and manners” (10) they will assimilate, and the more depth and pleasantness they will carry in their own understandings of themself and the world.

This paper, a collaboration between a feminist scholar, a queer scholar, and an Asian-Australian scholar, will take a look at individual examples from their creative practice, against the backdrop of connection and exchange, built across four years of collaboration together as colleagues, co-writers and practitioners. Through reflection and critical dialogue, they will journey with each other through their unique worlds, to arrive at a collective destination where they have found new connections and positive exchanges that enhance and enrich each other’s worlds. With the aim of finding a deeper level of depth and pleasantness, this presentation will be a collective journey through disparate creative worlds, ultimately arriving at a new beginning of shared understanding through the gift of intellectual locomotion.

Shane Pike is a Lecturer in Drama in the School of Creative Practice, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology. With a PhD from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arst, he is also a practicing writer/director with a specialised interest in contemporary Australian theatre and (re)presentations of gender in performance. Shane’s works have received support from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and received world premieres at The Brisbane Powerhouse. He is currently co-leading a project in collaboration with the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, combining augmented reality technology with applied theatre practice as an intervention in treatment for young people with eating disorders. Shane’s plays, based on several years of research studying the contemporary identities of young Australians, are published by Playlab:

Kathryn Kelly is a dramaturg and Senior Lecturer at QUT in the Drama Area in the Faculty of Creative Industries. Her research interests include dramaturgy and socially engaged, feminist and transcultural performance practices. Her publications include a history of Australian dramaturgy 2000-2010 in Catching Australian Theatre in the 2000s (Australian Theatre Series, Bril) as well as articles with journals including Australasian Drama Studies, Social Alternatives, Fusions, Performing Ethos, International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media and various Australian performing arts industry journals. Her current research projects include an international collaboration around climate crisis, which will premiere in the Tokyo Olympic Arts and Cultural Festival in June, 2021; a project to explore First Nations community engagement models, in collaboration with First Nation Artists; and consultancies with her affiliated research group, Creative Placemaking for Social Impact at QUT. She is currently company dramaturg with award-winning, all-female theatre company, Belloo Creative, who are the Company in Residence at Queensland Theatre:

Jeremy Neideck is a performance maker and academic who has worked between Australia and Korea for almost two decades. The recipient of scholarships from Aphids, Australia-Korea Foundation, Asialink, and Brisbane City Council, Jeremy has undertaken residencies at The National Art Studio of Korea, The National Changgeuk Company of Korea, and The Necessary Stage (Singapore). His work for Motherboard Productions, has been nominated for a Matilda award and sold-out seasons at Metro Arts, Brisbane Festival, World Theatre Festival, HiSeoul Festival, and the Seoul International Dance Festival (SiDANCE). Jeremy is Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Performing Arts at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) at Edith Cowan University. Jeremy holds a PhD from Queensland University of Technology, where he taught across the disciplines of drama, music, and dance, and led movement training and direction in the BFA (Acting) program for a decade. Jeremy regularly consults on the architecture and facilitation of collaborative projects and programs of institutional and community transformation. Watch out, Jeremy is Bad Company:

Lunchtime performance installation

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 1.30pm – 1.55pm
Room: Dance Studio 113-G12

Joanna Cook – Bodyography

Bodyography is an immersive, interactive, multimodal installation. An exhibition type space within which witnesses (audience members) may engage with their own experience of the work. Travelling through, travelling with, coming alongside. Perhaps adding to the installation, or taking away. Passively passing, or actively engaging as desired. The project is held within the field of creative practice and engages modes such as movement, writing, artists books, photography, soundscape and live performance. It explores the question, can a project be translated through multiple modes to enhance or ‘endeepen’ the messages further. The project recognises that, as feminist writer and independent scholar Sarah Ahmed articulates, disciplines have, “lines in the sense that they have a specific ‘‘take’’ on the world, a way of ordering time and space through the very decisions about what counts within the discipline. Such lines mark out the edges of disciplinary homes, which also mark out those who are ‘‘out of line” (…) The lines of disciplines are certainly a form of inheritance” (Ahmed, 2006, p. 22)

Within Bodyography, each discipline is vital to the unfolding of the other practices, encouraging an untethering from function, and prizing the bleed between disciplines (multi/trans/inter) particularly as it unfolds in the interstitial spaces. Within this understanding, a poem becomes a choreography, a choreography becomes a video, a video becomes a series of photographs, a series of photographs becomes an installation, installation becomes a theatre work, and so on. Encouraging the work to unfold in the border spaces between disciplines rather than in surveilled centrist definitions of the individual threads of practice, and therefore responding to the implicit possibilities as the lines blur.

Recognising the box but finding traces of myself with(out) in the boundary-lines…

…Creating space for, and giving permission to the seed of deviation.

This work encourages witnesses to travel WITH (Samuels, 2021), to have their own experience of the work and be guided through a weaving of their own meaning making process. It draws from from Ann Hamilton’s (Simon and Hamilton, 2002; Wallach, 2008; Hamilton, A., & Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, 1996; Cooke and Hamilton, 2005; Simon, 2006) approach to creative process as a key methodological scaffold and conceptual pivot of creative practice.

Bodyography acknowledges that some of the things that shape and add texture to this kind of experience unfold without active awareness (sight, sound, movement, etc.) and therefore asks: how might I actively shape sight, sound, movement, etc, within a space? How might this shaping translate a project to a witness? A key materiality within my work is a unique responsiveness to the context, the ecology, the effect, and/or the possibilities in the room at that moment. As such, this work engages with an expanded view of body – not simply the mammalian body but viewing non-human bodies, soft bodies, and hard bodies as vital. bodies unfolding, leading, generating.

Viewing non-human (objects) as generative and having relational properties. Leaning into this notion I inquire: How can I allow/encourage a/the/my body to be the tool through which multimodal (trans/inter)disciplinary projects come to life?

Joanna Cook is a dance artist, researcher, teacher, and PhD Candidate at the University of Auckland exploring the possibilities of Multimodality as (feminist) Choreographic Practice. She holds an MA Dance Studies with first class honours and a PGDip Dance Studies with distinction. Her recent works include, Expanding Flesh (2022), Spooling Womxn (2022), 3R (2020-current – co-created with Janaina Moraes). Joanna creates performance that is experiential, immersive and engages with interdisciplinary materialities including movement, soundscapes, installation, poetics, photography, videography and live performance. Her work centres around social constructs of the feminine self and possibilities of ‘undoing-ness’ through imagination, repair, and care.

Session 2.1 – Performance and paper

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 2pm – 3.30pm
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Chair: Hannah Banks

Kat Thomas – Opening spaces for artists and academics to collide and collaborate: Exploring applied-theatre-as-research with those who know their stuff

Applied-theatre-as-research (ATAR) is the methodological foundation for my mahi exploring theatre as a tool for social change.  Through collaboration with theatre artists we developed a new performance work called The Scaffold. Our collaboration resulted in a one-act play where theatre and social change are in human-form to express/expose their relationality. To develop The Scaffold our sessions used ATAR to encourage the group to ‘perform’ rather than “talk’. One tension explored is the artist/academic entanglement, and The Scaffold speaks to work from James Thompson and Maria Abramovic. I ask you to share a mooring by making-together at ADSA where we can collectively engage in a performative dialogue to learn how to use theatre to understand theatre.

Kat Thomas is…

Tired. Old. Female. Formatted. Lonely. Weird. Single. Lacks boundaries. Creative. Patient. Selfless. Likes to think she is fun but is radically impulsive.

Familiar with disasters (see above).

Kat’s finishing her PhD with creative component at UoA with Dr Mullen and Prof. O’Connor. Kat recently created verbatim-play, Squeaky Wheel, staging advocacy and ally-ship with/for those living with cerebral palsy. Squeaky Wheel tours Aotearoa in 2023 with Kat’s children, a newborn, wheelchairs, walkers and a very cheeky assistance dog. In her spare time Kat likes to… wait. What? Kat has no spare time.

Bree Hadley, Katie Ellis, Janice Rieger, Eddie Paterson – Travelling together safely: cultural safety as a foundation for allyship in disability arts.

The practice of allies – the non-disabled producers, directors, curators and facilitators who support the work of disabled artists – has not been subject to dedicated analysis to date (Hadley, Rieger, Paterson & Ellis 2022). In this paper, we draw on research from recent Australian Research Council projects to consider cultural safety, respect, and trust as a precursor to the good allyship that enables us to work towards a more inclusive performing arts sector. We outline factors that influence feelings of safety or non-safety for disabled artists. We examine the legacy of the medical model that makes it difficult for many would-be allies to appreciate and enact enablers of safety as part of an allyship relationship in the performing arts. We assess different approaches to ally training which seek to develop knowledge, competence, and confidence amongst would-be allies – from information focused on legislation, language, and protocols, to more reflective programs focused on understanding issues of labour, status, and capital that may lead us to act as performative or ‘pseudo’ rather than active, committed, community endorsed allies. We argue that education through reports and training sessions is not enough to ensure would be arts allies can establish cultural safety. What is required, we propose, is direct shared experience of how disabled artists and long-term allies enact cultural safety through the disability space, time and relational concepts central to disability arts, culture, and aesthetics (Hadley, Paterson & Little 2022).


Bree Hadley, Janice Rieger, Katie Ellis, Eddie Paterson. 2022 Cultural safety as a foundation for allyship in disability arts. Disability & Society.

Hadley, Bree, Paterson, Eddie, and Little, Madeline. 2022. Quick Trust and Slow Time: Relational Innovations in Disability Performing Arts Practice. International Journal of Disability & Social Justice. 2.

Bree Hadley is editor of the Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts Culture and Media (2019, with Donna McDonald), and author of Disability, Public Space Performance & Spectatorship: Unconscious Performers (Palgrave 2014), along with articles on diversity, access, and inclusion in the arts across journals, industry press, newspapers, and other platforms. Her performance text The Excentric Fixations Project recently appeared in At the Intersection of Disability and Drama: A Critical Anthology of New Plays (McFarlane 2021), and her collaboration on the Vis-Ability Exhibition with Janice Rieger (QUT Art Museum 2019) won a 2021 International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) and a 2020 Australian Museums & Gallery Association Award.

Katie Ellis

Janice Rieger is an expert in co-design methodologies with communities of people with disability. Her research on disability in museums and galleries has appeared in top international journals and books – including the Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture, and Media (2019), Space and Culture (2022), CoDesign (2020), and Museum Management and Curatorship (2021)– as well as award winning exhibitions and accessible design programs in Australia, Canada, and Europe. / Katie Ellis is an internationally recognised leader in disability media research. She is the author or editor of 17 books including Disability and Digital Television Cultures (Routledge 2019), Disability Media Work (Palgrave 2016), Disability and Popular Culture (Routledge 2015), and Disability and New Media (with Kent, Routledge 2011), and has published articles in influential journals including Continuum, Communication, Politics and Culture, and Disability and Society.

Eddie Paterson is a drama, theatre, and performance researcher and playwright. Paterson has successfully managed and collaborated on numerous large-scale research projects, including the recent ARC funded project Disability and the performing arts in Australia.. He is author of The Contemporary American Monologue (Bloomsbury 2015) and Once Upon Pixel: Storytelling and Worldbuilding in Videogames (with Simpson-Williams and Cordner, CRC 2020).

Session 2.2 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 2pm – 3.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Chris Hay

Jonathan W. Marshall – Tony Ding Chai Yap: A case study of the syncretic nature of Australian Butoh & relate forms which ‘travel together’, in body and culture

For over 30 years, Dr Tony Ding Chai Yap has been at the forefront of Australian butoh dance. He has performed alone as well as in collaborations, notably with the only long term Australian butoh performer of Japanese descent, Yumi Umiumare. Yap’s identification with butoh is complex, as he has no formal training in the style, but has developed an idiosyncratic, syncretic approach which is often seen by audiences and critics as close to butoh. Nevertheless, Yap’s interest in figures such as Hijikata Tatsumi (the founder of butoh) and Mishima Yukio (a Japanese literary figure close to Hijikata and butoh) dates back at least to Yap’s award-winning solo Decay of the Angel (1999). Yap is of Peranakan (Chinese-Malay) descent, coming to Australia in 1976 to study visual arts. He has since developed what he calls trance dance, which builds on his work in butoh and Grotowski to draw on the divinatory-therapeutic rituals and entranced performance forms of the Indo-Pacific region, including the Bantengan bull trance carnival of the East Javan city Batu, Javan royal court performers in the Bedoyo dance style, but in particular, the practices which Yap witnessed as a child in Melaka in which locals seeking advice or to be healed would call up Chinese and Malay shen (神; spirits or deities) through the agent of a medium. Yap began formally researching these practices in 2004, and in 2021, this culminated in his performance Animal/God, submitted for his PhD degree. Since 2008, Yap has been director of the Melaka Art and Performance Festival (MAP Fest), taking advantage of this much used sea passage separating Sumatra (northern Indonesia, south of Melaka) from the Malay Peninsula and Singapore. In his performances, Yap literally ‘travels together,’ allowing other entities and forces to join him within his own corporeality and psyche. Yap’s dance and biography provides an exemplary example of the productive fertility of such ‘travels together’ for the arts and culture of Australia and the region. This presentation will survey Yap’s works, offering visual and video documentation which Yap has collected as part of his collaboration with Marshall on the ARC-LIEF project, AusStage: The International Breakthrough (2021-22).

Assoc. Prof. Jonathan W. Marshall is an interdisciplinary scholar with a background in history. Marshall is the author of “Performing Neurology: The Dramaturgy of Dr Jean-Martin Charcot” (Palgrave MacMillan 2016). Marshall has been publishing on butoh dance & Australian iterations of the style as both a journalist & academic since 1995. He has published key essays on butoh in “Performance Paradigm” (2006), “TDR: The Drama Review” (2013) & “The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance” (2018). Marshall is coordinator of postgraduate studies at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth.

Em Chandler – Strangeness and wonder: Magic, theatre, and enchantment

An inadequate description of this well-known phenomenon. He reflects that if someone really wants to engage with something, they believe in it, rather than disregarding their lack of belief; going on to describe this undertaking as a ‘Secondary Belief’ (a belief in a Secondary World). Tolkien uses the term Enchantment to describe the creation of a Secondary World, “which both designer and spectator can enter, to the satisfaction of their senses”. Later, he states that Secondary Belief is an innate part of drama and crucial to fantasy, whilst also claiming “Drama is naturally hostile to Fantasy” – drama cannot contain Enchantment.

Early in his career, Canadian magician Doug Henning proposed that “Magic plus theatre equals art”. He went on to be one of the most popular and successful magicians of the 1970’s and 80’s. This paper will use four case studies – the musicals Merlin and The Magic Show, written for Doug Henning; Jack Thorne’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; and Derek Del Gaudio’s In & Of Itself – to explore the relationship between magic and theatre generally, along with examining how Enchantment is made with in theatre. It will then examine magic’s role in producing Enchantment, and how other theatrical mediums are able to create Enchantment.

After summarising the author’s initial research in this field, the paper will conclude by positing how a ‘Theatre of Enchantment’ might be created, and the pathways the author will use to continue this research.

Em Chandler (she/they) is a proud queer and trans theatre-maker, magician, and storyteller. Passionate about multidisciplinary work, fairy tales, and creating enchantment, this year Em commenced a PhD at Federation University, Australia, exploring the interconnectedness of magic, enchantment, and narrative theatre. A member of the inaugural Lemony S Puppet Lab, Em’s work has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “pure enchantment”. Their show, Once Upon a Rhyme, was awarded the Candlelight Productions Scholarship for Artistic Excellence at the 2016 Melbourne Magic Festival. They recently presented and performed at the Australian Fairy Tale Society Conference in Brisbane.

Rob Doran – Fields-of-Being: The dramaturgy of Da-sein

This paper applies Martin Heidegger’s hermeneutic phenomenology as a dramaturgical lens to examine three plays: Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit, Matt Cameron’s Ruby Moon, and Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis. The paper does not suggest the playwrights were influenced by Heidegger’s ideas but identifies parallels between the dramaturgy of their works and Heideggerian thought, thus proposing Heidegger’s philosophy as useful to dramaturgical practice for contemporary playwrights. Central to this is the concept of Da-sein (the Being of an entity, conscious of the entity’s being-in-the-world). Da-sein’s awareness of being is grounded in its external encounter of objects and other Da-sein it experiences-in-the-world. Such existential phenomena are discovered in oppositional presence within a mutually shared field-of-being. When a playwright places a character into a play, they define the character’s field-of-being: the where, when, what, why and who of the character’s directed concern. Heidegger further argues that Da-sein is only conscious of its Being through being-within-time, and the only time Da-sein can be conscious of being-within-time is in its present existence: now. Da-sein’s field-of-being is always its immediate present, the momentary cusp between horizons of the past as memory and experience, and the future as intentional advent in being-towards. The playwright, when scribing a character’s field of being, is always designing the character’s present, even when set in a chronological past. Yet as with Da-sein, and as with our selves, the present is a cumulative experience of being-in-the-world thus far, in being-toward our becoming. Wherever we are now, we bring with us the experience of all the existential phenomena encountered on the path to our present field-of-being-in-the-world. The hermeneutic of this paper is to examine such concepts in the selected works, as contribution to the wider discussion of commonalities and interstices between theatre and philosophy.

Robert Doran has taught drama, theatre studies, acting technique and script writing for twenty-five years. He continues his professional development as a PhD candidate with UNE. His original stage productions as playwright and director include Spirit of the Lore (2013) for ACPA & the Brisbane Festival; Moiety (2016) for ACPA & QPAC; Mortality and Polity (2017) in the Adelaide Fringe Festival; and Battle-Scarred Phallic Wounds (2014), Orion’s Way (2014), and Hunting Phia (2016) for The Actors Workshop. Rob has been published internationally in the Glasgow Review of Books (2017), Performing Islam (2018) and the Journal of Camus Studies (2019).

Session 2.3 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 2pm – 3.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-209

Chair: Murray Edmond

David O’Donnell – Travels in the avant grade: Re-assessing Alan Brunton’s scripts

It was 3am when we drove into New York from Mexico, under the Hudson River, and turned our 1969 Buick Le Sabre onto Broadway – Sally Rodwell, introduction to goin’ to Djibouti by Alan Brunton

The art of journeying was blended into the bloodstream of New Zealand’s longest-lived avant garde theatre company Red Mole. Founded by Sally Rodwell and Alan Brunton in 1974, over its 32-year lifespan Red Mole performed throughout New Zealand and in locations as diverse as New York, London, Sheffield, Austin, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Cardiff, Puerto Rico, Port Vila, Sydney, Norway and Amsterdam. Brunton’s sadly premature death occurred on one such journey to Amsterdam, exactly twenty years ago. Among the many traces of Red Mole’s travels are Brunton’s published scripts, which are themselves full of journeys. Murray Edmond comments that “the question of authorship in relation to Red Mole’s works is complex”, noting that though several Red Mole scripts were partially written by Brunton, others were credited to “the Ensemble”. (Edmond, 128) While Red Mole are remembered for their distinctively visual and eclectic performance style, Brunton was a poet and a lover of language. His scripts contain the spoken poetry that complemented, supported and enriched the vital theatricality of Red Mole’s shows. The scripts reflect the spirit and theories of International Modernism, which travelled to New Zealand via artistic channels and networks, and became transformative in the context of New Zealand’s somewhat insular and hierarchical theatre culture at that time. As Susan Stanford Friedman has argued, building on Edward Said’s essays “Traveling Theory” and “Traveling Theory Reconsidered”, when transplanted to the postcolonial world, modernist theories are “transformed” in their new context, that they “can be more ‘radical’ or ‘rebellious’ than their original formulation” (Stanford Friedman, 219). In this paper I ask, how do Brunton’s scripts reflect the travels of artistic ideas to New Zealand, as well as the actual journeys of Red Mole’s members? What larger themes emerge from the concept of travel, meetings, exchange and connections made on the road? What is the legacy of Alan Brunton as a playwright, and how might his scripts speak to us today?

David O’Donnell is Professor of Theatre at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand. David is an award-winning director whose productions have been staged throughout New Zealand. He has published widely on New Zealand and Pacific theatre, including co-editing the book Performing Aotearoa (2007) with Marc Maufort, and co-writing Floating Islanders: Pasifika Theatre in Aotearoa (2017) with Lisa Warrington. Since 2010 he has edited 22 books and play collections as editor of the Playmarket New Zealand Play Series.

Pedro Ilgenfritz – The Journey of Jacques Lecoq’s theatre pedagogy to Aotearoa New Zealand

2021 was the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of five Jacques Lecoq graduates in Auckland. A group of five graduates from Lecoq’s school came to Auckland in 1971 and created a theatre company called Theatre Action. Together, they started spreading Lecoq’s teaching via the performance of theatre works, workshops and trained locals to join the company. The dissemination of Lecoq’s pedagogy continued; today, traces of it are present in productions of fully funded professional theatre companies, reached mainstream drama schools, and has become a well-known acting training methodology.

This paper summarizes my Ph.D. study on Jacques Lecoq’s Theatre Pedagogy voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand, where I examine questions of conservation, disruption, and extension of Lecoq’s teaching using the framework of the historical genealogy of French philosopher Michel Foucault. It discusses the changes and transformation of Lecoq’s inheritance in four moments: its first introduction by Theatre Action; the installation of two Lecoq-based schools in Australia where New Zealanders went to study: The Drama Action Centre in Sydney and The John Bolton Theatre School in Melbourne; the influence of Lecoq’s teaching in drama schools; and the adaptation of Lecoq’s pedagogy in theatre directing, creation and performance.

Pedro Ilgenfritz is a Brazilian-born theatre director and senior lecturer at Unitec Performing and Screen Arts Department in Auckland. He teaches movement for actors, masks, improvisation, history, and theatre theory. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland, and his research examines the genealogy of Jacques Lecoq in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Sarah Thomasson and Oliver Knott – Connecting communities: A history of the Auckland Festival of the Arts (1949-82) 

International Arts Festivals are important sites for connection and exchange within and between communities. Post-war performing arts festivals, particularly the foundational events in Edinburgh and Avignon that began in 1947, were ‘shaped by a modernist belief in the inestimable value of cultural activity’ to aid in the recovery from the trauma of war (Bradby and Delgado 2). Centred around a ‘narrative of continental reunification’, these European festivals focused on high culture while emphasising ‘national identity, societal benefit, educational enrichment, and the provision of arts and culture to communities outside the metropole’ (Zaointz 16). In this region, the history of the Auckland Festival of the Arts (1949-82), one of the first post-war arts festivals in Australasia, disrupts this broader narrative through its championing of amateur production and its focus on fostering local arts lovers. Beginning as a music festival in 1949, the inaugural programme declares the festival’s aim to ‘bring music to the people’ to enhance their ‘appreciation and enthusiasm’ for music. Dramatic performance, having first appeared in 1951, grew throughout the 1950s and 1960s and was usually presented by local amateur companies often in collaboration with the British Drama League. In this paper, we chart the expansion of drama within the Auckland Festival programme and analyse the shifting conditions of its production alongside the development of the overall event. The changing priorities revealed through analysis of Auckland Festival’s dramatic programme, aided by archival research and data visualisation, is also indicative of how nationalist sentiments evolved throughout this period. Despite the rupture in Auckland’s arts festival history from 1982 until it was revived in 2003, this early festival’s commitment to local artistic expression over international ‘artistic excellence’ requires a reconsideration of the dominant narratives in post-war festival history.

Sarah Thomasson is Lecturer in Theatre at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. She writes on contemporary theatre and performance practices with a focus on international arts festivals and their fringes. Her monograph, The Festival Cities of Edinburgh and Adelaide, is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan.

Oliver Knott is a current Health Psychology Master’s student at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington who is completing his thesis on the value of theatre as an educational tool for teaching consent and healthy relationships to teenagers. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Theatre and Psychology in 2021, Oliver is interested in researching the role that theatre has in shaping our understandings of ourselves and others through a multitude of disciplinary lenses.

Session 2.4 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 2pm – 3.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-203

Chair: Stephen Carleton

Vanessa Byrnes – Essential ‘SHARP’ skills: Defining creative abilities in a post-pandemic World

Now, perhaps more than ever, the post-pandemic world needs creativity and the complete set of attributes that traditionally lie in the creative sector. As we journey through and out the plague variants, all domains are being asked to find fast alternative solutions to both new and age-old problems in ever-changing times; to pivot, adapt, and evolve. Since creativity is an essential skillset in work and education environments, this paper explores the concentrated need for creative abilities to exist as both core and transferable skillsets.

It also looks closely at creativity per se. In 2019, I offered a framework of creativity in which soft skills could be better described in a ten-point matrix known as ‘SHARP’ skills. Has the ensuing pandemic changed this? What new connections have been discovered to advance this definition?

This paper offers a notion of creativity that speaks to Deleuze and Guattari’s imagining of what they considered necessary for the artistic (and perhaps human) ideal to exist, and draws on recent global perspectives on creativity including research that sheds light on what can be seen as essential post-pandemic approaches to creativity. The creative domain is no longer just for creatives. ‘SHARP’ skills are essential for contemporary learners in all disciplines, and a thriving post-pandemic world requires all lines of flight to be connected to these essential creative skillsets.

Dr. Vanessa Byrnes is an award-winning director, actor, producer, and performance lecturer who’s worked extensively in performing and screen arts in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and overseas. She has led and collaborated on more than 180 theatre and screen productions during the past 30 years in everything from independent, self-funded works to major international productions in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and overseas. This includes numerous feature films, short films, TV commercials/drama, radio, and theatre. She is a passionate advocate of the power of creativity to activate brilliance beyond the creative sector, the significance of the role of the artist in society, and the quality and innovation of Aotearoa/New Zealand work. In 2000 she was the first Australasian to assistant-direct at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (London), a watershed experience that allowed her to deepen a style of interpretive directing that abides by form to find creative freedom. Her creative practice skills have translated into a range of teaching methods and evolving andragogies in the tertiary education sector over the past 30 years.

Vanessa is currently Head of School: Creative Industries/Manukura: Te Kura O Ngā Mahi Auaha at Unitec/Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka, Auckland, encompassing Design & Contemporary Arts and Performing & Screen Arts. She has been fortunate to educate many diverse industry professionals at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, Unitec, the University of Waikato (including Te Timatanga Hou), Victoria University of Wellington, Beijing Dance Academy, Shanghai Theatre Academy, and Shakespeare’s Globe (London), Otago Polytechnic, and The NZ Film School, amongst others.

Vanessa has held senior leadership roles for various arts education bodies and freelances as a director/actor under her production company. As a past Board Member of Downstage Theatre, PlayMarket, the Shakespeare Globe Centre (NZ), and TAPAC: The Auckland Performing Arts Centre, she is keen to ensure that the future for our developing sectors is dynamic. She is driven by the power of collective impact through art, and the impact of mana-enhancing kaupapa through creative practice. Of Irish/NZ Pakeha descent, Vanessa is a keen proponent of indigenous methodologies and knowledge-making practices that elevate intergenerational mana: ‘He toi whakairo, he mana tangata’: ‘Where there is artistic excellence, there is human dignity’.

Zhaoxi Zheng – Post-COVID theatres: Understanding young adults’ perspectives and experiences

Australian theatres have an increasingly homogenous audience – one that has higher levels of education and income, and older in age (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019). Responding to calls to effectively and imaginatively transform theatres into more accessible spaces that welcome engagements from all ages and experiences (Giles, 2018), this paper offers to investigate young adults’ (18-35-year-old) perspectives of theatre in a post-COVID context. This group is often marginalised amongst theatre attendees. Considering their less-frequent theatre engagement and often-precarious financial statuses, they often fail to meet the neoliberal expectation and reality, which modern theatres rely on to profit (Giles, 2018; Scollen, 2008).

Co-designed with Queensland Theatre, this mixed method study aims to identify socio-cultural and practical barriers and opportunities for young adults’ greater theatre access. Drawing on data from 200+ survey responses and 10 semi-structured interviews, we uncover ideological and discursive tensions between young adults’ expectation and experiences of theatre. Using critical discourse analytic methods through a Bourdieusian lens of capital (Bourdieu, 1984), we expose the underlying reasons that explains young adults’ sensitivity to price. Despite willing to support the theatre, young adults have a low level of awareness of theatre in general and often lack the financial capability to afford theatre at its current price. As such, being a risky financial endeavour, theatre becomes increasingly less appealing amongst young adults. In addition, affordability often couples with other factors to produce theatre as an activity for more niched audiences. Our findings offer insight into how theatre might support and empower greater engagement with live performance amongst younger audiences and facilitate new audience development initiatives.

Zhaoxi Zheng is a sociology PhD candidate at the School of Social Science, the University of Queensland. Zhaoxi has a background in health sciences (public health) and has expertise in critical social theories, qualitative research methods, and creative post-qualitative inquiries. Whilst his interests encompass a range of social and health themes, Zhaoxi’s work is mostly situated in the field of early childhood education and care, and the sociology of death and dying. In his current doctoral research, Zhaoxi uses child-led, play-based, and artistic methods to explore young children’s everyday social and material encounters with death.

James Wenley – Performing through the pandemic: Shifting policies and destinations for Aotearoa’s theatre ecology between 2020-2022

When exercising during Aotearoa New Zealand’s first country wide lockdown in March 2020, I would often pause by the closed doors of BATS Theatre, the home of Wellington’s independent live performance artists. Hand written in pen on the theatre’s glass window was the Māori whakataukī (proverb) “he waka eke noa”, with an english translation underneath, “we’re all in the same boat”. The adoption of this saying in the first stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in Aotearoa, alongside prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s appeal to the “team of five million”, represented a common purpose in facing the virus through caring for the wider community. As the pandemic extended into 2021 and 2022, and policies shifted from a collective public health approach towards an individualised risk assessment, the rhetoric no longer holds that the country is all in the same boat and travelling together in its pandemic response.

I will explore how the Government’s policy shift in managing Covid-19 is playing out in Aotearoa’s theatre and performance ecology as the sector attempts to define a ‘new normal’ for the production of live performance in the pandemic environment. While Aotearoa’s elimination approach in the first 18 months of the pandemic resulted in extended periods with few restrictions on gathering, the period following the Delta variant outbreak in August 2021, and the end of the Government’s elimination strategy, has been marked by significant cancellations and disruption for live performance in Aotearoa, exacerbated by the Omicron variant outbreak in January 2022.

What trends are emerging over the pandemic period? Where is the boat travelling towards at the end of 2022? Are we all in the same boat? What would it mean for Aotearoa’s theatre and performance ecology to embrace the wisdom contained in the whakataukī “he waka eke noa”?

Dr James Wenley is a Pākehā theatre academic, practitioner, and critic with a passion for promoting the theatre of Aotearoa New Zealand. He is a lecturer in the theatre programme of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. He has recently written and performed two shows, Dr Drama Makes A Show (2020) and Dr Drama Makes A Show With You (2021). James is also the editor and founder of, a platform for reviews and commentary on Aotearoa theatre. His book, Aotearoa New Zealand in the Global Theatre Marketplace: Travelling Theatre, is published by Routledge.

Session 2.5 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 2pm – 3.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-201

Chair: Alys Longley

Rheannan Port and Carol Brown – Body time for reckoning with space and place

How might Cultural Safety, Acknowledging Country and a reckoning with past injustices undergird travelling together as a mode of embodied storying for an intergenerational group of dancers cultivating a sense of belonging? In April 2022 nine VCA Dance Masters students participated in a Residency led by Rheannan Port on Yorta Yorta Country. Titled Body Time Space Place, the residency explored kinship, care and the ethics of encountering place from an Indigenous perspective. Sited on the grounds of one of Australia’s first Settler-Colonial Agricultural Colleges, Dookie Campus University of Melbourne, students were encouraged to see beyond the ‘blindness of Australian agriculture’ evidenced in the site’s gridded paddocks and wheat silos, to imagine the deep tracks of knowledge that criss-crossed the lands, waters and atmospheres of the place including through the Traditional Fire Practice of its first peoples of Yorta Yorta Country. Performing their Acknowledgements to Country, the dancers considered how their stories interwove with this place. ‘Storying’, as Tracey Bunda and Louise Philip (2018) describe it, has the capacity to activate a plurality of meanings multiplying their significance whilst resisting closure . Through individual and collective embodied storying using found materials, movement and voice, dancers were able to locate themselves affectively; awakening, reclaiming and retaining memories that could be uncomfortable, difficult and upsetting. The agricultural colonisation of Australia by Europeans has had far reaching consequences for Indigenous peoples and the biodiversity of the continent. Land clearing and the introduction of hard-hooved animals altered plant communities and changed the texture of the earth from soft soils to hard packed earth. Embodied storying that somatically activates spongy feet and bower bird behaviours, activated not just a yearning for recovery from the broken paradigm of agriculture, but a reconnecting and affirming of belonging to a community in a process of change. Travelling-with through place-based storying, hearts, minds and bodies worked together, through an intentional and purposeful reimagining of nature in culture. This ‘withness’ (Lisa Samuels 2018) embodied a turning towards the past in the present, staying-with the breaks and disruptions of time and history to imagine how dance matters in its persistence and purposeful performance of place.

Carol Brown is a choreographer, dancer and artist-scholar from Ōtepoti, Aotearoa. Her dancing takes place in diverse locations and engages in sustained processes of co-creation. After completing one of the first practice-led PhDs in Dance at the University of Surrey, Carol was invited to become The Place Theatre London’s Choreographer in Residence. Together with composer Russell Scoones she founded Carol Brown Dances, a company dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration. Carol Brown Dances have toured internationally and been commissioned by major festivals including Roma Europa, Dance Umbrella, Brighton Festival and Ars Electronica. Recent works include the rooftop performance LungSong (EcoWest, 2019), the interactive dance-architecture, Singularity (Ars Electronica, Linz 2017) and PAH in collaboration with Gillian Whitehead and Star Gossage (Auckland Arts Festival 2015). Carol’s work has been acknowledged through a NESTA Dream Time Fellowship, the Jerwood Choreography Prize, and the Ludwig Forum International Prize. She writes regularly for peer-reviewed journals on performance, technology and space from a feminist perspective and supervises artistic doctoral research. Carol is Head of Dance and Professor of Choreography at the University of Melbourne.

Rheannan Port, born in Mossman, Queensland is from the Lama Lama tribe on the east coast of Coen, Cape York. She is also a descendant of the Kuku Yulanji tribe of the Daintree. A graduate of the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA), she joined Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2003. During her time with Bangarra, Rheannan participated on Regional, Australian and International Tours to America, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Rheannan has a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Arts Management and recently completed her MFA in Indigenous Contemporary Dance at the University of Melbourne. In 2011, she performed the role of Gomuka in Short Black Opera’s Melbourne season of Deborah Cheetham’s acclaimed opera Pecan Summer. In 2022 Rheannan was appointed Lecturer in Dance at VCA, University of Melbourne. She leads the Kummarge Programme for First Nations Dance Students and the Masters of Dance Subject, Body Time Space Place.

Philipa Rothfield – Collaboration beyond subjectivity, agents and actants in the field of dance

This paper seeks to explore notions of artistic agency in dialogue with a work I am currently engaged in (with Priya Srinivasan), a feminist, intercultural collaborative project entitled, The Durga Chronicles, to be shown at Arts House, Melbourne this September. It seeks a decentred approach to questions of agency, which allows for collaborative processes that range across multiple cultural and kinaesthetic differences.

It offers a decentred account of agency by rethinking the body as a mode of becoming, a mobile formation, consisting of multiple forces that enter into changing relationships. What kinds of forces are identified in the particular instance is a question of political, cultural and kinaesthetic perspective. The discussion draws upon Friedrich Nietzsche and Gilles Deleuze, Jane Bennett and Bruno Latour to think about the process of making work in relation to force, chance and collaborative becoming. In the process, it will adapt Bennett’s notion of vibrant matter to the field of performance-making, to speculate on the matter of making work.

Philipa Rothfield is honorary Professor of Dance and Philosophy of the Body at the University of Southern Denmark, also Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Politics at La Trobe University. She has recently been appointed Honorary Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, where she is currently teaching dance and philosophy. She is Creative Advisor at Dancehouse, Melbourne, Australia, and Co-Editor of the Dancehouse Diary. Recent publications include Dance and the Corporeal Uncanny, Philosophy in Motion (Routledge, 2021) and Practising with Deleuze (co-authored)(Edinburgh University Press, 2017). She is a dance reviewer and Chair of the Dance Panel of the Melbourne Green Room Awards.

Amaara Raheem – The Red Shoes: Choreography and magic

This lecture-performance takes on the historical, aesthetic, autobiographic and magical qualities of the red shoes, unearthing notions of ‘travelling together’ and ‘withness’. Through focusing on this specific object and its occult powers, this lecture-performance proposes to explore choreography and magic. The legendary ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939) represent transformation and bewitched link to ‘home’. With one click of the red shoes, Dorothy is transported back to the farm, at the speed of magic: a click, a snap, a pop, a flick. The red shoes continue as an object of passion and power in a film of the same title directed by Powell and Pressburger (1948). The plot based on the 1845 eponymous fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, where a young peasant girl (a ballerina in the film) becomes enamoured with a pair of red shoes that dance her to her death. Further, my choreographic practice operates in two kinds of time. 1. slowness and 2. At the speed of magic. I think these timings – slow and magic – are not binaries but exist in relation. Drawing on the work of theorist Silvia Federici on witchcraft and capitalism, the scores by dance-witch Charlie Ashwell, and the writings on ‘Pleasure Activism’ by Adrienne Marie Brown I propose the red shoes as an emergent strategy; activating fairytales as method in order to ask, how and what does dancing allow us to see, hear, feel, intuit and know?

Amaara Raheem (b. Colombo) is a Sri Lankan-Australian dance-artist, researcher and writer working with movement and language as migrant. Her work is site-specific, multi-modal and includes live performance, video, text, voice and improvisation. She’s often involved in collaborative processes of dance/art/performance making, underpinned by a strong feminist sensibility. She holds a PhD by practice from the School of Architecture and Urban Design (RMIT University) and was recently selected for the ABC Top 5.

Session 2.6 – Paper Panel

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 2pm – 3.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-220

Susan Fenty Studham, Clint Bracknell, Kylie Bracknell, Kyle Morrson and Trevor Ryan – Brave Spaces: Transforming rehearsal sites for culturally centred performance making

Brave space: “safely fostering challenging dialogue” (Arao & Clemens 2013)

This panel addresses approaches to performance making, embracing the philosophy of brave spaces in performance processes that support artists and honour culture. We delineate between brave and safe spaces and look at the creation of holistic rehearsal and performance sites, respectful collaborations, and reframe European-based protocols to centre culturally specific performance practices and traditions. The five-member panel shares their experiences in the development of two Noongar-based productions: Hecate (2000) and Noongar Wonderland (2022). Hecate, the ground-breaking adaption of Macbeth presented entirely in one endangered Aboriginal language, was a landmark production in Australian theatre, garnering industry awards in the process. The 2022 Perth Festival Closing Event, Noongar Wonderland, was a multi-sensory, site-specific experience guided by stories of Country. This immersive performance shared stories, traditions, song, history and dance on Country that has vibrated with the energy of the Noongar culture for centuries. Noongar centric approaches to process on both productions were led by director Kylie Bracknell. This panel explores variation in rehearsal sites, centring processes that respect culture in the performance making space and offering strategies to transform the creative environment to support brave spaces.

Reference paper: “Supporting the performance of Noongar language in Hecate”

Keynote Presentation

Wednesday 7th December
NZ Time – 4pm – 5pm
Room: Humanities 206-220

Chair: Nicola Hyland

Liza-Mare Syron – Ngapa Yaan – Niibi Aanmitaagzi: Connection and exchange In 2019 artists from two companies met in Bundanon on the South Coast of NSW to begin a transnational cultural arts exchange to celebrate women’s stories about serpents and water. The companies, Moogahlin Performing Arts, located in Redfern Sydney Australia, and Aanmitaagzi Big Medicine Studio situated on Lake Nipissing Ontario Turtle Island Canada worked through culturally informed models of exchange and practices to develop responses to these stories with the aim of creating artistic outcomes. The first development, co-led by Aanmitaagzi artists Penny Couchie and Meg Paulin, was based on a durational practice of story weaving. This was an investigative approach informed by a sense of unfolding, and defined by connections to people, country, and ancestors. The second part of the development, co- led by Moogahlin artists Lily Shearer and Liza-Mare Syron, employed a model defined as ‘our stories with your people’, which is a process that employs the substitution of artist from different cultures and localities. The first outcome of this exchange, Ngapa Yaan Niibi Aanmitaagzi (Water Speaks), is a visual and spoken word digital work commissioned for the 2022 Sydney Biennale. This project was informed by responses to two cultural stories, The Serpent People from Nipissing Lake, and The Mundaggada from Murrawarri country. For this presentation I briefly outline the culturally informed models of exchange employed in this transnational cultural arts collaboration, I discuss the production processes that were led by these models, and I present Ngapa Yaan Niibi Aanmitaagzi. Liza-Mare has family ties to the Biripay people from the Mid North Coast of NSW. A theatre maker and academic, Liza-Mare is currently an Indigenous Scientia Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Media at UNSW. She is widely published in the field of Indigenous performing arts and has recently published a book on the Rehearsal Practices of Indigenous Women Theatre Makers: Australia, Aotearoa, and Turtle Island (Palgrave Macmillan 2021). She is a founding member of Moogahlin Performing Arts, and as a key member of the company’s Co-Artistic Directorate for over ten years has recently been appointed Senior Artistic Associate. Liza-Mare is widely published in the area of Indigenous performing arts practice and has lectured on the subject as the Head of Theatre at the Eora Centre in Sydney 2000-2010, at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts NIDA, and at UNSW. Liza-Mare also sits on a range of arts boards both locally and nationally. As a theatre maker, Liza-Mare’s directorial roles include, The Fox and the Freedom Fighters (Performance Space 2014), Broken Glass (Blacktown Arts/Sydney Festival/Moogahlin 2018), The Weekend (Sydney Festival/Moogahlin 2019), Rainbows End (Darlinghurst Theatre /Moogahlin), and Gods Country (NIDA). In the role of producer Liza-Mare has presented Koori Gras a celebration of Black queer performance (Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras/Moogahlin 2017-2020), The Visitors (Sydney Festival/Moogahlin 2020), and manuwi jam ya murong (MCA/Moogahlin 2017). Liza-Mare also works as a dramaturge on various independent projects across the country. Her qualifications include Doctor of Arts (University of Sydney), Master of Creative Arts Research (University of Wollongong), Master of Adult Education (UTS), and Diploma of Dramatic Art (Victorian College of Arts). Liza-Mare has received the following academic awards from the Australasian Theatre and Performance Studies Association, the 2005 Phillip Parsons Prize for Performance as Research, the 2010 Marlis Thiersch Prize for research excellence in an English-language article, and a 2015 Rob Jordon award citation for a book chapter.

Session 3.1 – Paper Panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 9am – 10.30am
Room: Humanities 206-220

Chair: Denise Varney

Molly Mullen, Mark Harvey, Marie McEntee and Kat Thomas – Being trees: A arts-based inquiry into ngahere ora – forest health  

This presentation reports on the first year of a participatory, arts-based inquiry project with two Auckland primary schools focused on forest health, particularly kauri dieback and myrtle rust. These plant pathogens are devastating Aotearoa’s ngahere-forests, causing ecological, cultural, social and economic impacts. While people spread these diseases, they can also be part of solutions. The Biosecurity Strategy (2025) aims to make New Zealanders aware and involved in biosecurity management as a “team of 4.7 million”. But children are not typically included in biosecurity strategy or forest management and do not have consistent access to knowledge about forest health. Toitū te ngahere asks children and schools to investigate forest health issues in their rohe-area and raise community awareness through the arts. By engaging children in science, mātauranga and art practices that enhance the mana of the ngahere, the projects aims to support them to act collectively as kaitiaki and science communicators about forest health.

In this presentation we focus on the ways the two partner schools integrated drama, storytelling and performance into their inquiries. For Haraway (2018), storytelling is essential to multi-species environmental justice. We consider the ways drama and storytelling created “contact zones” in which children could be present to and think with different knowledges and perhaps also with trees (Haraway, 2018, p. 102-3).

Molly Mullen is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. Her research focuses on the intersection of policy, funding and practice in applied theatre and other community-based art practices. She is one of the co-editors of Research in Drama Education (RiDE).

Marie McEntee is a transdisciplinary social scientist at Waipapa Taumata Rau – The University of Auckland, who researches science and society interactions relating to environmental issues. Marie’s research seeks to facilitate greater alignment and effective communication between scientists and community.

 Mark Harvey (Matawaka iwi /Pākehā) is an artist working in performance and video with a focus on social justice, ecological and environmental issues who also writes. He holds a PhD from the School of Art and Design, AUT University and is a Senior Lecturer at CAI, The University of Auckland.

Kat Thomas trained in directing at Toi Whakaari and is currently working towards a PhD with Creative Practice at the University of Auckland. Her recent production for Auckland Fringe 2021, Squeaky Wheel, won the PANNZ and Whangarei Fringe Northern Opportunity awards.

Tessa Rixon, Tanja Beer and Ian Garret – Designing through climate change: Embedding an ecoscenographic framework into tertiary performance pedagogy

This presentation considers the shift of theatre and performance design towards an ecologically ethical approach to creation. Situated within the growing field of ecoscenography, our internationally collaborative teaching practice seeks to understand how our students – as makers and designers – can move together through climate change towards a sustainable future. We will share the process of and subsequent impact of embedding ecoscenographic thinking into the education of tertiary theatre students. As part of a Global Networked Learning initiative between York University (Canada), Griffith University (Australia) and Queensland University of Technology (Australia), twenty-five university students were trained in sustainable, ecologically conscious approaches to designing for live performance across 2021/22. Students were guided by professional designers and educators in scenography, sustainability and technology, working in partnership with the 2021 Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) project to produce seed design concepts for new climate plays for exhibition at the World Stage Design Festival in Calgary in August 2022. As ecoscenographers, we are deeply committed to reducing the environmental harm of our field, both in professional and academic settings. By encapsulating the “integration of an ecological ethic with performance design”, ecoscenography calls for “new approach to theatre production that overturns traditional production models” (Beer 2021 pp. 4, 18). Building on this call, our project sought to overturn traditional models of design pedagogy by employing the three cornerstones of ecoscenography—co-creation, celebration and circulation—in a higher education context. As a result, we noted a marked impact on students’ engagement with place and space, materiality, and a deeper engagement with community. This presentation will detail our pedagogical approach while sharing the outcomes of adopting an ecological ethic within the training of the next generation of theatre designers.

Tessa Rixon is a practitioner-researcher in intermedial performance, digital scenography & Australian performance design. As Lecturer in Scenography at Queensland University of Technology, Tessa’s work promotes new modes of integrating established and emergent technologies into live performance; exploring the potentiality of authenticity within digital scenography; and showcasing Australian performance design practice and histories. Her latest research explores the impact of the pandemic on digital pedagogies within the creative arts, and the role of technology within ecoscenography

Dr Tanja Beer is an ecological designer, community artist and Senior Lecturer in Design at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia. With more than 20 years professional experience, Tanja has created over 70 designs for a variety of theatre companies, events, exhibitions and festivals in Australia and overseas.

Dr Ian Garrett is designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture. He is Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University, director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Producer for Toasterlab, a mixed reality performance collective.

Natalie Lazaroo, Tanja Beer, Linda Hassall, Julian Meyrick, Jacqui Sommerville – Travelling together during a global environmental crisis: Reflections on the role that Australian theatre organisations can play in addressing climate change

Over the past decade or so, there has been a seismic shift in the way in which global theatre institutions have engaged with environmental challenges. What was once a niche agenda is fast becoming a central topic of discourse across the section, as demonstrated through the recent environmental focus of international conferences, such as the International Federation of Theatre Research (2021), as well as sustainability initiatives like the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre Plan UK.

In Australia, past national initiatives such as Tipping Point and Greening Our Performance provided sustainability guides and carbon calculator tools for theatre production. Nevertheless, funded initiatives have been limited and sporadic, forcing many theatre organisations to pursue environmental initiatives with little to no additional funding or structural support. Thwarted momentum and limited achievements have been the result, exacerbated over the last two years by the sequential lockdowns caused by COVID-19. With no governmental policies, funding models or resources that actively support a climate-based agenda in the cultural sector, there is a clear need to re-evaluate the status of the Australian theatre sector’s responsiveness to the climate crisis, and to investigate policy settings and funding models that are required to re-invigorate the push towards a sustainable future for Australia’s performance industry. This paper therefore considers how theatres can challenge themselves to rethink and ‘green’ their practices in the age of the Anthropocene. In what ways can we envision a more climate resilient future for our theatre ‘ecology’? Is there the potential for Australian theatre organisations to take the lead in the climate crisis debate through their own policies, programming, and practice?

Natalie Lazaroo is a Lecturer in Education at Griffith University, teaching into the areas of Arts Education and English. Her research focuses on cultural citizenship, public pedagogy and socially-engaged performance, and she was recently awarded a fellowship by the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Tanja Beer is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Griffith University, Australia. Her extensive career as an ecological designer, community artist and researcher builds on more than 20 years of theatre practice. Tanja’s pioneering concept of Ecoscenography has been featured in numerous programs, exhibitions, articles and platforms around the world.

Linda Hassall is a practice-led performance researcher focussing on the relationship between artistic theatre practice and landscape and ecocritical perspectives. She has recently published a book Theatres of Dust: Climate Gothic analysis in contemporary Australian drama and performance landscapes (2021) which explores contemporary Australian playwrighting practice through a climate gothic lens.

Jacqui Somerville is Program Director for the Bachelor of Acting at QCGU. She previously worked as an actor, theatre director, writer and producer for over twenty years in the UK before coming to Brisbane. Jacqui has also led educational projects for companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Headlong.

Julian Meyrick is Professor of Creative Arts at Griffith University. He is Literary Adviser for the Queensland Theatre and General Editor of Currency House’s Platform Paper series. He has directed over 40 award-winning theatre productions, and has published numerous books and articles on Australian arts and culture.

Session 3.2 – Paper Panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 9am – 10.30am
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Dorita Hannah

Emma Cox – Interceptive navigation: Aestheticised rescue in the EU migrant panopticon

In January 2022, approximately 70 forced migrants who had taken precarious refuge on Shell’s Miskar oil platform, situated off the coast of Tunisia and within a European search and rescue (SAR) zone, were handed to Tunisian authorities and returned. As one more iteration of the EU’s biopolitical regime of Mediterranean interdiction and quasi-legalised boat turn-back, the incident was normative, but on this occasion, a subsidiary group of 31 people who had been drifting in waters near the oil rig were rescued by the MV Louise Michel, owned by British street artist Banksy. The boat features a spray-paint motif and the word RESCUE in lurid pink, along with a repurposed image of Banksy’s ‘Girl with Balloon’, a version of which self-shredded at auction at Sotheby’s London in 2018. The Louise Michel’s performative, publicised actions represent an explicit aestheticisation of rescue in a region where refugee transit and death are already mediatised spectacles. The Louise Michel’s first operation in 2020 attracted mainstream media coverage, but it had been held at port by authorities until 2022. The vessel is part of a European network of non-state rescue boats. While the criminalisation of NGO migrant rescue obstructs their work, these operations have increased substantially in recent years, entering a space of dangerously diminished EU humanitarian response. Deploying the hashtags #SolidarityAndResistance and #AllBlackLivesMatter, NGO operations situate maritime rescue as an affiliative, direct-action response to state power, within a broad context of global anti-racism. This discursive framing pinpoints the neo-imperial condition of European states, whose power extends beyond territorial borders into what Joseph Pugliese calls the ‘pre-frontier’, forming sites of ‘externalised externality’ that ‘signif[y] an imperially extended and amplified understanding of geopolitical space’. While they cannot stage a reclamation of this space, NGO maritime operations insistently oppose its logic – on water, and via the representational and communicative cultures of social media, fundraising and merchandising. Considering the interceptive navigation of the Louise Michel as a performative practice that is more-than-art and more-than-activism, this paper asks what kind of ‘travelling together’ is enacted by its aestheticisation of maritime rescue.

Emma Cox is Reader and Head of Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her work examines the intersections of migration, memory and place in contemporary performance. She is the author of Performing Noncitizenship (2015) and Theatre & Migration (2014), editor of the play collection Staging Asylum (2013), co-editor of the interdisciplinary volume, Refugee Imaginaries: Research Across the Humanities (2020), and contributing editor of the Digital Theatre+ video and publishing collaboration, Performance and Migration (2021).

Paul Rae – Geoperformance: Performing islands

This paper examines how the geographical specificity of islands influences the performances that take place on them. The process by which this happens is multi-faceted. Island conditions produce distinct communities inhabiting unique environments, and performance is a common means of expressing and transmitting the resulting identities, worldviews and ways of life. Alongside this insularity, islands are places of encounter, and performance has historically been a common means by which such encounters have been mediated, and subsequently influence what those island cultures come to be.

To these basic principles of island performance must be added the huge variety of islands globally – be that in their size and ecologies, or cultures and societies – as well as the many ways in which islands are conceived: as isolated or archipelagic, for instance; as instrumentalised in a variety of ways, from the magical to the geopolitical; and as radically shaping of human thought and imagination, and patterns of mobility. Many of these features have a performative dimension that undergirds any more culturally precise account of cultural performance practice.

To flesh out these ideas, this paper traces a contingent archipelago of Asia-Pacific islands of various sizes, from tiny Marakei in Kiribati, through Negros in the Philippines, to Australia. I report on the performances that take place there as ‘moving targets’: objects of enquiry that move in and out of focus, as they do for all island hoppers (including islanders themselves) according to a varying repertoire of experiences and cultural knowledge on the one hand, and stylistic and interpretive modes on the other. In drawing out some basic principles of island performance from this selection, I seek to make a broader argument about the nature of geoperformance – the ways in which performance forms are continuous with their geographical surroundings.

Paul Rae is Head of the School of Culture and Communication and Associate Professor in Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Theatre & Human Rights (2009), and Real Theatre: Essays in Experience (2019), and a former Senior Editor of the journal Theatre Research International. He has published widely on contemporary theatre and on the performance cultures of the Asia-Pacific. This paper is drawn from his current book, Performing Islands.

Carl Walling – A performance without its audience: Sub-Antarctic claiming ceremonies on South Georgia Island

 The controversial naval tradition of claiming territory for a hegemonic power resulted in early theatrical performances within the Antarctic region and its surrounding Subantarctic waters. In January 1775, Captain James Cook performed a public spectacle within this tradition’s boundaries by naming and then annexing an uninhabited South Georgia Island.

Cook’s 1772-1775 expedition on the Resolution introduced a recurring thematic pattern within Antarctic performance – where the initial performative event rarely encountered its intended audience on-site. Cook’s performance was a perfunctory responsibility for his nation and would occur regardless of a local population’s presence. His performance demonstrated political and military agency, while continuing problematic historical undertones of occupation, ownership and subjugation which relate to this naval ceremony. The performance served as a historical marker for ongoing geopolitical debates surrounding the Subantarctic and Antarctic regions during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Yet, there is another potential reading for this performance on South Georgia Island. The scientists participating in the initial landing party and the crew members remaining on the Resolution simultaneously served as the sole audience of the historical event as well as future performers of an emerging Antarctic narrative through the recontextualization of the initial performance within their society. This presentation considers how elements within the Antarctic’s unique intersection of history, scientific discovery and performance can be better understood by decentring the performative spectacle away from the creation of a historical narrative positioning disputed Subantarctic and Antarctic territorial claims and towards an investigation of the ceremony’s creation of shared cultural memory which has persisted within Antarctic exploration.

Dr Carl Walling lectures in the fields of dramatic literature, theatre production and theatre history. During his career in higher education, he has collaborated either as a director, lighting designer or scenic designer on over eighty productions. His current research focuses on the performance of the Antarctic and performance design theory. He is a long-standing member of the International Organization for Scenographers, Theatre Architects, and Technicians (OISTAT). In addition to his research, he serves as the Coordinator for Theatre & Performance at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Session 3.3 – Curated panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 9am – 10.30am
Room: Humanities 206-201

Chair: Gillian Arrighi

Tsan-Huang Tsai – Performing a shared history: Chinese dragon and lion performances at the Bendigo Easter Fairs/Festivals

The Chinese processional performance, namely the dragon/lion dance, operatic costumes, regalia display, banners and lanterns, accompanied by the unique Chinese festive soundscape of percussive ensemble and firecrackers, has dominated the history of Chinese communities in Australia in academic publications and collective memories of the communities. Chinese participation at the Bendigo Easter Festival is unique, not only because it is said to have the longest continuous history, recently celebrating the 150th anniversary, but the Chinese performances have also become the signature events of the festival. Being the highlight of the Bendigo Easter Festival, the Bendigo Chinese Association – joined by dragon and lion teams from other Chinese communities across the country – is the last and biggest group at the Gala Procession and has become a must-reported item in the local press. Using newspaper records, audio-visual documentation, archival documents, as well as informal interviews with team members from Bendigo, Darwin, Sydney, and Melbourne, this paper explores the rationales of guest performance teams making their journeys to join the event in Bendigo. The historical context, of teams affiliated with various regional Chinese associations/societies traveling intercity or interstate dating back to the early twentieth century, is first discussed. The paper further outlines the statistical data on the numbers of guest teams from different parts of Australia as well as their shows in Bendigo since 2000. Contextualising dragon and lion performances put up by the various local and visiting teams, the paper finally examines what it means individually and collectively to ensure that the “Chinese” participation at the Easter Fair can be continued and how this effort of travelling to Bendigo contributes to members’ own understandings and practices of the performances they engage in. Finally, the paper argues that while these teams may seem to be a collective presentation of Australian Chinese dragon and lion performances, internally – instead of a unified identify formation – these teams are performing a shared historical consciousness informed and reinforced by early records and stories. In addition, different programmes and the associated rhythmic patterns produced by percussion instruments are viewed as markers for their individualities and identities.

Tsan-Huang Tsai is a Senior Lecturer at Elder Conservatorium of Music, The University of Adelaide. Having studied ethnomusicology (M.Mus) at Sheffield and anthropology (M.Phil and D.Phil) at Oxford, he taught at Nanhua University in Taiwan, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Australian National University and Quanzhou Normal University before joined the University of Adelaide in July 2020. His research covers a wide range of disciplines, including ethnomusicology, organology, anthropology, and Chinese/Taiwanese studies. He is the author of two edited books Captured Memories of a Fading Musical Past: The Chinese Instrument Collection at the Music Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Yuan-Liou Publishing Co, 2010) and Listening to China’s Cultural Revolution: Music, Politics, and Cultural Continuities co-edited with Paul Clark and Laikwan Pang (Palgrave Macmillan 2016), and more than twenty articles published in both Chinese and English languages examining the Chinese seven-stringed zither, Buddhist music, music and politics of Taiwan, and theoretical/methodological issues of organology. His scholarly awards include an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), a CPI Fellowship (National Gugak Center), a Post-doctorial Research Fellowship (The Australian Centre on China in the World), an Affiliated Fellowship (International Institute for Asian Studies), an Endeavour Fellowship (Australian Government), a Visiting Fellowship (ANU’s Humanities Research Centre), a PhD Fellowship (Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation), and the Gribbon Award (American Musical Instrumental Society).

Anne Pender – Asian comedian destroys America!’ Chinese Australian stand-up comedians and contemporary circuits of exchange

Over the last ten years stand-up comedy in Australia has increased exponentially in popularity, audience numbers for festivals have exploded and the diversity of performers has transformed the circuit. The growth in stand-up has also brought younger audiences into live performance venues in unprecedented numbers and revived venues all over Australia. The circuit of exchange for a number of performers is enormous geographically, with some comedians now working across the Trans-Pacific and speaking regularly to audiences of millions (Ronny Chieng and Hannah Gadsby to name two well-known comic performers). During this decade, the presence of Chinese Australian stand-up performers has also grown significantly on the Australian circuit (Aaron Chen, Michael Hing, He Huang, Lawrence Leung). For several of these performers, stand-up has led to roles in popular television drama series (for example Leung in Offspring and Newton’s Law and docu-comedy Choose Your Own Adventure, Chen in Fisk).

The Malaysian-born comedian Ronny Chieng is perhaps the best known of this set of performers. His success in stand up in Australia preceded his creation of the comic drama series, Ronny Chieng: International Student. Eventually Chieng catapaulted to a regular role on The Daily Show in New York. Remarkably, he performs live stand up almost every night of the week in addition to his Daily Show appearances and has featured in two solo Netflix comedy specials. Chieng lived in Australia for ten years and began to do stand-up comedy after finishing his university degree in Melbourne. His stand-up comedy is compellingly physical, global in its scope and reach, daring and at times highly political.

This paper explores the comic personae of Chieng, his evolving political gaze and his transformational theatrical achievement, against the circuit of exchange and connection afforded and sustained by stand-up comedy.

Professor Anne Pender holds the Kidman Chair in Australian Studies at the University of Adelaide. Anne has taught in literary and theatre studies at King’s College, London, the ANU and the University of New England, and is a former ARC Future Fellow and Senior Fulbright Fellow at Harvard University.

Jonathan Bollen – Norma Shem and Herbert Young: Tuning in to young voices from Chinese Australia in the 1930s and 1940s

Audiences listening to entertainment on Australian radio in the 1940s heard the voices of young Chinese Australians, Norma Shem of Perth (born c. 1925) and Herbert Young of Sydney (born 1927). Their broadcasts were distinguished by different genres of vocal performance. Shem trained in elocution at a young age, proved herself a humorous recitalist in Perth, and took on dramatic acting roles in radio and theatre. In 1948 Shem created the role of Lola, the Chinese war-bride in the premiere of Mona Brand’s Here Under Heaven at Melbourne’s New Theatre, and played the role again that year at the Union Theatre, University of Melbourne. Young was a singer of Irish ballads and Hollywood hits, styled as the ‘Chinese Bobby Breen’, after the Canadian child-star from the 1936 Hollywood film, Rainbow on the River. Young first sang at the Congregational Church in Waterloo and entered talent quests on Sydney radio. His professional engagements, from age 11, included appearances at the Capitol Theatre, the Trocadero Ballroom, and a tour with the Great North China Troupe throughout New Zealand and Australia, culminating in seasons at the Tivoli theatres in Melbourne and Sydney. On Sydney station 2GB, Young sang ‘Chinese Flower’ with the ‘Youth Show Quartet’, ‘a modern setting of an 11th century Chinese poem’ that had been composed for the Broadway production of Somerset Maugham’s East of Suez (1922). This presentation asks what we can learn when we tune in to Chinese voices in Australian performance from the past. How did the young careers of Shem and Young give voice to transitions in the repertoire from the racialism of British colonial-imperialism to the decolonising impulse of post-war political theatre?

Jonathan Bollen is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW. He is the author of Touring Variety in the Asia Pacific Region, 1946–1975(Palgrave 2020) and co-author of A Global Doll’s House: Ibsen and Distant Visions (Palgrave 2016) and Men at Play: Masculinities in Australian Theatre since the 1950s (Rodopi 2008). He is a contributor to the AusStage database and leads the Performance Memories partnership between UNSW Library and the Dennis Wolanski Foundation.

Session 3.4 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 9am – 10.30am
Room: Humanities 206-203

Chair: Sarah Austin

Hannah Banks – Thirteen sleepless years: Directing Caryl Churchill’s Three More Sleepless Nights in 2009 and 2022

In 2009, during the final semester of my undergraduate Theatre degree at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, I directed my first play. I ambitiously chose Three More Sleepless Nights by Caryl Churchill, a 40-minute explosive satire of the kind of relationships I had not experienced yet, and which is full of some of Churchill’s most complicated overlapping dialogue. It was a huge learning experience, and it was the first time I realised what it meant to hold space for everyone in a room together. Thirteen years later at the University of the Sunshine Coast I was charged with directing the inaugural production of USC Theatre Company in April 2022. This is a new initiative from the Theatre and Performance programme where our students have an opportunity to stage a dramatic work in a five-week intensive rehearsal process, that is not attached to any coursework or assessment. So, thirteen years later, I once again reached for Churchill’s Three More Sleepless Nights.

Using reflective practice this paper will explore my own theatre making genealogy as I trace the pathway from that first production to the present day. Using my original director’s workbook and annotated script, which I didn’t open until after the 2022 season concluded, I will compare the two processes and dissect my own journey as a director. It is a story of professional and personal growth as I reach through time to hold the hand of my younger self and allow both directors to be present together.

Hannah Joyce Banks is a theatre practitioner and academic originally from Aotearoa New Zealand. She has been teaching in tertiary education since 2011 and has worked in the Theatre industry as an actor, director, writer, and producer. She won The Richard Campion Accolade for Outstanding Performance at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards in Wellington in 2014 and she received a PGSA Postgraduate Teaching Award in 2017 for her work at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. She completed her PhD in Theatre in 2018 at Victoria University. This ground-breaking research explored women in devised theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Natalie Schiller – And then domesticity stole my hips! An artistic research journey of con-fusing notions of hips and domesticity

With my presentation at the ADSA conference 2022, I will invite the participants to go on a journey with me to experience snippets of my current artistic research. Within my artistic research, I have curiously explored and reflected on what my hips might uncover through my choreographic practice while entangled with notions of domesticity? I have con-fused notions of hips and domesticity within my practice, where there has been no explicit separation anymore between these two concepts, hence a fusion and confusion at the same time has occurred. This creative and critical process of con-fusion has lead me to create the idea of hipsticity (hipdomesticity). During my artistic practice, hipsticity could embody entanglements, intra-connections, and processes, where the two notions of hips and domesticity have been “together-apart ([in] one move)” (Barad, 2014, p. 168). I have experienced hipsticity as embodied, embedded, differential, relational, and affective (Braidotti, 2019) within my artistic practice, where I have constantly “create[d] linkages not yet assembled, to produce ways of becoming, to invent new modes of existence” (Manning, 2016, p.124). These linkages and new modes of existence have been activated in my practice (see picture A sense of selves and attached sound image of hipsticity). During my presentation, I will highlight the development, basics, and inspirations of my artistic research and introduce other artists who engaged in the topic of domesticity (e.g. Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975) – Martha Rosler, Maintenance Art Performances (1973 – 1974) – Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Kitchen Show (1991) – Bobby Baker, and Bernadette (2018) – Caroline Finn). Performative and participatory elements will accompany my presentation to make the ephemeral and illusive nature of an artistic research tangible and perceptible (Barton, 2018; Brandstetter, 2007; Gray, 1996; Leavy, 2020). Additionally, my artistic presentation will experiment with the transformation and evolution of hipsticity and will reflect playfully on moments of hipsticity, such as when ‘domesticity stole my hips.’ I will wonder, if my hips are a mere shadow of domesticity, if they are hidden, if they are stolen, and if they are absent in the presence of domestic notions?


Barad, K. (2014). Diffracting diffraction: cutting together-apart. Parallax, 20 (3), 168-187.

Barton, B. (2018). Wherefore PAR? Discussions on “a line of flight.” In A. Arlander, B. Barton, M. Dreyer-Lude, & B. Spatz (Eds.), Performance as Research. Knowledge, Methods, Impact (pp. 1-19). Routledge.

Brandstetter, G. (2007). Body memory and the challenge. In S. Gehm, P. Husemann, & K. v. Wilcke (Eds.), Knowledge in motion. Perspectives of artistic and scientific research in dance (pp. 37- 48). Transcript Verlag.

Braidotti, R. (2019). Posthuman Knowledge. Polity Press.

Gray, C. (1996). Inquiry through practice: developing appropriate research strategies. No guru, no method? International Conference on Art and Design Research. UIAH, Helsinki.

Leavy, P. (2020). Methods meets the art. Arts-based research practice (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.

Manning, E. (2016). The minor gesture. Duke University Press.

Natalie Schiller is a PhD student at the University of Auckland (Dance Studies, New Zealand), where my areas of expertise lie within artistic research, feminist and performance arts, performance philosophy, and posthuman theories. My projects seek to investigate how artistic research supports critical, creative, and affirmative approaches of un-becoming and being in the contemporary world.

Kathryn Henry – Deliverance: Investigating the interactivity implications of a 240 hour-long social performance artwork

In August of 2012 William McBride, Penny Harpham, and I marked a 5 x 6m perimeter on the ground of a public, outdoor space in the middle of first Adelaide, and then Berlin. We then stepped into that space with nothing: no objects, no shelter, no provisions, no clothes – nothing – and stayed in that space without leaving for 240 hours (10 days). Form this point we invited our audience, the passing population of the city, to interact with the artwork in any way they felt inspired, and in so doing, invited them to enable our survival. From that very simple premise of beginning with nothing, and from that first moment, the piece unfolded according to the public’s response and interaction. The space became inherently social and almost overwhelmed with interaction. The work was ultimately a teeming community as people brought their own responses to us, in conversation, through ideas, in tequila, academically, and by the end of the 240 hours the complexities of many lives had unfolded in multifarious ways. In the year in which Deliverance was first presented, we intended to revisit the experiment in different contexts in the future – what if we did it in winter? In a strongly religious country? Away from the context of a cultural precinct? At various ages throughout our lifetimes? But as time went on the circumstances of our lives shifted significantly so that the possibility of undertaking this extreme long durational and endurance project became difficult. In this, the 10th anniversary year of Deliverance, I make an analysis of the ways in which Deliverance was innovative, provocative, and problematic, and as a way to test its veracity as an artwork that intersects performance art and social infrastructure. Further, I interrogate what its future implications might be in, and for, a changing world.

Dr. Kathryn Henry currently coordinates the Master of Theatre (Directing) program at the VCA. She is a graduate of NIDA’s directing program and holds a PhD in performance art theory. She has directed at main stage theatre companies around Australia, was an associate at Queensland Theatre where she was on the National Artistic Team among other positions.

Session 3.5 – Workshop & Performance

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 9am – 10.30am
Room: Dance G10

 Forest v Kapo, Alison Shirley and Christopher Wade – Becoming Horizontal

It is futile to dispute that the many pandemic lockdowns that occurred across the globe were without significant psychological impact. Here in Australia, lengthy lockdowns changed externally housing markets, businesses, education, childcare, and healthcare and therefore internally, home life significantly.

Historically a global unmooring; from normal occurred.

The pandemic staged a coup, an unmooring, from which the trending familiar began. This earth ark finally had the withdrawal and the time it needed to turn toward those half-hidden truths that had been submerged and purposefully plunged into the shadows beyond. So then, how do we go forward centering Indigenous traditions and the practice of horizontal governance, into our daily bonds?

But before that Kōrero (conversation) let us practice through performance and workshops new ways of becoming horizontal and create learning that helps to mute the capitalist symbolisms.

We here in Australia as a newly connected mob, hope to bring into performance and discussions topics of kinship, of survival and of desire for community perhaps within these activities shared we can together create new moorings?

We aim to deliver a 2-3 hour collaborative event that invites post-graduate students to take part in a peer to peer exchange. Travelling together through space, way finding, landing and collectively becoming horizontal. We will see our score grow and our ideas land and expand as they are shared in an open, explorative exchange

This workshop will be followed by a 20-minute performative score that has emerged out of conversations and collaboration between the VCA Masters of dance cohort and the collaborators in the workshop. This is a diverse group of makers, movers and thinkers that propose a performative score surrounding forms of encounter for discovering traveling together.

Forest V Kapo. Indigenous artist hailing from Aotearoa, forest Te Atiawa, and Ngāti Raukawa forest v Ka-po, as an immigrant, is acknowledging (past, present and emerging) and residing on the unceded and traditional lands of the proud Dja Dja Wurrung and the Taungurung Peo-ples, a settler town called Bendigo Victoria, Australia As an Indigenous artist forest V Kapo has proud tribal affiliations with Te Atiawa, and Ngāti Raukawa, and endeavours to create future forward performances that often offers a so-cio-political, focus. Concerned presently and primarily with climate change, indigenous identity and gender politics, forest is at heart an alchemist intrigued by story and the tell-ing of.

Alison Shriley is an interdisciplinary artist who explores nature through human movement, dance, choreography, photography and film. Early in her career, she worked as a commercial photographer in Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs and New Zealand, then transitioned to a fine art photographer. As a visual artist, she is represented by Bluethumb in Australia, and the Singapore-based Artling and her photography is held in private collections throughout Australia. Her recent short dance films, called Archival, Beauty In Decay, In So Many Words and Desert Birth have been shown internationally in Denmark, Istanbul, LA, Italy, London and Toronto. Alison continues her dance and choreographic practice in regional and metropolitan residencies and projects and is also a Pilates Practitioner running her studio, Body Brilliance Pilates, based in Central Victoria. Alison is currently completing a Master’s Degree at the Victorian College of the Arts, School of Dance, University of Melbourne, where she also tutors in Dance Video.

Christopher Wade is a Melbourne based Dance artist currently undertaking the Master of Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts. He studied a Bachelor of Dance (performance) at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Sydney from 2019-2021. While in Sydney, Christopher was a part of DMC future makers and We Are Here company. Christopher’s main interests in his practice are the masculine role in contemporary dance as well as how the body interacts and relates to its environment.


Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 10am – 10.30am
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Becca Weber, Joanna Cook and Danielle Lottridge – Dancing in/Dancing with the Digital

Dancing in/Dancing with the Digital is a project that began in 2020, exploring the impacts of embodiment within VR (virtual reality). Though experimentation in VR and performance began in the 1980s (Smith 2018), connections between dance practices and VR technologies are limited, and more understanding of the ways in which digital technologies impact embodied practices is needed (deLahunta 2002, Dixon 2006). As Brown (2006: 85) and Cisneros et al. (2019: 27) assert, VR offers a unique space for exploring choreography and embodiment. Dancing in/Dancing with the Digital aims to identify new potentialities within processes of making and presenting performance, especially around aspects of movement, somatic sensation and embodiment in digital ‘sites,’ through exploring multisensory and full-bodied engagement in XR. Drawing on dancers’ embodied wisdom, our creative partnership designs immersive experiences that ask: how might a choreographic approach to XR facilitate movement and embodied awareness in users? How do we develop technologies allowing for real-time virtual sensing and moving together?

Through an iterative process of user-testing workshops with dancers, choreographers, and digital experts, we created a set of real-time responsive digital effects designed to elicit movement and emphasise embodied awareness. Engaging in creative reflective practice within the digital site where these effects are generated has led to the creation of a digital site-specific work. Through these engagements we offer a set of digital experiences: 1. an interactive installation of projected, real-time responsive technologies exploring embodied awarenesss through muldimodal digital effects. 2. We include an immersive dance work, viewed in VR, offered ‘live’ in the installation space as well as 3. viewed online through digital space to open the experience to international audiences unable to attend the installation in person.

Rebecca Weber, PhD, MFA, MA, RSME/RSMT/RSDE, THE, FHEA is a lecturer in Dance Studies and Course Director, Masters in Dance Movement Therapy at the University of Auckland. She is an ISMETA-registered somatic movement/dance educator and therapist, whose PhD in Dance Psychology from Coventry University was funded by the Leverhulme Trust. As co-director of Project Trans(m)it and director of Somanaut Dance, her choreography has been presented internationally. Board Member of Carolina Dancer Wellness and associate editor for Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities, Weber’s research interests include: somatics, wellness, dance psychology, digital technologies, choreography and interdisciplinary creative practices, and pedagogy.

Joanna Cook is a dance artist, researcher, teacher, and PhD Candidate at the University of Auckland exploring the possibilities of Multimodality as (feminist) Choreographic Practice. She holds an MA Dance Studies with first class honours and a PGDip Dance Studies with distinction. Her recent works include, Line Age (2019), Them:Me:Us (2019), 3R (2020-current -Co-created with Janaina Moraes) and Spooling Womxn (2022). She is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the University of Auckland Dance Studies program and Research Assistant for Dancing In/Dancing with the Digital and the Inspera Project.

Danielle Lottridge is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Auckland. Danielle studied at both the University of Toronto (PhD Human Factors Engineering) and Stanford University (Postdoctoral fellow in Communication), where she was the recipient of a Google Research Award. Before moving to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2018, Danielle did research at Yahoo Inc, working as part of an internal innovation team that released the video chat app Cabana, which was featured among “New apps we love” by the Apple App store. Her research uses the lens of Affective Interaction to reveal motivations, emotions and needs that underlie use. This approach has been applied to better understand and to design for interactions ranging from multitasking to virtual reality as an aid for stroke survivors as well as immersive dance.

Keynote Presentation 2

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 11am – 12pm
Room: Humanities 206-220

Chair: Tia Reihana

Rachael Swain – “10 snapshots from the family photo album — the making of Jurrungu Ngan-ga” Or “De-bordering Australia: performing, living and sharing solidarity in a time of ongoing occupation, border closure, incarceration, boycott and global pandemic”.

Marrugeku’s latest work Jurrungu Ngan-ga meaning “straight talk” in Yawuru language, confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration by connecting outrageous levels of Indigenous imprisonment to the indefinite detaining of asylum seekers. Applying collective power, truth telling and horrific surrealism as bodily resistance the cast and creative team draw on their intersecting yet distinct cultural and community-informed experiences (Indigenous, people seeking asylum, transgender and settler) to shine a light on new ways to resist and abolish.

Reflecting and speaking as a Pākehā/Gadiya director of the work and family member of the team that co-created Jurrungu Ngan-ga, I will describe a series of critical moments from within the research, creation and presentation of the work conducted in a time of ongoing occupation, border closure, incarceration and boycott. Part family photo album, part unburdening on the possibilities and limits of solidarity and the intricacies of intersectional sharing— intimate moments of artistic production will be unpacked to discuss how new intersectional dramaturgies can emerge from staging resilience born of lived experience in contested land.

 Rachael Swain is a Pākehā director, dramaturg and performance scholar of Scottish, Irish and English descent. She was born on the lands of the Ngāi Tahu, Aotearoa, and currently lives and works between the lands of the Gadigal (Sydney) and the Yawuru (Broome, north Western Australia). She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Marrugeku, Australia’s leading intercultural and trans-Indigenous dance theatre company, working in close collaboration with Yawuru /Bardi dancer and choreographer Dalisa Pigram. Rachael specialises in directing intersectional and trans-disciplinary dance and theatre created through intercultural choreographic processes and with distributed models of cultural and performance dramaturgies. She has co-conceived and directed Marrugeku’s productions Mimi (1996), Crying Baby (2001), Burning Daylight (2006), Cut the Sky (2015), and Jurrungu Ngan-ga (2022) and co-directed Buru (2010) and Ngalimpa (2018) with Pigram. Her dramaturgy credits include Gudirr Gudirr (2013), the video installation Gudirr Gudirr (2021) directed by Vernon Ah Kee, Burrbgaja Yalirra 1 (2018) and the New Caledonian/Australian co-production Le Dernier Appel (2018). Together with various collaborators she has co-facilitated Marrugeku’s intensive practice based research laboratories in choreography and dramaturgy.  Rachael gained a Masters in Advanced Theatre and Dance Research from DAS ARTS, Amsterdam and a Doctorate in Performance Studies from Melbourne University, titled Ways of Listening (2010). She was awarded the Australian Research Council’s first DECRA fellowship offered in the field of theatre and performance studies, which she held at Melbourne University (2013-2016). She is the author of Dance in Contested Land— new intercultural dramaturgies (Palgrave Macmillian, 2020), and co-editor of Marrugeku: Telling That Story—25 years of trans-Indigenous and intercultural performance (Performance Research, 2021)She is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at UNSW, Sydney.

Lunchtime performance/installation

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 12.30pm – 12.55pm
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Alys Longley – Humattering

Choreographed by Alys Longley, Humattering folds together choreography, physical drawing in space and performance writing. It tests some strategies for metaphysical travel, reflecting on the ache of longing to be with people far away, in a collaborative work with dancers Adam Naughton and alys Longley, live sound mixing by Kristian Larsen, lighting by Sean Curham, performance design by Jeffrey Holdaway and digital design in collaboration with DotDot Design. For ASDA, this work will be available simultaneously for a live in-theatre audience, and as a virtual work beaming to the world through a web link. Live audiences will simultaneously witness a live performance, and the technical labour of filming it for livestream, where it is housed inside a bespoke digital exhibition, Let Us Drink the New Wine, Together!/ Beberemos El Vino Nuevo, Juntos! In this performance work, the collaborators navigate through a series of performance scores which are framed in poetic terms: are we the containers for time? is everything meant to be slipping, through their own names? are the names for these hours real containers? are these shared arms or are they names? are they holding us together or slipping us through light across the pacific ocean? don’t you think that with what is here on Tuesday and what you on Monday hear everything is the same? we are the same? don’t you think we are the same? are we the names that we give to our touches? are our touches the same? The Let Us Drink the New Wine, Together!/ Beberemos El Vino Nuevo, Juntos! digital exhibition which houses the Humattering livestream will be open online to all conference delegates throughout Thursday 8 December. It consists of approximately 20 virtual rooms. Each room has one or two portals embedded in it for viewers to find and click, which transports them through the various animations, films, sound works and spaces of the installation.

An interdisciplinary artist, writer and teacher, Alys Longley’s work exists as live performance, artist-book, installation, film, education curriculum, poetry, performance writing and lecture-demonstration. Over the last decade, Alys has been exploring mistranslation studies, working across languages and disciplines to explore the spill of ideas beyond conventional systems of meaning, through a series of international artistic-research projects in Berlin (Germany), Santiago (Chile), Coimbra (Portugal), NYC (US), Chicago (US), Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland (NZ), Poneke/ Welllington (NZ), Vienna (Austria) and Stockholm (Sweden). Alys has been based in the Department of Dance Studies, University of Auckland, since 2006, where she is currently an Associate Professor.

Session 4.1 – Workshop

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 1pm – 2.30pm
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Amy Hume and Alex Witham – A billabong or punna ngahere of sound? Teaching Linklater voice in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand    

Linklater Voice work is “based in an approach to voice training for actors developed originally by Iris Warren in the 1930s and 1940s in London” (Linklater, 2018). The work grew and transformed when Kristin Linklater, a student of Iris Warren’s, moved to the United States in the 1960s. Linklater wrote that “The Linklater vocabulary of training is umbilically and imaginatively connected to the vocabulary of Stanislavksy, Michael Chekhov, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen and Stephen Wangh” (2018). Beyond the language of instruction, Linklater work draws on imagery and landscape of the Northern Hemisphere (specifically Britain and North America).

The influence of British voice traditions have long guided and impeded voice teaching in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (Hume 2021, Agnew 2018). As voice teachers in Australasian actor-training, we are critically examining the language and imagery used in voice instruction.

This practical Linklater Voice workshop will explore Australian and New Zealand language, themes and images, and how these affect the responses of the actor. We pose the question: does centring a student’s experience in their own language, culture and environment deepen their connection to their voice, and broaden their understanding of their instrument?

Amy Hume

Alex Witham

Session 4.2 – Performances

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 1pm – 2.30pm
Room: AUT Blackbox Theatre, WG Level 2, 55 Wellesley Street East

Ross Brannigan – How then to act – A performance as research investigation into the potentials of expanding an actor’s agency

This twenty minute performance is designed to explore the place and processes of the actor in an evolving form of intermedial theatre.

Given the resilience of dramatic and psychological realism this performance poses the question of whether there is a need for new acting techniques to be developed to serve new hybrid styles and an increasing integration of media elements. Recent criticisms of the acting technique used in intermedial theatre would suggest that there is.

Dramatic theatre endures after a productive tension with postdramatic theatre. I propose that there is value to be found in both a resilience in the dramatic form and in the intermedial. This performance provides an opportunity to discuss an enhanced input of the actor in an emerging form of dramatic theatre.

I will present a play that has been designed as Performance as Research. Processes were explored in the making (conceptualising, writing, designing, shooting, programming, rehearsing and acting) of this piece that prioritised extending the actor’s agency to collaborate in all the theatre and screen production processes. The results are now offered to initiate a conversation on the nature of acting in this style of theatre.

Ross Brannigan lectures in Performance and Screen Production at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand. His research interests include the liminal space between stage and screen, the application of digital media technologies to live performance and acting technique in a post postdramatic age. He has more than 30 stage productions and 50 screen acting credits, including feature films, Television series, commercials and short films.

Kate Hunter and Olivia Millard – Audio Logical

‘Audio Logical’ is a live performance that brings together dancer Olivia Millard and theatre-maker Kate Hunter. The work builds on the separate and interwoven practices of the two artists as they respond, react, move, and travel together through the crossovers and meeting points in the genealogies of their combined fifty-year performance history.

The work engages with the imperative of the present while contemplating past experiences and embodied histories, which, as suggested by John Cage, is expressed in each person, act, interaction as an “interest in continuity whether in terms of discourse or organization” (1973, p.75). The performance is considered alongside a concurrent study of daily listening-in-place: an ‘audiological’ gathering of field data in which the artists expand the notion of eavesdropping to consider all objects and non-human objects in their periphery – sounds, memories, haptic sensations, bodily perceptions – as valid and resonant contributors to the characteristics of a place.

The artists bring their experience of improvisation to this practice to propose a-sitting-and-listening-to-the-world as an improvisational duet with environment. The artists also acknowledge their ageing female bodies unapologetically. Rather than representing a loss of youth, the elder body is proposed as a site of revolutionary potential: “…not simply a sign to be read, a symptom to be deciphered but also a force to be reckoned with” (Grosz 1994, p. 120).

Built from weekly improvisation sessions grounded in a travelling score, ‘Audio Logical’ uses recordings of the artists’ bodies in motion – breathy gasps, arthritic knees, crackly elbows – to create a personal, comic and moving performance of gathered and shared embodied histories to arrive together, momentarily, in the present.

Dr Kate Hunter is a theatre-maker and researcher whose work juxtaposes digital and analogue technology, storytelling, and the live body, and investigates innovative use of polyphonic verbatim recordings to examine the complex interplay between hearing, listening, reading, and speaking that is implicit in the ways humans communicate through language. Recent works include Sonic Shoebox (La Mama Theatre War-Rak/Banksia Festival 2021), Earshot (FoLA 2016, 45downstairs 2017; Due West 2019) and Memorandum (Theatreworks, Melbourne, 2014: JSPAC ‘Brave New Work’ series, Sydney, 2015). Kate is currently Lecturer in Art and Performance at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Olivia Millard is a Senior Lecturer in Art Dance at Deakin University who completed her PhD in 2013. Olivia’s early career was as a performer and choreographer working nationally and internationally and she received grants to create twelve works as an independent dance maker as well as several local and international commissions. Olivia’s current research includes various collaborative projects centred around improvisation in dance performance, including the AllPlay Dance project looking into the benefits of inclusion in dance activities for children with disabilities.

Session 4.3 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 1pm – 2.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-201

Chair: David O’Donnell

Nicola Hyland – UnCooked meets: Performing [with our] back to History

‘History’ is filled with some cooked-up shit.

With so many colourful characters and fantastical stories, it is no surprise that some folks might want to do it again . Yet performances of memorialisation not only mark those moments which define “us”, they also remind others that these are the moments where everything turned… to shit. This paper explores three performances which embark on literal journeys across Aotearoa to both (re)enact and unpack the trauma of historical cultural encounters.

The Semi-quincentennial of Captain James Cook’s arrival in Aotearoa was marked by ‘Tuia Encounters 250’, which conflated Cook’s journey with narratives of Oceanic exploration by our Ma’oli ancestors. Tuia 250 were “family friendly” events where waka hourua and va’a tipaerua Fa’afaite voyaged with tall ships across Aotearoa to share stories in sites of historical significance.

Meanwhile, Barbarian Production’s site-specific Cook Thinks Again (2019), sees a “posthumous James Cook takes the audience on a walking tour of significant historical sites” in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington where he “finds himself thinking again about his contribution to New Zealand history.”

Finally, the paper explores the voyage of “Hori”, aka Hohepa Thompson, who travelled across the motu in 2022 to promote “Hori’s Pledge” – a proposal to reclaim the name Aotearoa – towing a billboard stating: “This guy wasn’t strait, he was Cooked as.”

The discussion distinguishes western conceptions of re-enactment – as potential for catharsis – from whakamaumahara, or performance as embodied memory: a palimpsest of traumatic meetings. This is contextualised within the reframing of the New Zealand History curriculum in 2022 to focus on “the foundational and continuous history of Māori, the impact of colonisation and settlement, the power people and groups hold, and the relationships that shaped our history.” (‘Aotearoa Histories’).

Nicola Hyland (Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi and Ngāti Hauiti) is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Nicola’s research investigates Māori performance and theatre, Indigenous performance and popular culture, intersections of youth, gender and sexuality in Indigenous performance, and affect and wairua in performance. Nicola has worked as a director, dramaturg and collaborative practitioner of devised performance work in Aotearoa and Australia.

Andrea Moor – Embedding Indigenous perspective within actor training: An account of inclusive play making

The landscape within the Australian theatre and screen industries is slowly shifting to a more inclusive environment. Most theatre companies now have a reconciliation action plan or a statement of inclusivity. Casting on screen and stage is more representational of the society in which we live. Around the world acting training institutions have been challenged by accusations of racism and white bias in choice of playscripts, directors and teachers. In her keynote address to The Stage’s Future of Theatre conference, Principal of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central) Josette Bushell- Mingo made clear that the “future of drama training has changed forever” (2022). Bushell- Mingo proposes that the time has come to make artistic decisions in ‘dialogue with the students’(ibid). This sentiment is strongly echoed by the Boston University School of Theatre Anti-Racist Student Initiative (Gill et. al 2020), in their demands for an holistic anti-racist training that includes choice of programming and mental health support. It is the responsibility of these institutions to not only reflect the current industry trends but to create the leaders of tomorrow. The Euro centric conservatoire model is prescriptive in the emphasis on western approaches to acting, formulaic in the progression from Classics to contemporary material.

As a non-indigenous Australian artist and teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to work alongside indigenous artists and to take the lead in creating space for meaningful arts practices that embrace Australian Indigenous perspectives.

In this paper I will address how the curriculum within an actor training program can embed Indigenous perspectives in the creation of work to best serve all students and how inclusive practices of culture building can set the tone for ensemble building, ensuring recognition of Indigenous peoples. I will reflect on the third-year production Tight in the Bud by Hannah Belansky and Lewis Treston, directed by Wesley Enoch. The project has been built by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to examine how our environment might prevent us from blooming into the people we wish to be. Through a yarning process, young actors shared their stories as inspiration for the writers to create a piece specifically for this diverse group of young artists.

Bushell-Mingo. Josette: ‘The future of arts training must be on our terms’. Features. The Stage. March 30, 2022. Gil, T. I., Rosegrant, M., Sapi, Y., & Wade, C.-S. (2020, 10 September). How We Grew a Student-Centered Anti-Racist Movement at Our Institution of Learning. HowlRound Theatre Commons.

Dr Andrea Moor is Associate Professor in Acting at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Australia. Andrea’s areas of research include actors’ wellbeing, intimacy and touch and actor training. Andrea is a practicing actor having worked extensively for most Australian theatre companies and on many feature films and television series. Her recent screen credits include Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and the Acorn Darby and Joan, series starring Bryan Brown and Greta Scacchi. Andrea will have three Feature films and two series releasing in 2022. Andrea is mentored as an intimacy coordinator with Intimacy on Set UK.

Tia Reihana – Place-based articulations of the creative: A Kaupapa Māori storyline

Praxis that is activated by our connection to a place, suggests that its experience moves with you shaping a sense of self that is in constant states of flux and flow… This performance paper reflects upon connections to place as a negotiation of “life circumstance”. Connections and storylines informed by ideologies of identity where land as a place of knowledge acquisition create theory and methodology, are advanced as means in which to interact with the world as arts and education academic. This paper will navigate environment as means to co-create knowledge and identify representations of Indigenous scholarship. In particular, it will speak, dance and sing towards Kaupapa Māori practise-led methodology, placed-based pedagogy and mana wahine theory.

Tia Reihana

Session 4.4 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 1pm – 2.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Paul Rae

Grey-An Pascual – Moving bodies: queer, migrant, and transmedia performances in Eisa Jocson’s Happyland

This paper engages moving bodies in Eisa Jocson’s three-part Happyland performance series. Moving, in this work, is defined as both having the capability of movement, changing of position, and the ability of being affective, stirring and evoking strong emotional response. The agency to move allows others to be moved and subsequently move. On the other hand, bodies may refer to the corporeal features, the core utterances, the essential pieces, the creative works, and the productive criticism and critiques of the performances and the performers/artists, and even of the audiences/publics. Entangling Amelia Jones’s encountering, André Lepecki’s choreopolitics, José Esteban Muñoz’s cruising utopia, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas’s indentured mobility, Henry Jenkins and Shiomi Mieko’s transmedia works, Patrick Flores’s coping, confronting, and calibrating, and Richard Shusterman’s somaesthetics, this study complicates the queer, migrant, and transmedia subjectivities in Happyland’s Princess, Your Highness, and Manila Zoo. These works are (re)articulated and choreographed with other resources, movements, and motions to collaboratively portray and demonstrate queer mobilizing, migrant gesturing, and transmedia shifting in Happyland. Embodying Patrick Flores’s trajectories in contemporary art criticism—confronting meaning, history, identity, and value, this paper presents the queer Princess, Your migrant Highness, and transManila Zoo as Moving Bodies. This is further explicated as somaesthetic hop(p)ing of performing bodies within and beyond the spaces. The work does not come to a halt, for the bodies continue to move—travelling together—in hoping.

Grey-An Keith P. Pascual teaches public speaking and persuasion, instructional and intercultural communication, and speech communication research methods at the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, University of the Philippines Diliman. She is also taking her M.A. in Art Studies (Art Theory and Criticism) in UP. Her research interests include indigenous arts and aesthetics, culture and performance, art and movement, migration and politics, instructional communication, and rhetoric. She was also a recipient of One U.P. Faculty Grant Award in Speech Communication (Performance) for Outstanding Teaching and Public Service in UP Diliman for 2019-2021. Grey is a volunteer of the UP Diliman Ugnayan ng Pahinungód and an advocate of mental health. Currently, she is also a Program Development Associate of the UP Diliman Information Office, where she focuses on social media management, public and media relations, and special projects.

Allen Baylosis – Pagtawid at Pag(I)akbay: A dramaturgical reflection of Fillipinxs doing a land-based Inquiry in the settler-colonial city of Victoria

“Correspondence” is a devised theatre project by Filipinx and other queer Southeast Asian artists in British Columbia, Canada. The project aims to stage interweaving Filipino migration stories as a form of community building. It is part of the Filipino Canadians’ intercultural community-based theatre project devoted to collecting migration stories on Turtle Island. Existing literature shows a written record of Filipino seafarers arriving in Nootka Island, British Columbia, who interacted with members of the First Nations. The research team planned to go to Nootka Island but relocated to Victoria because of the challenges brought by the pandemic. The team attempted to conduct a place-based inquiry, given the limitations of resources in Victoria to recoup for the opportunity that was supposed to be held on Nootka Island. As the assistant dramaturg, I ask how this place-based inquiry becomes a critical-empathic commemoration method. To do this, I cor[respond] with our inquiries about the story of the first group of Filipinos in Nootka Island with the considerations of the pandemic. Inspired by Indigenous theatre scholar Lindsay Lachance’s notion of “land-based dramaturgy”, this paper describes the performative process of crossing from Vancouver to Victoria through dramaturgical note-taking. Land-based dramaturgy guides my critical-creative approach in processing the stories and truths shared about Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) as discussed by Indigenous elder and scholar Karla Point. In addition, we listened to aural narratives from Beacon Hill Park, Goldstream Provincial Park, and the Esquimalt Lagoon. Hence, this paper offers dramaturgical notes, consisting of different (en)counterings: redirection, displacement, and precarity—crucial identifiers of representations for the then and now Filipinos in the diaspora.

Allen Baylosis

Ian Ramirez – Virtual drag shows: Gesturing towards a queer elsewhere

Queer creative workers such as drag queens in the Philippines were left to fend for themselves at the height of the pandemic, and they did so by capitalising on their virtual drag shows circulated online. In this paper, I examine the online drag performance of Filipino drag artist Mrs. Tan titled “Dancing On My Own”. Drawing from my conversations with them and close-reading of their drag show, I examine their performance as a response to feelings of stuckedness in a crisis marked by the Philippine government’s failed pandemic response and the neoliberal and capitalist narrative of self-determinism. I argue that their complicity to capitalist modes of cultural production acts as a mode of survival, and in looking closely, their labouring drag body performs something political. In this presentation, I address how, in the midst of their stuckedness in a crisis, Mrs. Tan persists and gestures towards a queer elsewhere.

Ian Rafael Ramirez is currently a PhD student at The University of Melbourne. Their research interests focus on the performances of the bakla in the Philippines, and their life- and worldmaking practices. Their previous research projects focused on queer nightlife, drag scenes, and virtual drag performances in Metro Manila, Philippines.

Session 4.5 – Curated panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 1pm – 2.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-209

Chair: Tessa Rixon

Denise Varney – Future scenarios

This paper addresses the question of how Theatre Studies is travelling today and where it might head in future. Here it confines itself to a genealogy that begins with Bertolt Brecht’s discourse on the two functions of theatre as entertainment (to amuse) and instruction (‘to raise its value through education’ (‘On Experimental Theatre’ 1959). Today there are far more diffuse debates about theatre’s efficacy (Harvie), its affects (Tait), value (Eckersall and Grehan 2019) and ‘more than human’ flows (Lavery). The future of the discipline is complicated by various external pressures including intersecting global crises at undreamed of scale including climate change, decolonisation, the rise of the far right, and ongoing socio-economic inequality. Our field is often ambivalent about theatre and Theatre Studies’ use-value, its social and political efficacy, and the quality of its public engagement. Our research into Australian Ecological Theatre has led us to reconsider the question of theatre and its potential to play a productive role in the climate emergency. We are gathering representative case studies in Australian Ecological Theatre and Performance to find how our field responds to the question of environment. This paper continues recent investigation of theatre and climate, specifically floods, by examining its framing as a rising threat in The Flood by Jackie Smith (Australian National Tour 2012 and Beijing/Shanghai 2017/18).

Denise Varney is Professor of Theatre Studies in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Her research is in the area of modern and contemporary Australian theatre and performance with published work in the areas of ecocriticism, feminism, theatre and politics, and performance affects. Recent books include Patrick White’s Theatre: Australian Modernism on Stage 1960–2018 (September 2021), Australian Theatre, Patrick White and Modernism: Governing Culture with Sandra D’Urso (2018), and Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene edited with Lara Stevens and Peta Tait (2018). She is currently Lead CI on ARC Discovery Project ‘Towards an Australian Ecological Theatre’.

Peta Tait – Environmental violence and rage in performance

Caryl Churchill juxtaposes neighbours in backyard conversation and descriptions of catastrophic violence and upheaval in the natural environment in her text, Escaped Alone from 2016. It was produced in 2019 by Red Stitch in Australia directed by Jenny Kemp. The text points to the political failure of humanity to prevent environmental collapse. It reflects Churchill’s way of exposing the underlying fear and terror of a mundane world in combination with a character’s rage about human capacity for environmental violence. Kemp’s production asks, however, if the environmental violence of Mrs Jarrett’s visions are a warning or describing a fait accompli? This paper explores the depiction of emotional responses to environmental destruction.

Professor Peta Tait, La Trobe University, is an academic and playwright and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She has written 70 scholarly articles and chapters and recent books include: the authored: Forms of Emotion: Human to Nonhuman in Drama, Theatre and Performance (Routledge 2022); Theory for Theatre Studies: Emotion (Bloomsbury 2021); the co-edited Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene (2018); the authored Fighting Nature (Sydney University Press 2016); the co-edited The Routledge Circus Studies Reader (2012). Her current ‘Towards an Australian Ecological Theatre’ collaborative project is Australian Research Council funded.

Lara Stevens – ‘There is no unicorn for us’: Performing climate denial  

In the 2016 performance ‘Unicorn, Gratitude, Mystery’ by American feminist performance artist Karen Finley, Finley bursts onto the stage dressed as a unicorn – shimmering white with a tussled, blonde mane. Throughout the show she morphs into Hillary Clinton and later Donald Trump, the blonde mane conveniently transferrable between these icons of power. Finley’s unicorn is not the rainbow-blasting saviour we might imagine, instead, she is a lazy, white, yuppie. This unicorn is conscientious about sustainability, woke on gender and race politics before its time, but it never magically appears at the moment when it is most needed. Since addressing the climate emergency requires global, collective action, a ‘travelling together’ on a scale never undertaken, this paper considers the barriers to such urgent, united action through Finley’s critique of white privilege, climate denial and the systemic abuse of women in Western systems of power.

Lara Stevens is author of ‘Anti-War Theatre After Brecht: Dialectical Aesthetics in the Twenty-First Century’ (2016), editor and translator (Fre-Eng) of essays by Hélène Cixous in ‘Politics, Ethics and Performance: Hélène Cixous and the Théâtre du Soleil’ (2016), and coeditor with Peta Tait and Denise Varney of ‘Feminist Ecologies: Changing Environments in the Anthropocene’ (2018).

Session 4.6 – Roundtable

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 1pm – 2.30pm
Room: Humanities 206-203

Chair: Sarah Peters

Rand Hazou, Fran Kewene, Molly Mullen, Amber Walls and Sarah Woodland – Future directions in evaluating participatory arts and wellbeing

The proposal is for a round table as part of the ADSA conference that will feature practitioners and researchers interested in advancing knowledge around the intersections between arts, health and wellbeing. Given the government of New Zealand’s recent wellbeing budget and focus on health outcomes, it is a timely moment to engage with the potential health and wellbeing outcomes from participation in the arts.

In attending to and articulating the impact of the arts on health and wellbeing, evaluations must contend with Western medical conceptions of health as the absence of disease or infirmity. Contemporary conceptions of wellbeing suggest that it is more than the absence of illness. As Ings, Crane, & Cameron contend: ‘It is fundamentally about how people experience their own lives, whether they feel able to achieve things and have a sense of purpose. It’s also about a sense of belonging and being part of the social fabric, connected to other people and supportive local networks’(2012, p. 109). Yet, the demand to demonstrate the contribution of the arts to health and wellbeing within narrow medical and western frameworks persisits.

The round table will include 8 speakers from Australia and Aotearoa, who will consider the role of the arts in enhancing the wellbeing of participants. Speakers will consider how the arts might help to decentre and decolonise Western conceptions of health and promote alternative understandings and appreciations of wellbeing. Speakers will also consider future directions in evaluating participatory arts and wellbeing and offer models and approaches that are informed by mātauranga Māori and the cultural context of Aotearoa.

Rand Hazou is a Palestinian-Kiwi theatre practitioner and scholar. His research explores theatre engaging with rights and social justice. His research interests lie in applied theatre, refugee theatre and decolonial theory and practice. In 2004, he was commissioned by the UNDP to travel to the Occupied Territories in Palestine to run workshops for Palestinian youths. In Aotearoa, he has led teaching and creative projects engaging with prison, aged-care, and street communities. Rand is currently part of the Health Research Council funded research project ‘Wellbeing and the Precariat’, which is exploring the lived experiences of working whānau experiencing poverty and the impact that this has on health and wellbeing.

Fran Kewene (ia/she/her) is a Māori health academic at Victoria University Wellington Aotearoa New Zealand and a graduate of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. Fran is interested in how indigenous informed theatre can re-present the lived experiences of hauora (a Māori definition of health), enabling the exploration of colonisation, inequity and racism for the observer/participant/actor. Fran’s performative work involves exploring issues of importance to community through verbatim theatre located within an indigenous world of practice and knowledge. Fran is at the early stages of her PhD exploring how a theatre-based methodology can explore the lived experiences of what a good life is for Māori individuals living with autism and their whānau.

Dr. Molly Mullen is a senior lecturer in applied theatre with over ten years’ experience producing theatre education, youth theatre and community arts projects in the UK and Aotearoa New Zealand. Her research examines the opportunities and constraints experienced by artists and arts organisations as they work towards social change within particular funding and policy contexts. Her book, Applied Theatre: Economies, examines the ways socially committed theatre makers fund, finance or otherwise resource their work and, in doing so, negotiate tensions between economic, political, aesthetic, pedagogic and ethical values. Molly is currently part of two National Science Challenge projects exploring the potential of the arts to raise public awareness of ecological threats.

Amber Walls is a practitioner-researcher currently working as an advisor in the Youth Empowerment Team at Auckland Council and completing a PhD at the University of Auckland exploring the possibilities of arts-based approaches to questions of youth wellbeing in Aotearoa. She is also a founding member of Te Ora Auaha: Creative Wellbeing Alliance Aotearoa. Amber has worked in New Zealand and internationally in diverse interdisciplinary (arts-health-educational-social- community) environments. She is especially passionate about using collaborative, co-creative processes to re-imagine policies, practices and mindsets which contribute to a more socially just, equitable and inclusive world.

Dr. Sarah Woodland is the Dean’s Research Fellow in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne. Her research interests are applied theatre, socially-engaged and participatory arts, with a particular focus on intercultural praxis in criminal justice settings. Sarah teaches undergraduate theatre courses and has published extensively in the fields of applied theatre and participatory arts.

Session 5.1 – Workshop

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 2.30pm – 4pm
Room: Dance Studio 113-G10

Kim Sargent-Wishart and Alys Longley – Cycles of travelling, landing and mapping

This participatory workshop will explore multi-modal approaches to artistic research via the somatic practice of Body-Mind Centering®. Our workshop will move between embodied exploration and from there move attention into movement practice, photography and experimental writing practice. We will guide participants through a series of unfolding hybrid experimental encounters with a focus on how presence and perception constantly move and shift and ask, how we might arrive and tend to what is alive and brewing in the texture of our meeting together? How we might listen and channel emerging information and possibility through multiple senses and modalities in devising creative vocabulary with collaborators and site?

“Dance reframes the world, how we inhabit it, and how we inhabit the body. The same holds true for writing. Both stir belief systems, our center of gravity, and responses to circumstances. They alter visceral engagement with stimuli. Every one of our actions sets off a chain reaction of reactions and responses. Slowing down to engage in a somatic practice gets us loosen our usual habits and see details otherwise ignored.” (Pallant, 2018, p.41)

This workshop will involve concepts such as yielding and readiness to respond; sensing texture, weight and proximity; emergent co-composition across disciplines – between one and the land, the space, the history of a place, and between oneself and other; cycles of travelling and landing through attention, imagination, gathering, mapping and documenting; listening while moving, moving while writing; using the camera as a tool for seeing and being-with.


Pallant, C. 2018, Writing and the Body in Motion. McFarland & Company, USA.

Kim Sargent-Wishart is an artist, researcher, educator & writer specializing in somatic education, physical practices, somatic writing & contemplative photography. Research interests include experiential embryology & creative practice, life cycles, and modes of perception and presence. A Certified Teacher of Body-Mind Centering® and a Registered Somatic Movement Educator & Therapist (ISMETA), Kim has practiced movement education and bodywork since the early 1990s. Her arts practice is influenced by Miksang contemplative photography and dance/movement improvisation. Kim is the co-editor of The Art of Embodiment (2021), co-founder of ASTER Association, and co-director of Somatic Education Australasia (SEA).

 An interdisciplinary artist, writer and teacher, Alys Longley’s work exists as live performance, artist-book, installation, film, education curriculum, poetry, performance writing and lecture-demonstration. Over the last decade, Alys has been exploring mistranslation studies, working across languages and disciplines to explore the spill of ideas beyond conventional systems of meaning, through a series of international artistic-research projects in Berlin (Germany), Santiago (Chile), Coimbra (Portugal), NYC (US), Chicago (US), Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland (NZ), Poneke/ Welllington (NZ), Vienna (Austria) and Stockholm (Sweden). Alys has been based in the Department of Dance Studies, University of Auckland, since 2006, where she is currently an Associate Professor.

Session 5.2 – Roundtable/performance

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 2.30pm – 4pm
Room: Kenneth Myers Dance Studio 820-212, 74 Shortland Street

Natalie Schiller, Janaína Moraes, Joanna Cook and Kristian Larsen – This is the research: Arriving: vising: interrupting 

This is an hour long, round table, game based, panel discussion for 4 (or possibly 5) performers, surrounded by a live audience. Each performer will present their practice-based research using any methods necessary. There is a chance-based mechanism involving a bell: when the bell is sounded, the presentation is interrupted and another begins.

Drawing on the configuration of a panopticon, four researchers propose research journeys that are multi-modal and trans-national collaborations across languages, exploring geopolitical fields of refusal. This performance is an invitation to reconsider the neoliberal system of academic research as content generation. It is a conversation, a paradoxical flow of (dis)associative interruptions. We aim to intuitively complicate empirical skill sets using interruptions to holistically liberate performative hermeneutics (Academic B.S. Generator, 2022).


Academic B.S. Generator, (2022).

Natalie Schiller is a PhD student with the University of Auckland, Dance Department, New Zealand. Her current artistic research con-fuses notions of hips and domesticity, which is influenced by her roles of being a dancer, researcher, and mother.

Janaína Moraes is a dance, performance and pedagogy artist. She is a PhD Candidate in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland experimenting with the poétics of invitation and art residencies. MA in Performing Arts (University of Brasília/Brazil) and PGDip Contemporary Studies in Dance (Federal University of Bahia/Brazil). She is a Graduate Teaching Assistant (University of Auckland, Dance Studies). Internationally, she hosts and guests collaborations within the Art Gathering Abre Salas, founded in 2018. 

Joanna Cook is a dance artist, researcher, teacher, and PhD Candidate at the University of Auckland exploring the possibilities of Multimodality as (feminist) Choreographic Practice. She holds an MA Dance Studies with first class honours and a PGDip Dance Studies with distinction. Her recent works include, Line Age (2019),Them:Me:Us (2019), 3R (2020-current -Co-created with Janaina Moraes) and Spooling Womxn (2022). She is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the University of Auckland Dance Studies program and Research Assistant for Dancing In/Dancing with the Digital and the Inspera Project.

Kristian Larsen is a New Zealand based artist working in improvisation, contemporary dance, choreography and sound. Larsen is currently completing his practice-led doctoral research in improvisation, technology, sound and dance at the University of Auckland.

Session 5.3 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 2.30pm – 4pm
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Tia Reihana

Chastity Samoa – Theorising Wā-Vā as a Mana Moana methodology

This performance paper reflects upon Wā-Vā as a complex, multifaceted embodiment of experiences found within the shifting and morphing states of self and relational space(s) located the everyday relationships, interactions and protocols as Mana Moana who live in the diaspora. The use of Wā-Vā h aims to respectfully acknowledge the intrinsic relationships and experiences of urban Indigenous Pasifika identities (Leiataua, 2020) in Aotearoa today.

As a methodology, Wā-Vā recognises ancestral understandings of relational space(s) from both a Sāmoan and Te Ao Māori perspective, the interwoven nature of Kaupapa Māori and Pasifika research methodologies, worldviews, concepts and values becomes prominent within this paper. As Tagata o Le Moana, we are constantly shifting, and adapting to the urban way(s) of being while residing in urban landscapes of Aotearoa. Wā-Vā is the lens through which we acknowledge the intrinsic relationships between researcher and rangahau whānau, the whakapapa and embodiment of my dance practices, connection to spirit, relations to whenua/fanua, connections to place (and displacement), protocols, ancestry and beyond. This paper will explore the concept of ‘Indigenous dance’ in urban landscapes, which hold the potential to reimagine the urban disconnected space as a place of opportunity for Indigenous communities to disrupt settler imaginings of Indigenous narratives as being in the ‘past’ and redefine urban Indigenous art forms as our ‘present’ (Mays, 2019).

Chastity Samoa

Iatua Felagai Taito – Storytelling and Fāgogo methodology

Storytelling is the essence of drama. In a Samoan world view Fāgogo is an intrinsic methodological pathway to merge intergenerational stories through mediums of Siva Samoa. Our gafa (genealogy) is activated through Fāgogo chants, poetry and dance that allows authentic transparency of innate feelings and cultural protocols to live together in a respectful way to foster the Vā (interconnected space) between oneself and the audience. Fāgogo unsettles the ‘fourth wall’ performance convention in the dramaturgical world so a genuine connection can be made through the storyteller and the audience. It fosters reciprocity and allows the audience to interact with the storyteller. This performance paper is a reflection of my Masters work, which embraces Fāgogo to tell stories that explore inner-conflicts of religion, queer identity and culture.. This paper will advance indigenous Oceanic ways to share stories which can be accessible to Pacific communities and beyond. I propose that Fāgogo methodology can be used by and for all practitioners; they just need to have an understanding of the pragmatic nature and origin (Samoa) and the connection of Oceanic Mana Moana perspective(s).

Iatua Felagai Taito

 Sepelini Pati Mua’au – E le mapeva se upu: An auto-ethnographic approach to decolonised theatre frameworks in Aotearoa

When I consider “Travelling Together”, I am drawn to ancient pacific voyagers that circumnavigated vast oceans including Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa; conjuring images of double-hulled canoes occupied by my ancestors navigating the stars at night in search of new lands. I reflect on the journey my parents undertook migrating to Aotearoa from their homeland in Samoa; navigating a world far removed from their own, expected to assimilate and integrate without question. I dream about theatre practices that put people first, not product; and place process above profit. This paper considers theatre processes in Aotearoa. It is an auto-ethnographical exploration of my short 10 years in the theatre industry as both student and professional. I contemplate how fortunate and privileged some of my experiences have been occupying spaces and theatres across Aotearoa as actor, writer, collaborator and director. And in turn, thinks about how these same processes, institutions and practices in Aotearoa do not and have not always uplifted our whole community and served BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) creatives.

This paper is part of a wider practice-led investigation into the creation of decolonising frameworks for working collaboratively with actors in performance. An aspect of this paper I am excited to explore is considering how Talanoa as a methodology works in theatre research to foster working/creative spaces and delve into BIPOC experiences. The wider working question for my research: how can I create a method or model of decolonised acting praxes that can respond and transform current processes of working with creatives from Indigenous and diasporic actors in the rehearsal room?

Sepelini Mua’au (Samoa) is a Wellington based theatre maker, creative and actor. His acting credits include work across Aotearoa in various theatres, schools, and communities. In recent years, he has worked with Toi Whakaari across all Acting levels in creative and directorial roles. Sepe is a graduate of Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre (Hons) in 2015 and a Master of Arts in Theatre in 2017. He is currently in his second year of his Doctorate studies with Te Herenga Waka, the basis of his thesis around decolonized theatre processes and practices.

Session 5.4 – Curated panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 2.30pm – 4pm
Room: Humanities 206-203

Chair: Glen McGillivray

Sue-Anne Wallace – Falling into the theatre: The beginning of Walter Bentley’s theatrical career

Walter Bentley (b. William Begg 1849 Edinburgh—d. 1927 Sydney) was a most unlikely person to be on the stage. His father, the Rev. Dr James Begg, was a moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, a vehement defender of a strict morality, claiming the theatre as the gate to Hell. William Begg’s arrival in Dunedin, Aotearoa/New Zealand was not unexpected. The town had flourished with an influx of Free Church congregants, following the so-called Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843. Begg’s early schooling was in the Free Church. What he may not have appreciated then was that his father’s renowned reputation in public speaking and memory training would stand him in good stead in an entirely different career. While his father pontificated from the pulpit, Begg, soon known as Walter Bentley, did so from the stage.

In this paper I explore the impetus for such a man to arrive on the stage via Dunedin.

From an inauspicious start, Bentley’s career developed as juvenile lead under Henry Irving, he toured through Britain and the US. Yet, in spite of his extraordinary successes in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand, particularly in the 1890s, he has become one of Veronica Kelly’s “countless … regional touring performers”, who are largely absent from theatre historiography. My paper responds to Kelly’s challenge to resurrect a career that has fallen by the wayside over the past century.

Dr Sue-Anne Wallace AM is an art historian whose research explored the liturgical theatres of the rock-cut churches in Cappadocia, Turkey. She has extensive experience in arts development and museums with the Australia Council, National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art and QUT Cultural Precinct, including Gardens Theatre. She is researching late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century theatre in Australia and Aoteroa New Zealand, focusing on tragedian Walter Bentley, whose memorabilia is in the State Library NSW and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Sydney. She sits on management committees of Theatre Heritage Australia and the Performing Arts Heritage Network.

Chris Hay – On being Elizabethan: Artistic standards and cultural renewal down under

In 1954, on the occasion of her first Royal Tour to Australia, Queen Elizabeth II assented to give her name to the first federal government body set up to distribute arts subsidy, as a continuing memorial to her visit. The duly named Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust (AETT) had the stated mission in its founding papers “to make theatre in Australia the same vigorous and significant force in our national life as it was in England during the reign of the first Elizabeth”. In Aotearoa, the equivalent body adopted the name Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand in 1963, during her second Royal Tour. The subsidised cultural output of both nations thus become yoked to New Elizabethanism, which Heather Wiebe argues in “Now and England” sought to map the present onto the past in the pursuit of cultural renewal and new standards in artistic achievement.

This paper responds to the call to consider how naming conventions carry with them claims about cultural capital and the national imaginary. I use the examples of the AETT and the QEII Arts Council to think through what it meant to be “Elizabethan” down under in this period, and in particular to consider why arts funding might have been seen as a suitable vessel for the values of New Elizabethanism. This research continues my investigation into how the AETT established the architecture for live performance subsidy in Australia, and encoded an Anglophile whiteness as the explicit mooring post for cultural aspiration, just as both post-war nations were seeking to develop their own discrete artistic identity.

Chris Hay (he/him) is Professor of Drama at Flinders University in South Australia. He is an Australian theatre and cultural historian, whose research analyses mainstage and subsidised theatre for what it can reveal about national identities and anxieties. His most recent work is “Contemporary Australian Playwriting” (Routledge, 2022), co-written with Stephen Carleton

Caitlin West – Travelling together to make meaning: performers, text, and context in contemporary performances of Shakespeare

Contemporary Shakespeare scholars have argued that Shakespeare’s plays can be re-imagined in performance through the creative decisions made by performers. W.B. Worthen argues in Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance that the “recognisable genres of behaviour” through which text is deployed on stage “finally determine what the text can mean as performance” (12). Kate Flaherty, in her book Ours as We Play It: Australia Plays Shakespeare, writes that the metatheatricality of Shakespeare’s plays opens up “portals of performativity which [generate] different realities in different contexts” (9), thus creating opportunities to reimagine the plays in performance. However, creative decisions are not made in a vacuum. Tiffany Stern and Simon Palfrey in Shakespeare in Parts explain that “Shakespeare filled the parts he gave to his actors with all kinds of ‘directions’ for their performance” (4). The cultural, social, and historical context of a performance will also influence not only how it is received, but also how it is performed. In this paper, I bring together the three key factors that influence meaning-making – the performers, the printed text, and the performance context – and explore how they interact and make meaning together in contemporary performances of Shakespeare. Drawing on my observations of mainstage Shakespeare rehearsal and performance, I argue that awareness of and conscious engagement with all three of these factors is necessary in order to successfully perform Shakespeare’s plays in a contemporary Australasian context.

Caitlin West is a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland. She is conducting her research on meaning-making in contemporary mainstage theatre performances of Shakespeare’s plays. She has recently published in the Shakespeare Institute Review, Otherness: Essays and Studies, and mETAphor magazine. In 2020 she was a recipient of the ADSA Geoffrey Milne Bursary, and in 2021 she received an honorable mention for the ADSA Veronica Kelly Prize.

Session 5.5 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 2.30pm – 4pm
Room: Humanities 206-209

Chair: Gillian Arrighi

Joanne Tompskins and Julie Holledge – Travelling together through time and space: Virtual reality and site-specificity

A fundamental aspect of theatre is its reliance on space: it takes place in a space of some description, even if it is not presented in a traditional theatre venue, and many volumes have explored the intricacies of spatiality in and through performance. But as the technologies in and around theatre have developed, there are yet other spaces and places, both here and in the past, that require specific consideration. This paper addresses the site and place that virtual reality presents for theatre. It aims to determine the possibilities (and the limitations) of identifying virtual sites as site-specific. The paper is based on research we have completed to generate virtual models of historical theatres that no longer exist in actual form, but that can nevertheless be explored today in real time, either on screen or using a VR headset (see Visualising Lost Theatres by Joanne Tompkins, Julie Holledge, Jonathan Bollen and Liyang Xia). Our research has identified different ways in which users engage with space in such immersive environments that appear to be as detailed and ‘realistic’ as living locations. While the work has to this point been focused on historical practice, we are keen to explore whether such venues operate as if they were living locations. Specifically, we examine the venue and environs of the Queen’s Theatre in Adelaide, a theatre built in 1841 at the beginning of the existence of the South Australian colony. While it operated as a theatre only for a short time in its first iteration, its history has been remarkable, and it currently functions (in a shell frame of its construction) as a theatre again, albeit in much reduced form. The virtual version of this theatre speaks directly to its history while also conversing with the current location and the wider location in which it is positioned. It enables arguments about time travel, theatre tourism, and the layering of theatrical histories in, this case, Adelaide.

Joanne Tompkins is Professor Emerita at the University of Queensland. She has published widely in theatre studies, especially on spatiality and theatre and on cultural politics. ADSA’s editing award is named in her honour. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Queen Mary University of London in 2015 and is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. She founded Ortelia, a company which provides virtual reality models of examples of cultural heritage, and she is a co-founder of AusStage (with Julie Holledge). Her most recent publication is Visualising Lost Theatres (2022, with Julie Holledge, Jonathan Bollen, and Liyang Xia).

Julie Holledge is Professor Emerita of Drama at Flinders University in Adelaide. Her international standing as a scholar has been recognised through appointments as Distinguished Professor at the Open University of Hong Kong and as Professor II at the Centre for Ibsen Studies, University of Oslo. She recently completed four collaborative book projects, Ibsen on Theatre (2018), A Global Doll’s House: Ibsen and Distant Visions (2016; with Jonathan Bollen and Tompkins), Ibsen Between Cultures (2016), and Visualising Lost Theatres (2022, with Bollen and Tompkins). She has directed 22 professional theatre productions in the UK and Australia. In 2017, she was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Jane Woollard – Travelling with the ghosts of Eliza and Cordelia: 1830s Australian theatre practice and its intersection with the virtual world

This paper will describe and reflect on my findings to date in the LIEF Project AusStage 7: The international breakthrough. With two emerging performers I have explored possibilities for using a virtual recreation of Sydney’s Victoria Theatre to revive the performances of Cordelia Cameron and Eliza Winstanley. In the 1830s, these leading actresses performed Clari in Payne and Bishop’s Clari; or, The Maid of Milan (Payne & Bishop, 1829), a work of enduring popularity in the first half of the century.

In this presentation I will describe how we used VR technology to investigate how these colonial actresses might have performed Clari. Using a VR portable headset, the twenty-first century performers stood on the stage of a virtual colonial theatre, and then brought the ‘sense memory’ of this virtual experience into the real acting studio. I will outline how the discoveries made inside the VR Theatre aided our understanding of the expression of emotion, the scale of gesture and voice, and the spaces between performers in the performance of our source texts.

Rayner writes that ‘The enclosed space of a theatre building […] materially contains its own past and refuses to release it. It becomes the self-preservation of its own history of representation and in that sense becomes a preservative space, like a monument or a tomb.’ (Rayner, 2006). But what does a VR theatre contain? I will reflect on the usefulness of a cyber theatre for an artist-scholar whose practice is founded on a belief that the performer expresses abstract concepts and emotions through the body, via their skills of spatial and kinaesthetic awareness and their haptic experience of presence within real spaces. Does the virtual theatre bring us nearer to the ghosts of these early performers? Is it possible for the virtual, the real and the past to travel together in a contiguous relationship? Schneider claims that it is possible ‘to resituate the site of any knowing as body-to-body transmission’ (Schneider 2001), but working with virtual reality technology can de-stabilise embodied space and decentre the presence of the performer. In the virtual theatre, the performer becomes an ‘unhaptic’ ghost from the future, appearing on the stage of a might-have-been theatre. Is it, in the end, the imagination of the artist-scholar that seams the divergent pieces together, making the past travel into the present?

Dr Jane Woolard is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance, and Associate Head Learning and Teaching in School of Creative Arts and Media, University of Tasmania. As a writer-director Jane makes theatre which brings contemporary and historic material into a speculative relationship. The Hammer of Devotion (1994) was a playful exploration of medieval writers; Aelfgyva (2003), explored the Bayeux Tapestry. Her recent research investigates actresses on the early Australian stage, 1830s-40s. Miss W Treads (2017) was an exploration of actress Eliza Winstanley, and Ghosts of the Olympic Theatre (2019), revived the performers and repertoire of Launceston’s early theatre.

Session 5.6 – Curated panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 2.30pm – 4pm
Room: Humanities 206-201

Chair: Sarah Woodland

Sharon Mazer, Natascha Diaz Cardona, Mihailo Lađevac – Fellow Travellers: Theatre, Hope, and Danger

This panel interrogates the potential and pitfalls in proposing theatre as a mechanism for social justice. Theatre is often idealised as a platform and process for enacting redress, in the Turnerian sense. Here, however, we consider how the theatrical can also be seen to be weaponised, turned against the very humanity its scenarios and dramaturgies (Taylor 2003) are supposed to protect, promulgate and defend. In ‘It Lives, It Lives, the Slavic Spirit’ Mihailo Ladevac looks at the idealisation of theatre as a locus for reflection and repair in Eastern Europe. In ‘The Horrible Night Has (Not) Ceased’ Natascha Diaz Cardona observes that the dramatisation of violence in Colombia has forced artist/activists to de-theatricalise their work to expose the insidious effects of the state’s longstanding war with its people. In ‘We Are Still Here’ Sharon Mazer explores the way Russia’s war on Ukraine is being staged in the media by its opposing forces: the one a scenario of resistance and resilience, the other an assertion of purity and danger (Douglas 1966). How might the theatre hold onto its capacity for hope against such odds? How might we, as artists and academics, be ‘¡presente!’ (Taylor 2020)? How can we continue to perform in world where, increasingly, ‘refusal is not enough, defiance is not enough, critique is not enough, joy – alas – is not enough’ (Taylor 2020: 5)?


Douglas, Mary. 1966. Purity and Danger: An analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. London & NY: Routledge.

Taylor, Diana. 2003. The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing cultural memory in the Americas. Durham: Duke University Press.

Taylor, Diana. 2020. ¡Presente! The Politics of Presence. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Sharon Mazer – We are still here

This paper looks at Ukrainian performances of repudiation, resistance and resilience in the face of the ongoing onslaught of violence and brutality by the Russian army. It begins, as the war began, in the middle of the night after the tanks rolled across the border toward Kyiv and the bombs dropped, with the remarkable 30-second video filmed and uploaded to social media by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We see him standing in the eerily empty street, surrounded by members of his cabinet, holding his phone above his head, as he repeats: ‘Here! . . . Here! . . . We are all here!’ Zelenskyy’s refrain expresses an ‘existential urgency’ of the sort that has been idealised by Diana Taylor in her argument for being ‘¡presente!’ (2020: 5). So too the many videos that have followed. Performances of presence, of defiance and uplift by President Zelenskyy, by First Lady Olena Zelenska, and by the Ukrainian people stand in opposition to the overblown pageants staged by the Russian President, whose claims to nationalist purity and power, while manifestly dangerous, appear increasingly hollow and brittle in contrast.


Taylor, Diana. 2020. ¡Presente! The Politics of Presence. Durham & London: Duke University Press.

Sharon Mazer is Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies in Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development, and Head of School, Language and Culture in the Faculty of Culture and Society, at Auckland University of Technology. She is the author of Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle (1998; 2020) and of I Have Loved Me a Man: The Life and Times of Mika (2018); editor of The Intricate Art of Actually Caring . . . and Other New Zealand Plays (2018); and a co-editor of Professional Wrestling: Politics and Populism’ (2020). Forthcoming: Performance in Popular Culture (Routledge 2023).

Natascha Diaz Cardona – The horrible night nas (not) ceased

There is a certain irony when we sing the verse ‘The horrible night has ceased’ in Colombia’s national anthem. The song chants union and freedom after the independence from Spain picturing an optimistic vision, in which the violence, terror and repression of the past century has given way to a new era of communal prosperity. But for many of us, the horrible night has not, in fact, ceased. The reality on the ground is often quite different, and it often falls to Colombia’s theatre makers and artists to show us the truth of our society.

In 2019, an 18-year-old student named Dilan Cruz, who was participating in wide-spread protests against anti-democratic policies, was killed by the Escuadrones Móviles Antidisturbios de la Policía Nacional (ESMAD). In 2021, his death found new life in a production by Congregación Teatro. Titled “Solo me acuerdo de eso” (I only remember that), the performance sought to convert the scenario of oppression as staged by the Colombian government and its forces into a scenario of healing and possible redress. This paper will look at how the theatre in Colombia, as elsewhere, can serve to create a critical space for revelation, interrogation and connection, even as we attempt to sing ourselves past the strife around us.

Dr Natascha Diaz Cardona teaches at at Yoobee College of Creative Innovation (Auckland). She is from Colombia, where she obtained her Master’s in Creative Writing and Bachelor’s in Performing Arts. Natascha has more than fifteen-years’ experience as a playwright, director, dramaturg and actor. Her professional experience includes acting, playwriting, drama tutoring, university lecturing, and creating and developing artistic and educative programs. Her research focusses on the performance of violence in the theatre and on the street. 

Mihailo Lađevac – It lives, it lives, the Slavic spirit 

Growing up in communist Yugoslavia, we proudly sang the refrain of our national anthem, Hey Slavs!: ‘It lives, it lives, the Slavic spirit’. Yugoslavia fell apart in 1990, and after a series of national(ist) transitional states, my homeland once again came to be called Serbia. Throughout, our anthem, with its stirring words of unity and aspiration, remained the same. During the 1990s, Slobodan Milosevic and his regime were in power, setting themselves in brutal opposition towards democracy and humanity itself. For a time, it seemed that resistance was futile. Protests were violently suppressed, the media was conscripted or sidelined entirely, and any hint of opposition or challenge was foreclosed upon by the dictator. The only place of liberty was in the city of Belgrade, where the theatres maintained some semblance of freedom, and these theatres were critical to the resistance. In 1999, the Serbian independent theatre company Ogledalo’s production of Maurice Joly’s play The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu was taken out of the city into rural Serbia where it became a lightning rod for political debate and action. Performing in backyards, gardens, and secluded streets – wherever they could safely engage their audiences – these theatre artists can be seen to have played a significant role in exposing and ultimately ending Milosevic’s totalitarian regime. This paper looks at The Dialogue, to better understand how the theatre might, in Diana Taylor’s words, ‘walk and talk’ with its audiences to bring about social change.

Mihailo Lađevac is a teaching fellow in Theatre Studies at the University of Waikato, and a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at Auckland University of Technology. His research seeks to locate ‘the sacred’ in the work of the actor. To his academic work, Mihailo brings over 25 years of professional acting as a full-time member of the National Theatre in Belgrade (Serbia), and he has performed across Europe Australia and Aotearoa. His publications include ‘(Re)Discovering the Self through an “Other”: Reflections on the Spiritual Education of the Actor in the Remnants of Yugoslavia’ (TDPT 2020).


Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.15pm
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Marianne Schultz – Here and Now  

Soon after my return to Aotearoa/New Zealand in early 2021 I decided that I wanted to make a new dance for myself. Three years earlier I had packed up my life here and returned to live in the USA. I arrived back in NZ with nowhere to live, no work, single. It occurred to me that making a solo dance would ground me. I didn’t want to make a work that ‘expressed’ anything apart from me being here, now. A dance with no emotional agenda, without narrative, something that would just allow me to move freely in space to the best of my ability at my age. Some ideas that inspired me towards this dance: Yvonne Rainer on Trisha Brown’s work: ‘Memory stored in the body…she is talking about emotion stored in the muscles and the process of accessing it through gestures and movement. This is a very different idea from “expressing” emotion through gesture…’ And so, I sent this request to friends:

The Invitation:


I am inviting you to contribute a set of instructions to me on being Here and Now. Your instructions will be used to create a dance/performance work by me. These instructions should be written down with directions to complete gestures, movement patterns, spacial positions or repeating steps. Anything is possible and you can contribute as many instructions as you like. They need not be in any logical sequence or fit together in any way.

The final work will incorporate all of your instructions. If you have a piece of music that you like that speaks to your instructions of Here and Now please add that suggestion, but this is not necessary.

The two friends who provided instructions are the writer Paula Morris and visual artist Adele McNutt. 

Dr Marianne Schultz holds a MLitt and PhD in History from the University of Auckland in addition to a MA Performing Arts from Middlesex University, London. Marianne has danced and taught professionally in the United States and New Zealand, most recently with the Foster Group’s production Orchids. She is the author of two books; Performing Indigenous Culture on Stage and Screen: A Harmony of Frenzy and Limbs Dance Company: Dance For All People. Her articles on dance and the performing arts have appeared in several peer-reviewed journals and in the volume Staging the Other in Nineteenth-Century British Drama.

Section 6.1 – Performance

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: AUT Blackbox Theatre, WG Level 2, 55 Wellesley Street East

Declan Patrick, Karen Barbour and Alec Forbes – Adventures in Failure

Adventures in Failure is a practice-as-research work comprised of three 20-minute interrelated performances from Dr Declan Patrick and collaborators Associate Professor Karen Barbour, Dr Isabelle Delmotte, Se-Rok Park, Alec Forbes and Kate Matthewson. The research is a mixture of scripted and improvised performance work. Concepts explored include performance of gender, the role of universities in colonialism, appropriation of cultural narratives, aging as performers, finding connection with disparate practices, exploring what performance means in the 21st century. This is achieved through drag, storytelling, improvisation, dance and song.

Declan Patrick is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre, with a specialism in practice-as-research. He completed his PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, and worked at a variety of universities around the world before returning to NZ in 2019. He is a performer and performance-maker and is artistic director of Fighting Fit Productions.

Associate Professor Karen Barbour is a Hamilton-based academic, lecturing in Dance. She has specialisms in several areas, including Somatics and Site-based performance.

Alec Forbes is a Hamilton institution. He is an accomplished actor, director and technician.

Section 6.2 – Workshop

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: Dance Studio 113-G10

Alys Longley, Kim Sargent Wishart, Becca Wood, Amaara Raheem, Carol Brown and Rheannan Port – Expanded practices and loose loops of feedback; practices for interdisciplinary artistic research sharing 

Expanded practices encourage experimentation with all available media including multi-modal sensory states, shifting between analogue and digital modes and diverse material conditions. The field of writing and performance in the expanded field has a vast realm of resources to enable unconventional, sensorially-rich, conceptually-specific, open-ended, agile, relational modes of engagement, creation, feedback, and co-presence. These include working with the possibilities of voice and sound as a kind of touch, atmosphere and world-ing (Longley et al, 2020; Fernald, 2007); developing modes of somatic interaction where precise physical states can be shared through language, metaphor, kinesthetic cueing and imaginative states; and performative score-based approaches to developing tasks for making and response. Differentiated from music scores, such scores tend to be open-ended, and present modes of interactive making and feedback that work in feedback loops between digital and analogue, on-line and off-line, material and discursive modes. This interdisciplinary artistic research sharing will present a series of short (often collaboratively created) provocations and responses to the concept of expanding fields of practice. The aim of this artistic research presentation is to open a space for studio practitioners working in the academy in NZ and Australia to have an opportunity for creative exchange in a series of low-stakes experiments, where we can share our current obsessions and border-crossings.

(1) Expanded Fields and Embodiment
Fernald, A. (2007). Sound as Touch. Radiolab Podcast. September 4, 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2019 from:
Forsythe, W. (2010) Choreographic Objects. Accessed 8 March 2010.

(2) Scores
Forti, S. (1974). Handbook in Motion. Contact Editions: Nova Scotia.
Goulish, M. (2000). 39 Microlectres in proximity of performance. London: Routledge.

Section 6.3 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: Humanities 206-220

Chair: Sarah Thomasson

Suzanne Little – Connections, challenges and synchronicities: Practice as research in

Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand

 Australian and Aotearoa delegates gather annually for the ADSA conference to share research and renew connections. ADSA and its events serves as something of a regional mooring post for Australian and Aotearoa researchers. Lunch and other social conversations often involve sharing information about what is happening in our respective institutions and in the wider field. Conference presentations however, tend to stick to the brief of presenting individual research projects related to a specific set theme. As a result, little is shared about the conditions under which we are expected to conduct our research; the expectations of our institutions and national funding research bodies, or our respective understandings of key methodologies. There is a sense that the same things are happening in Australia and Aotearoa, and that there is a relatively stable agreed understanding of key concepts and research approaches. Last year, I conducted a brief survey of Australian and Aotearoa researchers to examine the state of Practice as Research (PaR) or Practice Research in the region. Additionally, I looked at how the national funding bodies assessed Practice Research as well as its general level of acceptance as a valid research form. What I found is that the two countries are not ‘travelling together’ in terms of acceptance and understandings of Practice Research. While some synchronicities are occurring across both countries, there exists a strong divide. This is occurring at national levels and filtering down to positive and negative effects. There are significant differences in support and approach between institutions also. In this presentation, I will discuss the state of Practice Research in Australia and Aotearoa and advocate for more cross-country exchanges to foster more consistency and to bolster negotiating power at national and institutional levels.

Suzanne Little is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Theatre Studies at the University of Otago in Aotearoa. Suzanne has published in journals such as Performance Research and Theatre Research International as well as contributed to multiple books. Suzanne is director of the Performance of The Real Research Theme and has published on political dance; trauma, violence and mobilities in performance, Practice as Research (PaR), reflective practice, documentary, and the witness turn. Her forthcoming book, Performance, Resistance, Refugees (Routledge) is co-edited with Caroline Wake and Samid Suliman.

Rea Dennis – Ecologies of us: Practice research as accruing moments together over time

On the first page of her book ‘Creative Collaborations’ Vera John-Steiner (2000) attributes her book ‘to my magic circle of family, friends, collaborators, and students’, acknowledging the ‘dynamics of mutuality’ (3) in creative practice and the limitations of notions such as the solitary thinker within research, innovation and knowledge development. As a performance practitioner much of my thinking is embodied, suspended between: materials, bodies, cultures. This paper interrogates the way joined lives and shared work underpins cultural and creative practices that seek to transform people and communities. It considers the dispersed and socially engaged projects In our backyard (2019) and Field Trip to the Future (2022) to theorise about the essential locus of time in performance research, of journeying, of adjacent-ness, of intersections and of intergenerationality, and of process as form. The paper will share images and participant feedback from the two works and consider these in relationship to modes of thought and language, research and practice, and ecologies of us.

Rea Dennis is a theatre practitioner and scholar who lives and works on Wurundjeri country, Melbourne Australia. Her practice research investigates questions of embodied knowing, perception and affect in identity and felt experience. Rea has published on refugee performance, actor training, ecological and telematic performance. Her live performance, socially engaged and multimedia works have been presented in UK, USA, Taiwan, UK, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. She is leader of the Research Higher Degree Program in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University and is the current President of ADSA. On the editorial board of Dance and Somatic Practices journal and Journal of Arts and Community.

Ellin Sears – The Lonely PhD Club

On average, it takes between 4 and 10 years to complete a PhD. Due to the nature of this type of research, most doctoral candidates will spend a great deal of this time alone with their research. In recent years, the feelings of isolation and loneliness experienced by many PhD students during their study journey has been highlighted by researchers and is now gaining significant attention. While there are tools and programs out there designed to help PhD students, most are focussed on more traditional aspects of research and writing, or in fostering a more general sense of community and support. Within the field of performing arts there is a gap where those who incorporate creative praxis into their PhD research may be lacking in support. After all, collaboration is the norm within the performing arts world – writers, directors, performers, designers all working together to create a performance artefact. But it is astoundingly rare to find two doctoral candidates who have collaborated on a singular creative artefact for their respective studies. In this paper I consider the concept of isolation in opposition to connection within the context of my own doctoral research. My creative collaboration with a fellow doctoral candidate saw us make a performance artefact which formed the creative component for both of our PhDs. Specifically I will be discussing our process, the benefits and potential drawbacks of this collaborative model, and a reflection on how we have used our experiences to benefit the next generation of PhD students at our institution.

Dr Ellin Sears is a researcher and creative arts practitioner based in Perth, Western Australia. Her doctoral research investigated the functions of musical theatre dance through the lens of audience reception. She has an interest in acting for digital roleplay simulation, dance in musical theatre, theatre in education, and Shakespeare studies. She has performed, taught, and presented at conferences in Perth, interstate, and abroad.

Section 6.4 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: Humanities 206-209

Chair: Emma Willis

Felicity Molloy – Line of flight – fight or freeze 

Neoliberalism promulgates a systematic disadvantaging of collective ideals, histories of sustainable developments in a field and, therefore, the core purpose of a discipline within the academy. Institutionalised approaches to dance technique are another form of monoculturalism that simply refuses to regard the body as a unique form of practice undertaking. Over the last 50 years, I traversed practice intentions and applications of dance. Through multidisciplinary endeavours, I remain intentionally a beginner on practice terms. Without practice on collective terms, we travel together as beginners. The question this paper explores is how dancers practice, if the decolonisation of dance practice within institutions – teaching, research, and creative practices – avoids practice, and relies on the broader community, and choreographic performance as the discipline’s field of expression. Through discourses of technique and social theories of practice, identity, and exchange, this paper explores the broad scope of technical dance, and its ways of inviting the body to move on practice methods and terms – an attention that does not turn away. What becomes at stake is the language of dance becoming amorphous and indecipherable in attempts for survival, leeway for the transdisciplinary, rather than the zenith of dance becoming extensions of practice techniques in deeply decolonising and interdisciplinary ways. The greatest risk is that dancers themselves become unaware of their vast movement lexicon, and in much the same way that texting has become an accepted form of abbreviated communication, dance moves attempted in institutional studios through choreographic preparation are becoming reliant on the ordinary, abbreviated, reduced to the imaginary and even inactive. Without the signifiers of practice outcomes, dancers are seen as beginners, and true interdisciplinarians may become less likely to engage. 

Dr Felicity Molloy (PhD I MEd I GDHE) maintains a long-term national profile and, as an independent scholar, moves seamlessly in academia that extends practice and teaching for dance, yoga, bodywork, and somatics. She was a dancer in Impulse Dance Theatre, and Limbs Dance Company before becoming an independent dance professional, and founding tertiary educator at Unitec, AUT, and University of Auckland. Felicity is experienced in community programme development, bringing practice-based movement, and well-being approaches to a broad range of communities. In 2017, she completed a doctoral thesis in Critical Education Studies, titled Fit To Teach: Tracing Embodied Methodologies Of Dancers Who Come To Academia. Since 2009, Felicity has been researching the benefits of dance for older adults, becoming Research Officer for the AUT/SPARC project called Can Dancing Improve Physical Activity Levels, Functional Ability and Reduce Falls in Older Adults? Following this project, Dance Mobility™ became a teaching structure for other dancers teaching older adults, culminating in a co-authored international article and conference presentations, one where Felicity presented at the World Congress of Physical Therapy (WCPT), 2019 in Geneva, Dance Mobility™ was renamed Silver Bones and has been taught up until the lockdowns in Westmere, Auckland.

Marianne Schultz – The ‘mature’ dancer 

This paper explores questions surrounding age and the aging dancing body, as well as connection and exchange between dancers of varying ages, and between performer and spectator. By delving into my own experience, post performance, as a creator and performer with the Foster Group’s production Orchids in 2017 and again in 2019, I reflect on several years of my dancing life by exploring the meaning of maturity in dance. During the 2019 Orchids season I was 61. Now, as I approach my sixty-fifth birthday, with a body and mind that still wants to dance, (and can still, to some degree), the fundamental nature of dance as an art form, the gaze of the spectator and the innate wisdom of a dancing body are questions that keep arising for me. Why dance? And how does an older dancer cope with the fallibility of the body, an inward focused critical eye and the public perception of the ‘mature’ dancer?

When we launched the creative journey of Orchids I was 58 years old. Working with dancers who were mostly more than half my age, some the same ages as my children, poised particular considerations for me. If I had been performing solo I may not have come up against that barrier of overwork or pushing beyond what might be safe or even juxtaposing my aging body with younger bodies. Moreover, participating in the morning warm-up classes proved to be almost as unfamiliar and at times overwhelming as the work in the rehearsal room, and this experience was perhaps the most surprising and difficult aspect of this entire enterprise. I had to keep up, as best I could, but the internal, self-imposed measurement of my ability proved to be unrelenting at times. What does it mean to be a ‘mature’ dancer?

Dr Marianne Schultz holds a MLitt and PhD in History from the University of Auckland in addition to a MA Performing Arts from Middlesex University, London. She has danced and taught professionally in the United States and New Zealand, most recently with the Foster Group’s production Orchids. She is the author of two books; Performing Indigenous Culture on Stage and Screen: A Harmony of Frenzy and Limbs Dance Company: Dance For All People. Her articles on dance and the performing arts have appeared in several peer-reviewed journals and in the volume Staging the Other in Nineteenth-Century British Drama.

Glen McGillivray – Tango and emotion: ‘One heart and four legs’ travelling together

Travelling is intrinsic to Argentine tango. From Buenos Aires’ impoverished and working-class suburbs, tango music and dancing travelled to Europe in the early twentieth century before spreading throughout the world. Since its beginning “authentic” Argentine tango has been intercultural. Military dictatorships suppressed tango in Argentina for three decades, and it was travel which led its resurgence in the early 1980s, in this instance, the wildly popular international touring show: Tango Argentina! (1983). Now, nearly five decades after its renaissance, tango continues to be internationally popular; the question is: why? My research is interested in what makes non-Argentinos commit to dancing tango without any cultural links to the home of tango. A similar commitment has been noted by Jasmine Robertson in a different context; in her study of Australian dancers who practice Japanese butoh, she describes their dedication to the dance as a ‘conversion’. Tango dancers seek deep connection through dancing in order to create what dancer and choreographer, Juan Carlos Copes, called ‘one heart and four legs’. The embodied experience captured in Copes’ pithy expression is described by tango dancers as a ‘high’, as ‘ecstasy’ or, indeed, as a ‘tangasm’, but this can only be achieved through extensive preparation and practice. This ‘high’ is hard won; despite being a social dance, tango is difficult to learn: basic competency can take months of classes, and proficiency, several years. If we think of conversion as a journey of the heart – something felt more than thought – then we can see a similar process in dancers who give themselves to tango.

Glen McGillivray is an Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. He explores questions of embodiment and the histories of emotions in his research. The study of emotions, how they are performed, how they are experienced and in what contexts, links his previous historical work to his new research direction in tango. His monograph, Actors, Audiences and Emotions in the Eighteenth-Century Theatre: Communities of Sentiment (Palgrave Macmillan) will be published later this year.

Section 6.5 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Rand Hazou

Jess Lamb – A playful path: Theatrical wayfinding in rural Queensland through the gift of the game

Queensland presents a unique challenge to rural theatre makers and audiences. As one of the largest and most decentralised Australian states, the tyranny of distance renders engagement with performance products and processes inaccessible to many. This has produced communities of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, where those in sites of concentrated theatrical activity often see their places and perspectives meaningfully represented in the performance zeitgeist, whilst the remainder subsist on local amateur productions of globalised commercial works and sporadic, ‘fly-in, fly-out’ imports (Abercrombie, McPhail, Peluso & Toohey 2020; Beckett, Fensham and Rae 2020; Regional Arts Australia 2019; Terracini 2006). According to this logic, the path to theatre in Queensland charts south, away from the regions and towards the major centres. By contrast, this researcher proposes a new, playful path, wayfinding a course towards locally-responsive theatre using shared community knowledge and “the gift of the game”. This presentation will detail how an integrative games/theatre praxis can challenge notions of creative control in artist-in-residence contexts, centring both the narrative and artistic contributions of non-practitioners to produce new theatrical works. Through a gift-driven approach to experience design, this model encourages visiting artists to adopt a decolonising mindset, elevating non-practitioner communities beyond the status of ‘theatrical subjects’ and into creative agents. Within the ‘magic circle’ of the roleplaying game, keepers of local and formal knowledge are invited to travel together as co-artists, shaping original work that contributes new and valuable perspectives to Australia’s theatrical milieu.

Jessica Lamb (she/her) is a community theatre artist and PhD candidate with the University of New England. Based in regional Queensland, her practice focuses on collaborative, place-based theatre in traditionally underrepresented community contexts. Jessica piloted her integrative games/theatre praxis through her masters research (UNE 2019), which culminated in the development of the play text, Rockpocalypse (Playlab 2020; Arts Queensland 2020; Arts Central Queensland Inc. 2020). She is currently expanding this practice through a rural case study in Mount Morgan, QLD.

Adrianne Smith – The imperative of presence: The value of amateur/community theatre in Aotearoa

Membership of Amateur/Community Theatre groups is an important social and cultural activity for many people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The restrictions of Covid 19 have forced many theatre groups, including Amateur/Community Theatre groups, to consider the use of digital platforms for rehearsals and possible performances.

A qualitative research study of 36 members of six Amateur/Community Theatre societies revealed that for many participants their theatre experiences were pivotal, enhancing their lives, creatively, socially and educationally.

One of the most important outcomes the participants reported was the experience of the heightened state of ‘flow’ during performance, which was described by one as ‘almost spiritual’. Participants also experienced emotional satisfaction, and acquired ongoing learning and personal empowerment. They described their ‘sense of belonging’ and recounted their development of skills and gains in confidence. In particular they commented on their development of a belief in themselves and their ability.

Because the learning was a pragmatic learning by doing, often gained on a need to know basis, and significantly, through using their bodies, many participants observed that the skills they acquired, especially the self-awareness and co-operation learnt directly through performance, are applicable to everyday life.

Drawing on this research study, and the work of Christopher Beckey (2000), Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (1975), Abraham Maslow (1968) and the Whanganui ‘Covid 19 Community Lived Experience Report’ (2021), this paper focuses on the positive outcomes of the ‘presence of performance’ in a face-to-face environment, discusses the personal benefits of Amateur/Community Theatre participation, and considers what might be lost when such groups find themselves excluded from the opportunity to experience these opportunities.

Adriann Smith is an independent researcher whose background includes making investigative documentaries for Radio New Zealand. She completed her PH.D “Seeing Ourselves On Stage -Revealing Ideas about Pākehā Cultural Identity through Theatrical Performance” at Otago University. Her interest in how the society of Aotearoa/New Zealand represents itself, to itself, prompted research in this area. She has taught performance skills and media studies and published in the Australasian Drama Studies Journal and in the on-line Philament and Double Dialogue journals. She continues to research theatre and is interested in the range of skills developed by those people who are involved in amateur/community theatre.

Matthew Tyne – ‘…Maintaining a neutral, observational position.’: Performance ethnography and the co-creation of intercultural research

All over the world, there are men enacting non-heteronormative sexualities in all sorts of ways. Beyond this self-evident fact, things become complex. Rather than simply copying often-dominant gay liberation discourses from North America or Australia, my research observes how diverse male sexualities are performed and experienced in a Sri Lankan way. It does this through a series of theatre-making workshops, rehearsals, and a participant-created, consciously reflexive performance-making piece based on stories from the participants’ own lives. The study explores how a group of gay men from Colombo, experience and understand their sexuality and how they choose to represent themselves through a performance ethnography. While affording an opportunity for increased visibility for some of its gay citizenry, even if temporarily, Sri Lanka’s penal code forbids sex between same-sex adults, thus requiring the participants to negotiate personal and collective risks, to themselves and their respective families. Therefore, what forms of theatrical expression might be suitable in contemporary Colombo for this act of self-representation? This project is further complicated by the positioning and presence of a researcher from the ‘outside,’ one deeply influenced by gay liberation discourses from the Global North. Drawing on the study’s findings, this presentation will explore the use of theatre as a research method within a Sri Lankan context, and the complex, dynamic relationships between an Australian researcher and their Sri Lankan participants/co-creators.

Dr Matthew Tyne is an  Academic Facilitator at the National Centre for Cultural Competence at the University of Sydney. He has worked for 20 years in  international community development, especially in South East Asia and the Pacific, and sexual health promotion with diverse communities in Australia. He has recently completed his PhD, a performance ethnography that investigates how gay men in Colombo, Sri Lanka, might use theatre as a mode of advocacy and site of discussion for issues important to them.

Section 6.6 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: Humanities 206-203

Chair: Jonathan Bollen

Rhumer Diball – Lifelong learning philosophy for a dramaturg? Applying the ALACT model to traverse heuristic challenges and guide critical reflection

Since the Dramaturg’s Network’s 2021 response to the ‘We need to talk about Dramaturgy’ open letter, an incitement for all those who collaborate with playwrights to shape their work has promoted fresh action and solidarity for dramaturgs in their practice. This incitement has cracked open Westernised dramaturgy for investigation and discussion. Considering the letter’s invitation for us to think critically about unchallenged Eurocentric traditions, assumptions, power structures, and priorities, practices such as critical reflection and collaborative learning feel pertinent for guiding a dramaturg’s independent professional development. In this paper, I explore how a dramaturg can add structured and action-oriented critical reflection models and frameworks to their skill toolkit to enhance their professional development in terms of accountability, inclusivity, and lifelong learning philosophy. Despite being designed for educators, an early-career or freelance dramaturg can apply the ‘ALACT model of reflection’ (Action (experience), Looking back on the experience, Awareness of essential aspects, Creating alternative methods of action and making a choice, and Trial) to guide and structure their critical reflection cycles throughout their practice. Specifically, this paper argues that implementing the ALACT model can allow dramaturgs to increase the quality of their reflection on experiences such as consultations, collaboration, and feedback exchange contexts. Further, a dramaturg adding this practice to their toolkit can aid in learning from successes, deeply considering mistakes and unpacking challenges, thus enhancing the suitability and productivity of their work, and arriving at new insights and more effective heuristic choices.

Rhumer Diball is a freelance dramaturg and theatre critic based in Brisbane, Australia. She has worked as a dramaturg for Queensland and Melbourne-based playwrights, theatre companies, and festivals and publishes her Queensland performing arts reviews through her website Downstage Discernments. Rhumer has also facilitated dramaturgy workshops and designed education resources for performing arts education facilitators across schooling and University course contexts for the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, and various Queensland high schools. Rhumer has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Drama, a Masters of Learning and Teaching, and is a current PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, working in the research field of dramaturgical processes and feedback facilitation.

Gillian Arrighi – Embedding the pedagogy of collaboration

‘Collaboration’ – working with someone, with the purpose of producing something. Embedded within the process of ‘working with someone’ is the dimension of Time, a sequence of existence and events in an irreversible succession from the past to the present, into the future. Motioning to the theme of this conference, ‘Collaboration’ can be comprehended as a journey together, a travelling alongside others for the purpose of creating an outcome, an object, an experience. In the Higher Education sector ‘Collaboration’ has become a persuasive term indicating desirable learning outcomes in many, if not most disciplines, because it is understood as inculcating job-ready and real-life qualities in students. ‘Collaboration’ is never used unfavourably and always invokes unequivocal positivity; it is a future-facing term that shuns historic notions of academic isolation or irrelevance to industry. In Drama, Theatre and Performance studies ‘Collaboration’ is germane to the industry we are in dialogue with and is a likely element of course outlines across disciplines comprising the performing arts/creative industries.

In this paper we interrogate the pedagogy of ‘Collaboration,’ as we have taught it at the University of Newcastle during the past decade. Selecting case material from first-year through to third year, we examine outcomes of student ‘success,’ and student ‘failure’, as students have moved from structured devising in class with clear roles and functions, through to projects requiring their own design and facilitation of collaborative processes with community groups outside the University. We interrogate the pedagogy of processes for which connection, co-presence, and exchange are fundamental.

Recognising that pedagogies develop at different institutions within a nexus of institutional culture and unique community relationships, our purpose is not to define or circumscribe best practice. Rather our purpose is to draw the matter of the pedagogy of ‘Collaboration’ into critical discussion.

Gillian Arrighi has taught Creative and Performing Arts (formerly Drama) at the University of Newcastle since 2004 and was until recently Associate Professor (Drama) and Head of Creative and Performing Arts. Her research focus is in the areas of circus studies, popular entertainments, acting theory and practice, child actors, and digital humanities methods in theatre research. Her many refereed journal articles and book chapters appear in scholarly publications and in edited collections. She has been co-editor of the scholarly e-journal, Popular Entertainment Studies for eleven years; lead editor of  The Cambridge Companion to the Circus (2021, with Prof Jim Davis), Entertaining Children: The Participation of Youth in the Entertainment Industry (Palgrave 2014), A World of Popular Entertainments (Cambridge Scholars 2012); editor of a focus issue on circus for the journal of Early Popular Visual Culture (2017); and author of the monograph The FitzGerald Brothers’ Circus: spectacle, identity and nationhood at the Australian circus (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2015). Her current book projects include Pinafores, Prodigies, and Precocities, a monograph for CUP concerning child actors on trans-national stages, 1880-1914, and a five-volume set of circus sources (US, UK, Australasia, SE Asia and India) for Routledge, for which she is leading an international team of editors.

Melita Rowston – Hearing the past: Utilising deep mapping to dramatise the lost voices of Irish female convicts

Deep mapping is predominantly a literary methodology best exemplified by William Least Heat-Moon’s ‘thick’ travel writing in ‘Prairy Erth.’ For performance, Pearson|Shanks describe it as an “archaeological cultural poetics” that attempts to “record and represent the grain and patina of place” through “the conflation of oral testimony, anthology, memoir, biography, natural history, and everything you might ever want to say about a place.” While less prevalent in performance, deep mapping has been adopted by Brith Gof (Wales) and Marrugeku (Broome/Sydney) to develop large scale, multi-disciplinary, collaborative, multimedia, and site-specific works.

My approach to deep mapping focuses on playwriting. As a playwright, I’m passionate about stories that fall through the cracks of history. In developing my play ‘The Incorrigibles,’ I’m giving voice to Irish female convicts banished to ‘parts beyond the seas’ (NSW). Largely illiterate, these women left few records. We read them through the patriarchal voice of the coloniser. Part of my practice-led research engages deep mapping to creatively explore the gaps in archival records (prisoner petitions, court reports, inquests), and ‘hear’ their voices. Adopting Basso’s ‘active sensing’ of place through body experience, felt-knowledge and multi-vocal imaginings, I deep map their journey from Ireland’s West along The Grand Canal, marking time at Kilmainham Gaol, to their departure for Australia from Dun Laoghaire (Dublin). From Sydney Cove (Warrane), I deep map their voyage up Parramatta (Burramatta) River to their final destination at the Parramatta Female Factory. Ever aware of history as a contested space, Brith Gof’s manifesto that deep mapping remain “unstable, fragile and temporary… a conversation and not a statement” supports this process of creation and decolonisation.

Featuring performed excerpts of my place-writing/playwriting; this paper will show how deep mapping can support Dolan’s ‘utopian performatives’ where communal engagement with our past(s) can inform an approach toward healing and social transformation.

Melita Rowston

Section 6.7 – Paper panel

Thursday 8th December
NZ Time – 4.30pm – 6pm
Room: Humanities 206-201

Chair: Molly Mullen

Sean Mulcahy – Coming together in parliamentary committee rooms

When new legislation comes before parliament, it is often referred to a scrutiny committee that undertakes detailed examination of the proposed law. The meetings of parliamentary scrutiny committees are often held behind closed doors and provide an opportunity for parliamentarians and their advisors to connect and frankly exchange views on the impacts of proposed laws, including their impacts on human rights. Responding to Lisa Samuels’ (2021) provocation “to take encounter as a work” and to research on law as performance, this paper examines these moments of encounter by parliamentary scrutiny committees as legal performances. This draws from interviews with parliamentary actors – including parliamentarians, their advisors and other parliamentary staff – conducted as part of a research project into drug laws and human rights. We argue that these meetings, comings-together and encounters do the work of (per)forming human rights assessments of legislation. We also question how the spaces of committee meetings, the absence of an outside audience, and the differing levels of knowledge on the part of parliamentary actors affect the performance of human rights scrutiny.

Sean Mulcahy is a Research Officer at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. Sean completed a joint PhD in the Warwick Law School and the Monash Centre for Theatre and Performance, where he also held appointment as a teaching associate in Performance Studies. His doctoral research examined the performance of law through a study of courts from the perspective of contemporary theatre and performance research and practice. His work has been published in the Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Law and Humanities and Law Text Culture. He also produces the Performing Law podcast:

Alexandra Bonham – On the road to participatory politics: Legislative Theatre

Theatre pioneer and Rio City councillor Augusto Boal created Legislative theatre 1992-6, claiming it was the beginning of “transitive democracy.” Slammed by Baz Kershaw (2001), it has had limited impact.

In 2021, as a theatre-maker and elected official on Auckland Council, I developed An Extraordinary Meeting based on real Auckland Council processes. The audience took the role of city councillors charged with interpreting the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (2020) and, with the support of actors and real-life experts, agreed the priorities of a “well-functioning city.” As a shadow town hall, it had significant overlap with Boal’s Chamber in the Square.

This applied theatre as research enquiry suggested legislative theatre may have four affordances: raising interest in local government issues; as public pedagogy, revealing how cities work, through tangible and intangible structures; creating a diarchy between council officials and members of the public; and giving officials a critical perspective of processes.

In New Zealand local democracy is under review. This presentation will consider what insights may be gleaned from Legislative Theatre into how to expand political participation and lead to greater wellbeing for all. Legislative Theatre draws on the Greek agon and agora but could/should it also draw on deliberative democracy and traditional Maori tikanga around decision-making on the marae to create a model for local engagement best suited for Aotearoa?

Anne Salmond has suggested that “Experimenting with different tikanga . . . as promised in the last Ture of Te Tiriti, might open up a new kind of future for our children and grandchildren. Why not try, when the alternatives seem so bleak?” This session will end with an invitation to conference attendees to propose next steps on this journey.

Alex Bonham is a theatre-maker and doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland, studying how playful practices might co-produce the playful city. Her book Play and the City was published by Hachette in 2021. Between 2019-22 she was the planning lead and Deputy Chair of the Waitemata Local Board.

Chris Hay and Stephen Carleton – Travelling apart: pandemic postcard performance projects

We close our recently-published book Contemporary Australian Playwriting, which surveys major trends on the Australian mainstage from 2007 to 2020, with an account of one of the many postcard projects that proliferated around the world during the global theatre closures necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. From Ireland to Australia, these projects invited playwrights-in-lockdown to write postcards to the nation, which were then home-recorded as mostly solo monologues and streamed online to an enthusiastic, performance-starved public. These projects hold obvious appeal, on both practical and metaphorical levels: not only are they comparatively easy to realise relying only on appropriately-distanced individuals, but also they act as a nostalgic throwback to a time in which (inter)national travel was desirable – or even possible. While we watch performances on YouTube in our bedrooms, the postcard travels in our place.

Led by Playwriting Australia, Dear Australia invited fifty playwrights nominated by twenty-five different companies from around Australia to produce a short piece of writing addressing the nation. In this paper, we use our dual perspectives as participant in and consumer of the Dear Australia postcard project to not only look backwards to the progress of the decade past, but also consider the industrial challenges of the decade to come. While the postcard project embraced and codified many of the advances we identify across this period – including diverse representation, formal experimentation, and a heightened search for authenticity – we also outline how the retrospective nostalgia of the postcard risked occluding the bold visions of the future that will be needed to reimagine contemporary Australian playwriting in a post-pandemic world.

Stephen Carleton is Associate Professor of Drama at the University of Queensland. His plays have won the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award and the Griffin Award for Best New Australian Play. He teaches and researches Australian drama, Gothic drama, playwriting, and theatre historiography.

Chris Hay is Professor of Drama at Flinders University in South Australia. He is an Australian theatre and cultural historian, whose research analyses subsidised theatre for what it can reveal about national identities and anxieties. He previously held appointments at the University of Queensland, and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).

Plenary panel 1

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 9am – 10.15am
Room: Fale Pasifika, Building 275, 22 Wynyard Street

Chair: Emma Willis

Anna Marbrook, Dorita Hannah, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Kasia Pol – Waka Odyssey: Oceanic theatre as an expression of unity

Focusing on urban performativity and planning of contemporary waterfront cities, this paper confronts the pervading neoliberal approach to developing globalized cityscapes by rethinking the map of the world, conventionally perceived as continents that define and demarcate territories through borders. Questioning how an emphasis on the oceanic – replacing solid states with fluid ones – can “influence our understandings and performances of identity” was central to Fluid States, a year-long globally dispersed festival of events hosted by Performance Studies international (PSi) in 2015, which aimed to unsettle centre/periphery discourse. The underpinning concept was inspired by the Pacific region: home to many island states, invisible in the bifurcated blue expanse of a Eurocentric world map. Described as a “liquid continent”, the region images itself through te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa (the Great Ocean of Kiwa) with its fluid, immersive and relational tā-vā (time-space) condition that resists fixity and terra firma.

The paper outlines PSi’s Fluid States project, particularly Sea-Change: Performing a Liquid Continent – a 3-day festival on Rarotonga (Cook Islands, July 2015) – to establish oceanic spacing for public performance. The focus then turns to the harbour city of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) and the Waka Odyssey, an extended spatiotemporal event that opened the 2018 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts with a performance celebrating the legendary Māori navigator and explorer, Kupe. This waterfront spectacle involved 20,000 spectators, a mass choir, a thousand-strong dance troupe and stage towers overlooking the harbour into which sailed a fleet of waka (traditional canoes) to stage the first voyagers’ arrival centuries before Britain’s James Cook. In decolonizing public space by emphasising oceanic ground as a dynamic and performative stage, such projects inform how urban environments can be developed and experienced, especially the Pasifika | Moana Nui City of Oceania. 

Dr Dorita Hannah is a designer and independent academic whose practice and research – operating across the architectural, performing, culinary and visual arts – focus on performance space and spatial performativity. Hannah has published on Performance Design and Event-Space, while designing, curating and directing exhibitions, installations, performances, feasts, symposia and workshops. She is co-convenor of IFTR’s Theatre & Architecture Working Group. She also co-chairs the Performance+Design Working Group for PSi (Performance Studies international). 

Anna Marbrook 

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr 

Kasia Pol

Plenary panel 2

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 10.45am – 12pm
Room: Fale Pasifika, Building 275, 22 Wynyard Street

Chair: Molly Mullen

Huia O’Sullivan, Jacqui Moyes, and Michelle Johansson – Travelling together as and with communities

How do performance makers travel together well as and with communities? Community arts and performance practices often claim to be non-hierarchical ‘safe’ places for mutual exchange. But this is by no means a given. The speakers on this panel discuss the mahi-work-craft involved in creating places where people can meet authentically. What needs to happen in and around a collaborative creative/performance process to enable a meeting of hearts and minds, support taha wairua, honour the wisdom each person brings to a process?  How can performing arts processes bridge the barriers or gaps in the system, between schools and alternative education, prisons and probation…? How are these other institutions brought on the journey, without killing the soul of the work?  The speakers will share approaches to making the journeys they are on with communities/participants sustainable, through collective mentoring, tuakana-teina processes and pathways into leadership roles.

Ngā Rangatahi Toa’s executive director, Huia O’Sullivan (Te Atiawa ki Taranaki), has deep experience in youth development programmes and the issues and challenges that young people face in seizing educational and career opportunities. She has worked with Ngā Rangatahi Toa since 2016, first as Director of Engagement before becoming Executive Director in 2018.

Huia believes in working alongside young people and in the power of programmes grounded in Te Aō Māori to teach wellbeing and coping strategies. She has worked in positive youth development for over 22 years in wide and varied roles dedicated to a single purpose: to serve and advocate for young people while facilitating the process of them finding their own voices.

She has worked at the Families Commission, co-designing with community the document “Thriving in Practice” which is the current theory of change that is embedded in Ngā Rangatahi Toa’s work. When Huia’s not leading youth wānanga, creating or writing funding proposals, you’ll find her on her longboard skating, snowboarding or travelling.

Jacqui Moyes is the Creative Director of Praying Mantis Productions. She has worked previously as the Arts in Corrections Advisor for Arts Access Aotearoa, and as an advisor to the Chief Censor of the Office of Film and Literature Classification. Jacqui has experience mentoring families engaged in social services, delivering and designing prison arts programmes, coordinating arts events, and has a background in community performing arts.

Jacqui manages Home Ground, an ongoing initiative that creates opportunities for women in the justice system to participate in high-quality arts process and practice. Home Ground uses multi-disciplinary arts practice (performing arts, perfumery, creative writing, raranga, clay work and more…) as a non-threatening, strengths-based approach to self-empowerment and community connectedness. Artists both inside and outside of prison are encouraged to create artistic responses to the issues women and whānau face in the justice system.

In 2020 Jacqui was a finalist in the Women of Influence (Arts & Culture) Award, and Home Ground received the Highly Commended Whai Tikanga Award from Arts Access Aotearoa. In 2019 she received the Sonja Davies Peace Award, and in 2017 was a finalist in the Wellingtonian of the year Arts & Culture Award.

Dr Michelle Johansson is a Tongan educator, theatre-maker, mother and former high school dropout. She serves as Kaitiaki at Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ, growing exceptional people to teach in low-decile schools. She is Kaiwhakahaere at Māia Centre for Social Justice and Education and the Creative Director of the Black Friars. South Auckland, decile-one born and bred, she is proud to work alongside amazing teachers, warriors, storytellers and change-makers to re-story Pasifika in the largest Polynesian city in the world, to activate indigenous knowledges, to grow future leaders and to hold courageous spaces for our young people to walk tall in all of their worlds.

Performance installation

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 12.30pm – 3pm
Room: The Drama Studio Green Room, ajacent to Drama Studio 206-325

Janaína Moraes, Chris Berthelsen, and Negative Emissions and Waste Studies Programme – What Might Happen Together? Episode 6f: The Reparar of a Massage Chair

We take a defunct massage chair bought by accident-on-purpose from a liquidation auction and, having no expert mechanical or electronic knowledge, join together to reparar it, for pleasurable use, with “whatever” we happen to find.

We start out “mucking around” and end up somewhere else.

We might engage specialists and passers-by.

We keep on going, together and transforming.

We end up on the day of the conference not necessarily “successful” and not necessarily with something that is worthy of an academic conference at one of the country’s esteemed institutions of higher learning.

Even so, we try to make sense of this weird and generative experience.

Chris tries to discuss it as hopeful decomposition which is a practice that involves reveling in failure, wasted-time, and delusions while slipping through a fine continuum of degrees of intimacy. Janaína experiments it as “excuses” for encountering: a poétics of invitation with which intimacy, co-existence and practices of sustain-ability are tested.

The result is a gambiarra (with things, people and knowledge) understanding that to reparar is to be trans-formed by events that we invest our limited resources in but are, of course, almost totally out of our control. We think of these practices of trans-formation as potential for thinking-making a “gambiarra-knowledge”, a concept which we will develop in this paper.

In the massage-presentation for ADSA 2022 we will tell the story of our adventure and offer anyone who “feels like it” the use of the massage chair (as massage therapist, massage recipient, modifier/operator, voyeur, whatever…) for whatever pleasure or failure may occur.

We are quite happy to let our prepared talk notes fall to the floor if conference attendees find more interest in our contraption than our “analyses”. This might involve, for example, traveling around the conference venue or out into the streets as a ramshackle roaming massage parlour, or it could take the form of a pinpoint intervention by an attendee with special electro-hydraulic expertise. Who knows? It might end up just being Chris and Janaína in a room by themselves…

Chris Berthelsen explores environments for creative activity, resident-led modification of the everyday environment, and alternative education(s). He is a co-founder and co-chair of Activities and Research in Environments for Creativity Trust, a co-founder of Tanushimaru Institute for Art Research (Fukuoka, Japan), and was Deputy-Chairperson of the Mairangi Arts Centre Trust (2017-2021). From 2022 he is a Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries PhD Scholarship recipient at Waipapa Taumata Rau | The University of Auckland.

Janaína Moraes is a dance, performance and pedagogy artist. She is a PhD Candidate in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland experimenting with the poétics of invitation, within which she investigates processes on art residencies, resid(enc)ing and host-guest relationships. She holds a MA in Performing Arts (University of Brasília/Brazil) and a PGDip Contemporary Studies in Dance (Federal University of Bahia/Brazil). She is a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the University of Auckland Dance Studies program and Research Assistant for the Inspera Project. Internationally, she hosts and guests collaborations within the Art Gathering Abre Salas, founded in 2018.

Section 7.1 – Performance

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 1.30pm – 3pm
Room: Dance Studio 113-G12

James Wenley – Dr Drama Makes A Show

Why do we do theatre? What does it mean to you? Join Dr Drama (James Wenley) for a fun and highly interactive theatre experience that reflects on themes of loneliness and connection and the relationship between performance and wellness.

Drama games and exercises invite audience members to offer stories about their relationship to performance. The show becomes a live devising session as participants are prompted to work together to create their own show-within-the-show. Dr Drama’s exploration of performance theory and his own personal association with theatre leads him towards a confrontation with how he has used theatre in an attempt to feel less alone.

The show also features James’ personal archive of theatre programmes, which are laid out over the work’s duration.

Both a love letter celebrating what live theatre uniquely can do, as well as a pointed critique of how theatre can exclude and fall short, Dr Drama Makes A Show With You attempts to give voice to the audience and elevate the perspectives of those who have gathered in the room for each performance.

“Wenley’s show is artfully self-aware, broaching relevant topics such as loneliness, a shared struggle in the midst of a pandemic. Wenley brings theatre back to its choral roots, changing the notion of what it means to attend a performance into something much more human, much more collective. Each moment links together with a common thread of hope. Theatre acts as the binding force by which we can not only overcome loneliness, but also connect with others in a world where we are becoming increasingly divided physically, socially, and emotionally.” – Alessia Belsito-Riera, Wellington Regional News

Originally presented at Auckland Fringe and NZ Fringe 2021, written and performed by James Wenley, directed by Rachael Longshaw-Park.

Dr James Wenley is a Pākehā theatre academic, practitioner, and critic with a passion for promoting the theatre of Aotearoa New Zealand. He is a lecturer in the theatre programme of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. He has recently written and performed two shows, Dr Drama Makes A Show (2020) and Dr Drama Makes A Show With You (2021). James is also the editor and founder of, a platform for reviews and commentary on Aotearoa theatre. His book, Aotearoa New Zealand in the Global Theatre Marketplace: Travelling Theatre, is published by Routledge.

Section 7.2 – Paper panel

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 1.30pm – 3pm
Room: Humanities Building 206-201

Chair: Jonathan W. Marshall

Abbie Trott – Title: Being with: Audiences and artists co-generating knowledge

There are two primary ways meaning making is framed in performance; the intended meaning of the creative team (insiders) and the individual meaning that audiences (outsiders) take away from the performance. While it is accepted that the creative artists, or insiders, can only craft the intended meaning that will be made by the audience of a performance, this meaning is scaffolded as a guide for the audience’s experience. Recent scholarship in audience reception suggests that as outsiders, the theatre audience can an active participant in the performance, because they bring with them their experience and knowledge of the world, and these experiences impinge on the meaning they make of what occurs on stage. In this paper I argue that Body of Knowledge (2019) by Samara Hersch explicitly illuminates a third level of meaning making, where precipitated by the liveness of the event, a ‘body’ of knowledge is assembled by the specific community of audience and performers at each individual performance.

Liveness is what distinguishes theatre from creative and cultural other mediums. The liveness brings together of the audience and performance, allowing nuance to enter each performance and allows the opportunity for each performance to be slightly different. Does the audience laugh – or not – at a particular line? How do the performers react – or not – in response to the audience laughing. The ‘liveness’ of theatre is a visceral experience of ‘being with’ the performer for the audience member, and one aspect of theatre that makes it attractive to its audience. It is the liveness of theatre that informs the third level of meaning creation. The ‘magic’ that occurs in theatre where the audience are together with the performers, both in a position to co-generate knowledge together, collectively making meaning.

Abbie Victoria Trott is interested in examining the reception of digital bodies, Abbie Victoria Trott researches postdigital theatre with audiences. Teaching theatre and performance at a tertiary level since 2014, she is an experienced stage and production manager across community theatre, circus, and multimedia performance. Abbie is working at Deakin University on a project about audience diversity and is published in Australasian Drama Studies.

Corrine Heskett – Imagining Life: Creating costume as a performing object

A performing object is a material thing, which to ‘perform’, relies on a kinetic relationship with a performer. Be it a puppet, a mask, a costume, or a prop, it is the touch of the performer that creates the illusion of life and action. The audience’s imagination, however, is what allows the object to believably live.

Andrew Sofer, states that “The sheer phenomenological ‘thereness’ of objects can supersede or even erase spoken words because an audience’s fascination with them is so intense” (Sofer,A 2012 “Spectral Readings”, Theatre Journal Vol 64, No 3, pp 323- 336).

In performing object theatre, the line between life and death is distorted. The “life” of puppets and performing objects is created by the manipulation of the material item by the performer, but also the ‘liveness ‘of the theatrical event. The audience recognise that it is an object performing, but collectively suspend disbelief.

My research It is driven by the idea that a disembodied costume, activated by a performer, can create startling and exciting news ways of exploring meaning and interrogating character in performance. By removing the body of the actor and focusing on the materiality of the costume that remains behind, the costume is granted a unique form of agency that can speak loudly to an audience in the right context. This exploration is reliant on the phenomenology of performing objects which concerns the audience’s perception of the transformation of the object from a dead, lifeless thing to the moving, performing semblance of a living creature, creating the illusion of life. Within the discussion I will present the results of a workshop session whereby performers will explore the physical possibilities of the costume objects.

By creating new work through the vehicle of Design-led playwriting, my practice places costume at the heart of the writing process, directly using costume as vehicle to inform the narrative. Through the development of an original play, A Memoir of Scandalous Women, and the creation of performing costume objects, my research seeks to examine the relationship between costume and identity and challenge traditional methods of thinking about play and character development.

Corinne Heskett is a practicing theatre professional and practice-led PhD Candidate at the University of New England, Australia. Corinne has worked as a Costume Supervisor and a Design Associate within Australia and internationally, She has worked extensively with companies such as Opera Australia, The Really Useful Group, The Gordon Frost Organisation (GFO) and GWB Entertainment (UK). Corinne is currently the Course Leader and Senior Lecturer, Costume at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). Corinne has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Dramatic Art (Costume) from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney. In addition, she has a Masters of Applied Theatre Studies from the University of New England, Australia.

Graham Seaman – Journeys into suburbia

Patrick White’s play The Season at Sarsaparilla premiered at the Union Theatre, Adelaide in 1962 produced by the Adelaide University Theatre Guild. It was later presented by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and had seasons in Melbourne and Sydney in 1962 and 1963.

The play focuses on three houses in Mildred Street, Sarsaparilla and the people who live within them. Pre-dating the television series Neighbours, this play celebrates the drama beneath the conformity and monotony of living in the suburbs of Sydney in the 1960s—their actions and desires that both give them happiness and entrap them. Patrick White sought to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and the poetry in the actions of ordinary people — the forces and desires include the act of birth, the natural forces that separate and that divide us, as well as the character’s remorse.

For example, in Act 1, White parallels the barking of the dogs, with Ernie bringing home his mate Digger and his wife Nola Boyle having a one night stand with Digger. It shows that humans have wants and desires that all animals do. Ernie works at night and sleeps during the day while Nola sleeps at night and is awake during the day. Their desires are not always consummated and both Ernie and Nola admit to each other they have done wrong, with their reconciliation being a heart-warming moment in the play. This paper explores the inner and outer journeys of the characters in the play. White peels back suburbia to reveal the passions and desires of monotonous conformity in the continuous flow of the seasons.

Graham Seaman has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and a Graduate Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History from the University of New England. He has directed productions of What Where by Samuel Beckett and Oh What A Lovely War at the University of New England. He worked with Adrian Kiernander as a research assistant on several books by Adrian Kiernander, Jonathan Bollen and Bruce Parr. He has also been a research assistant on several books by Lorraine Stacker. He trained in theatre at the Q Theatre, Penrith in acting and theatre.

Section 7.3 – Paper panel

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 1.30pm – 3pm
Room: Humanities Building 206-203

Chair: Sarah Courtis

Andrew Fuhrmann – Moments of effervescence: Untrained dancers and the renewal of community

It is more than seventy-five years since Anna Halprin, in a series of studio classes in San Francisco, first advocated for dance as a form of expression for everyone and not only for the trained virtuoso. What began as a pedagogical ethos has now become a commonplace dramatic statement in contemporary performance. In the twenty-first century, we are no longer shocked to see concert dance performed by dancers who have not undertaken specialised dance training. And yet, although the presentation of untrained dancers attempting to dance is no longer jarring, the theme of pedestrian movement contrasted with virtuosity is still capable of activating a communal connection and new kinds of being together when mediated by a dramaturgy of spectatorship. In this paper, I offer the example of Australian choreographer Lucy Guerin’s Untrained (2009), a work that I argue generates what Blanchot calls moments of effervescence: shared affective excitements in which everyday existence is rendered public. A key feature of Untrained is the casting of local non-virtuosic performers. In this context, the show does not try to invert or overthrow conventional hierarchies of value between trained and untrained dancers. And nor does it blur the lines between performers and non-performers. Instead, exploiting a carefully sustained bond of sympathy between the dancers and the audience, Guerin’s work creates an atmosphere of playful intimacy, transforming audience perceptions of space and place and facilitating emotional communication between audience members and performers, promoting a deepened sense of community attachment.

Andrew Fuhrmann is studying for a PhD in Dance Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is also coordinator of the Theatre and Dance Platform, a digital repository of significant performing arts-related material hosted by the University of Melbourne Library.

Gareth Belling – It’s only the beginning: Way-finding in the establishment of a national ballet company in Australia

On 2 November 2022, The Australian Ballet celebrates the 60th anniversary of its premiere season. This presents a unique opportunity to examine how institutional and individual bodies travel together to form lasting national cultural organisations and infrastructure. Anniversary celebrations offer an opportunity to relook at the relationships between artists and administrators, subsidy organisations and commercial interest, and how their legacies have shaped ballet in Australia.

In 1961, following the final season of the Borovansky Ballet, its Artistic Director Peggy van Praagh and Geoffrey Ingram, formally a key member of the Australian Ballet Theatre Group, travelled to London and to continental Europe to investigate potential models for a subsidised national ballet company. Meanwhile, back in Australia, the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust (The Trust) and J. C. Williamson Theatres (The Firm) joined together to form the Australian Ballet Foundation, the governing organisation of The Australian Ballet and Australian Ballet School.

This paper will detail how the individual bodies of van Praagh and Ingram, and the institutional bodies of The Trust and The Firm, travelled together towards the formation of The Australian Ballet in 1962. As such, this paper seeks to understand the similarities of establishing national ballet companies in the former British colonies of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, and asks how we can utilise the decentring potential of scholarship by Keali’inohomuku, Akinleye and Haebich to write historiographies of ballet, without centring the whiteness of institutional and individual bodies. Finally, by detailing the way-finding that led to the formation of The Australian Ballet, I rehearse the work of policy as a choreographic act that functions to create conditions of change for ballet in Australia.

Gareth Belling is a choreographer, dance educator, and PhD candidate at University of Queensland. Gareth’s current research examines policy as a choreographic act in the development of ballet in Australia, while results of earlier research appear in the edited collection Dance and Gender: an evidence-based approach. A dancer with Queensland Ballet from 2002 – 2012, Gareth has choreographed for Collusion, Queensland Ballet, Expressions Dance Company, QUT Dance and WAAPA, and staged works with Collusion at DanceStages Shanghai, Brisbane Festival, MELT, and in Guangzhou.

Sarah Austin – An uncertain time: toward an Australian dramaturgy for theatre for Babies

Theatre for the Early Years (TEY), or Theatre for Babies, looks and feels quite different to any other type of performance work. Defined as ‘professionally-created theatrical experience for an audience of children aged from birth to around three- years-old, accompanied by carers’ (Fletcher-Watson; 2016), theatre for babies is largely constructed as immersive, sensory performance, utilising music, dance and visual elements and only rarely positioning a central narrative or journey as part of the work. Critically, scholarship in theatre for babies has identified the doubling of audience involved in the carer/infant dyad and has termed this relationship the ‘Triangular Audience’ (Desfosses, 2009). This is particularly unique to baby theatre. This audience experience of baby and carer travelling together into the literal and figurative uncertainty provides a rich and dynamic provocation for artists working in baby theatre whose work must respond and provide an audience journey for all who attend. A highly varied, international practice which has taken some time to gain the validation and recognition that might lead to critical acclaim and increased funding and investment, there are now significant companies and practitioners working in the UK, Europe and America with a dedicated specialism in Theatre for Babies. The Australian sector, although small, has received little critical and scholarly attention to date. Whilst studies from the field of psychology and neuroscience in the last two years have measured the ‘engagement’ of children younger than 12 months (Barbosa, M., Vences, M., Rodrigues, P. M., & Rodrigues, H; 2021) and looked at the positive impact on the paternal child bond that results from interactions in baby theatre (Cowley,, B., Lachman, A. ,Williams, E. and Berg, A.; 2020), research into the creation principles and aesthetic methodology of theatre for the very young remains a neglected area of scholarly investigation. This presentation uses practice as research principles to explore embodied knowledge and attempt to elucidate the robust dramaturgical principles that have emerged after creating two original performance works for infants aged 0-12 months and their carers. These experiences of making theatre for babies resonate strongly with the conference theme of arrivals and new beginnings, and the experience of witnessing theatre for babies is one of great connection and exchange. Resisting any practice as led approach that might veer toward the ‘anecdotal’, the focus of my presentation will be on the rigorous creative and aesthetic considerations that might make up the dramaturgical principles of theatre for babies and how these contradict or are in tension with existing understandings of baby theatre. The presentation seeks to ask whether there are culturally specific understandings of childhood at play in the design of these works, and propose early thinking toward a possible Australian dramaturgy of theatre for babies.

Dr Sarah Austin is an award-winning artist and researcher, with a specific expertise in working with children and young people in contemporary performance. Her award-winning performance work has been seen on stages in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Singapore, Germany and the UK and her research has been published in several journals and as part of edited book collections. Sarah is a Lecturer in Theatre at the Victorian College of the Arts, where she coordinates the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) program.

Section 7.4 – Curated panel

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 1.30pm – 3pm
Room: Humanities 206-315

Chair: Alys Longley

 Megan Beckwith, Victoria Chiu, Yinan Liu, Kialea-Nadine Williams and Carol Brown – Making space for ‘through-others’

In Melbourne, Australia where artists were unable to perform for much of 2020-21, repeated lockdowns forced new norms including social distancing, masks, working from home and quarantining. In this world in which the medium of a mask and the interface of a screen became omnipresent, touching at a distance also became a choreographic problem. How do dancers as corporeal subjects perform within this biotechnical reality? The global pandemic catalysed perspectival shifts in the assembly of live performance, generating a renewed awareness of mediation as a condition of embodiment. In this collaborative panel we share three projects involving augmented performance and remote touch: Virtual Crossings, Mental Dance and Spawn. Developed through inter-disciplinary collaborations across dance, architecture and sound design, these projects mobilised soma-technic states as spaces for dance to travel safely and with minimal impact during the global pandemic. In Mental Dance choreographed by Carol Brown in collaboration with sound designer Monica Lim, choreo-musical scores for entangling relations between human voice, movement and machine learning generated a live online performance system informed by neuroscientific research. In Virtual Crossings, Victoria Chiu and Yinan Liu developed a live motion capture performance between Geneva and Melbourne with a virtual architecture designed in Auckland. In Spawn, choreographic tasking is placed in an empathy machine, a VR 360 environment for kinesthetic sensing. Digital artist Megan Beckwith and dancer Kialea-Nadine Williams look to Virtual Reality as a site for navigating new movement patterns in dialogue with dance memories. The three projects explore the potential for digital dance dramaturgy to shape new spaces for performance within an expanded conception of the live. Irish poet Seamus Heaney describes ‘through-others’ as things that become mixed up in themselves[1]. As virtual-physical spaces to travel through and with, these projects speak to our efforts to shape a kinesthetic milieu that attends to remote touch within a condition of live intermedia performance. In recognising mediation as a condition of embodiment, they possibilise a ‘positive biopolitics’[2], through a techno-poetics that collapsed the distinction between the inter-corporeal and digital infrastructures for connection.

Prof. Carol Brown is an Aotearoa born dancer, choreographer and artist-scholar. Committed to inter-disciplinary choreography that questions where and how dance is conceived and performed, her work has toured internationally to theatres, public sites and galleries and her screen works have been presented on Channel 4 and the BBC. Touring on the Festival circuit as a British Council artist, she has presented at Roma Europa, Dance Umbrella, Brighton Festival, Ars Electronica and the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts. Recent works include Uncanny Bodies (#brownmaninawhitemuseum, Grainger Museum), Inien (Extra Festival NGV International), LungSong (EcoWest Festival) and Singularity (Ars Electronica). Carol’s work has been acknowledged through a NESTA Dream Time Fellowship, the Jerwood Choreography Prize, and the Ludwig Forum International Prize. She writes for peer-reviewed journals on performance, technology and space and has contributed chapters to key texts on dance, technology collaboration and site dance. She is currently co-curating a series of talks with Dancehouse Melbourne, (In)Corporeal Encounters: Proposing Choreographies for the Future. Carol is Head of Dance and Professor of Choreography at the Victorian College of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, University of Melbourne.

Dr Megan Beckwith is a transmedia artist from Victoria, Australia who combines dance and digital media. Her practice explores the intersection of physicality and technology through the figure of the post-human cyborg. Beckwith combines her dance performance with technologies such as stereoscopic 3D illusions, motion capture, virtual and augmented reality. She creates performance installations that combine the body and 3D animation in a process that layers one over the other, re-working the human figure into new forms. The Age newspaper described Beckwith as a “trailblazer” and in a review of her performance work ‘Parallax’ described how “the projections are manifestations of desires and nightmares that leap into the audience.” Beckwith’s work has been presented in Shanghai, New York, Paris, Berlin, Bristol, Montreal, Bonn, Seattle, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and San Francisco, featured on the uber-cool UK based blog Prosthetic Knowledge, and picked up by Tumblr Radar. The computer game culture magazine Kill Screen wrote that her work ‘opens a rabbit hole of accelerating conceptual possibilities’. She won the inaugural Australia Post Art Prize for her animated dance installation Torso and was awarded the 2018 Small Gems commission by the Gasworks Theatre Consortium to further develop and perform her 3D dance work Parallax. The collaborative work Virtual Drag created with visual artist Dr Alison Bennet and designer Mark Payne toured the world from 2016 to 2020, with a presentation in 2019 at the Louvre Auditorium at the Pompidou Centre, Paris. She is currently Lecturer in Digital and Screen Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, School of Dance at the University of Melbourne.

Victoria Chiu is an internationally established dance artist and activist based in Melbourne. She has a BFA in Dance from the Victorian College of the Arts. Chiu’s practice physicalises concepts in relation to histories of self, peoples and place and she works at intersections of dance, screen and technology. Chiu’s work is culturally significant and will continue giving voice to diverse bodies as they contribute to today’s global movement landscape. Chiu has collaborated, performed and toured extensively with European and Australian companies Cie Gilles Jobin, Micha Purucker, Cie Nomades, Jozsef Trefeli, RDYSTDY, Rudi Van Der Merwe, Candy Bowers, Linda Sastradipradja, Fiona Malone, Bernadette Walong, Australian Dance Theatre for Superstars of Dance and Cate Consandine. Chiu is undertaking an MFA exploring race theory and digital dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Kialea-Nadine Williams is a Lecturer in Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. She brings19 years of professional performance knowledge to her teaching practice. Kialea-Nadine trained at London’s Rambert School of Ballet before joining Phoenix Dance Theatre a repertoire dance company based in Leeds. She worked with the acclaimed Michael Clark Company before joining the Australian Dance Theatre in 2008. Since 2012 Kialea-Nadine has been working as an independent dancer, creator, actor, puppeteer and educator, fulfilling mentoring and rehearsal director roles with artists and company’s including as Rehearsal Director for Tasdance’s Luminous Flux 2013, Madame: A Story of Joseph Farrugia: Torque Show (Actor & Dancer), Reassessment & A Dying Swan: Daniel Jaber, Mortal Condition: Larissa McGowan, Beep: Windmill Theatre Company (Actor & Puppeteer), The Spinners: Lina Limosani Projekts, Beginning of Nature: ADT & Hibernation: State Theatre Company South Australia (Actor). As an educator Kialea-Nadine previously worked at Adelaide College of the Arts teaching contemporary dance, classical ballet and acrobatic tumbling. Kialea-Nadine was the recipient of the 2007 Best Female Dancer UK, Critics Circle Award.

Yinan Liu is a digital artist and programmer, who graduated with a Masters of Architecture (professional) from the University of Auckland in 2017. She worked in a full-time academic position as Coordinator of the Digital Research Hub for three years, and is currently a Research Associate at the School of Architecture and Planning. Yinan started her PhD at the Institute of Architecture and Media at Graz University of Technology in 2020. Her research area focuses on Creative AI and Responsive Architecture, and is practice based in the form of architectural scale prototypes and performances. Yinan has developed a number of artistic installations as part of the arc/sec Lab. Her work has been presented at the Ars Electronica Festival (Austria) 2017-2020, SIGGRAPH Asia (Australia), Q-Theatre, and the Wallace Arts Trust in Auckland.

[1] Heaney, Seamus, (2001) Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001. London: Faber and Faber.
[2] Bratton, Benjamin H. (2021) The Revenge of the Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World, Verso.

Section 7.5 – Paper panel

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 1.30pm – 3pm
Room: Humanities 206-209

Chair: Lara Stevens

Tony McCaffrey – Travelling together in learning-disabled theatre

I have been working for eighteen years helping to create self-devised performance with Different Light Theatre, an ensemble of learning-disabled artists in Christchurch, New Zealand. In these eighteen years of travelling together the company has produced community theatre, dramatic theatre, post-dramatic theatre, has received government funding for creative excellence, appeared at disability-led and mainstream international arts festivals, and explored site-specific, immersive, and environmental theatre collaborations. Members of the company have performed and presented at academic conferences, led discussions at university seminars, and participated in international online panels.

The unique characteristics of the company mean that we have been prompted to develop constantly shifting and changing ways of working, creating, and presenting performance. Members of the company have diverse forms of access to the conventional techne and building blocks of theatre: voice, gesture, and the kairotic use of space and time in live performance. Live-feed and pre-recorded video, captions, voiceovers, voice manipulations, and immersive strategies have all been utilized and explored by the company to connect to an audience, and to simultaneously question and problematize the terms of that connection, commonality, and communication.

The group’s performances are confronted by the need for care and access intimacy (Mingus) that renders political- at a fundamental level – the audience’s processes of perception, understanding, and affective engagement with the performers and the performance. Learning-disabled theatre also needs to respond to the complexities of the current moment, the Socioecological Disaster (Harney and Moten 2021). How can learning-disabled theatre travel into the uncertain current and future environment of performance? How can it travel together with non-disabled collaborators and audiences? How can it seek to temper the need for the inclusion and emancipation of learning-disabled people with the cries of the planet and inter-relational ecologies of care?

Tony McCaffrey has a BA in English from King’s College, Cambridge and a PhD in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Canterbury. He is a Lecturer at NASDA, Ara Institute, Christchurch and artistic director of Different Light Theatre, an ensemble of learning-disabled artists established in 2004. He is co-convenor of the Performance and Disability Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. He is the author of Incapacity and Theatricality (Routledge, 2019) and Giving and Taking Voice in Learning Disabled Theatre (Routledge, forthcoming). Different Light Theatre have performed in New Zealand, Australia, the USA, and the UK.

Sarah Wilson – Our own time and space: Locating autistic poetics in theatre

The Te Reo Māori word for autism is ‘Takiwātanga’, which is derived from the phrase “my/his/her own time and space”. Keri Opai, the linguist who coined the term, intended it reflect how the unique communication and sensory processing of autistic people carves out a unique “timing, spacing, pacing and life-rhythm” in an allistic (non-autistic) world.

Yet in theatre spaces, as in the wider culture, the dominant image of autism is not one of unique participation, but that of autistic silence and disengagement. In drama, theatre and performance studies there is still limited work addressing autistic people as creatives or audience members. Where work exists, it generally addresses practice with autistic actors. This elision in research interest highlights the segregation of explicitly autistic people from the general, presumed-allistic theatre participants.

Neuroqueer scholarship explores the ways compulsory able-bodied-ness and neurotypicality resembles and works in tandem with phenomena like compulsory heterosexuality. In my work, I have drawn on the autistic poetics — ricochet, apostrophe, ejaculation, discretion, and invention — proposed by neuroqueer literature scholar Julia Miele Rodas in her book Autistic Disturbances. These poetics recontextualize pathologized autistic communication traits and reject the overwhelming cultural perceptions of autistic silence. This paper will employ a synthesis of Rodas’s devices and neuroqueer rhetorical analysis (drawn from Remi Yergeau’s book Authoring Autism) to examine two playtexts. Namely, I will examine Simon Stephen’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Tim Sharp and Dead Puppet Society’s Laser Beak Man. In doing so, I will locate just some of the takiwātanga already present in theatre canon.

Sarah Wilson is a PhD student at the University of Queensland studying the role of playwrights in autistic form, representation and accessibility. Sarah is also an emerging Brisbane based playwright. She most recently cowrote the ecofeminist work Rising, which was commissioned and produced by Playlab Theatre and debuted in 2021. She was a member of QTC’s Young Writers Group in 2016, a participant in Queensland Theatre’s Playwrights 18-26 Program in 2017, and in 2018 was selected for Playlab Theatre’s Incubator program.

Plenary Performance

Friday 9th December
NZ Time – 3.15pm
Room: Drama Studio 206-325

Different Light Theatre: from Josie Noble, Peter Rees, Isaac Tait, Matthew Phelan, Matthew Swaffield, Biddy Steffens, Angie Douglas, Glen Burrows, Tommy James, Damian Bumman – The Journeys of Different Light: history and futurity in learning disabled theatre (The Drama Studio)

In the 2019 performance The History of Different Light, presented as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival, the learning-disabled performers were given the opportunity to look back on fifteen years of being and working together on devising and creating performance and touring to Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Much of this performance work incorporated their experiences of travelling together: of travelling as disabled in an ableist world and of travelling on in the face of members of the group moving away, or in the case of two key group members, dying. This was the company’s last public in-person performance.

In The Journeys of Different Light members of the company present an account in performance of their work since then. This includes recent hybrid performance explorations conducted in-person and online. During the last two years they have devised the framework for the first intellectually disabled intelligence mission into space to bring intelligence back to earth in the face of the current Socioecological Disaster (Harney and Moten 2021). They have recently participated in an online panel out of Athens with four other European learning-disabled theatre companies and have contributed to a KeyGroup presentation on Care, Conviviality, and Collaboration at the Performance Philosophy Problems conference at the University of the Arts in Helsinki. The performance will consider how the learning-disabled performers travel in the pandemic and on what terms they venture into the world of international collaborations, the emerging discourse of learning-disabled culture, and academic presentations and publications.

Different Light Theatre has been performing in Christchurch since 2004. They have toured to Australia, the USA, and the UK. They have devised and performed over fifteen productions, contributed to academic conferences, international online panels of learning disabled companies and to the Performance Philosophy Problems conference in Helsinki in June 2022.