Both a building and the activity that takes place inside it:

"an edifice specially adapted to dramatic representations"

theatron = 'seeing place' = auditorium = 'hearing place'

theomai = to observe (critically)


"Theatre consists in this: in making live representations of reported or invented happenings between human beings, and doing so with a view to entertainment"

[Brecht, 1964, 180]


"A impersonates B while C looks on"

[Bentley, 1965, in McAuley, 1999, 1]


"the theatre is an act carried out in the here and now in the actor's organisms, in front of othermen"

[Grotowski, 1969, 118]

Peter Brook

"I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst somebody else is watching him, and this is all I need for an act of theatre to be engaged"

[Peter Brook, 1968, 9]

Theatre and Separateness

Patrice Pavis

“the first cultural act consists of tracing a circle around the stage event and thus separating performance from non-performance, culture from non-culture, interior from exterior, the object of the gaze from the gazer.”

[Pavis, P, 1992, Theatre at the Crossroads of Culture,

Robert Wilson (b.1941-)

Theatre as a collage of different realities

· Theatre is about detail

· Not big ideas, but attention to the small things.

· The mundane aspects of a human life.

· The stage activity is human-like — someone running and someone sitting, another making small talk, someone pouring a drink, someone dancing, people doing ritualistic exercises.

· Does not use play texts.

· Is evidence of director Antoine Vitez who said, ‘You can make theatre out of anything’ (cited in Ubersfeld 1999, 8). That is you can make theatre out of a novel or a poem, or out of non-fiction and biography, but also out of non-literary sources such as human actions, historic events, dreams, landscapes and symphonies.

· Wilson has used two major historical figures as the basis of two works: The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (1969) and Einstein on the Beach (1976 )

‘Theatre has so much more to do than be concerned with words in a dried out, flat, one-dimensional literary structure. I mean The Modern World has forced us to outgrow that mode of seeing. We’re interested in another thing — another kind of experience.’

(Cited in Drain Twentieth Century Theatre: A Sourcebook. 60)

Hélène Cixous

I need a certain Theatre, whose first name was Shakespeare or Verdi, or Schönberg or Sophocles or Rossini. I need this theatre to tell me stories, and to tell them to me as it alone can tell them: as legends and yet looking me straight in the eye.

‘from The Place of Crime and the Place of Pardon’ in Drain Richard, Twentieth Century Theatre: A Sourcebook p. 340

Guillermo Gómez-Pena – Mexican performer, writer and interdisciplinary artist

In the 1990s, I feel a strong kinship with everyone in this and other continents who is trying to find new forms of interpreting and articulating the dangers and changes of the times: the true border artists; the Latinos, blacks, Asian –Americans, native Americans, gays and feminists who are establishing cross-cultural alliances with one another, the performance activists, the non-aligned intellectuals and journalists; the post-earthquake Mexico City rockers, poets and cartoonists; the “Third World” collectives in Europe and the Latin American conceptual artists and writers who are so intelligently analysing postcolonial relations, they are all my brothers and sisters of vision.

Drain p.354

2005 index

Vsevolod Meyerhold *