Acting

The Senior Lecturer in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham, Rose Whyman, provides an introduction to the various approaches to acting. Whyman explores the development of drama and acting processes, from the use of rhetoric in Ancient Greece to Konstantin Stanislavsky’s Method, and details the differences between an actor representing an emotion and experiencing emotion.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2018)

Aeschylus

Mark Fortier, Professor at the University of Guelph in Canada, provides an introduction to Aeschylus – a playwright often referred to as the father of tragedy. Fortier explores the influence of Greek mythology on Aeschylus’s key works, draws on contemporary examples and critical theory, and considers the impact of Greek tragedy on theatre and performance throughout history.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Anton Chekhov

Rhonda Blair, Professor in the Division of Theatre at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, provides an overview of the life of Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov. Blair considers how Chekhov’s plays capture the complexity and richness of human experience, affirming his place as one of the most influential writers of European theatre.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Aristophanes

Michael M. Chemers, Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of California in Santa Cruz, introduces one of the most celebrated comic playwrights of all time, Aristophanes. Chemers examines some of Aristophanes' surviving works, including Lysistrata and The Clouds, and considers how his plays were influenced by both the politics and the philosophy of the time.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Audience

Professor of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University Dorothy Chansky provides an introduction to the role of the audience in relation to theatre and performance. Chansky examines how the perception of audience has changed throughout history and considers the way different forms of theatre offer further exploration into the audience as a performing phenomenon.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

August Strindberg

The Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University, Laurence Senelick, provides an introduction to Swedish dramatist August Strindberg (1849-1912). Senelick considers how Strindberg’s personal experience directly influenced his work and highlights how he intensely explored the complexities of the ego, providing an alternative approach to conventional stage behaviour with the ever-changing personalities of his characters.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2018)

August Wilson

Isaiah Wooden, Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at the American University, presents the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. Wooden examines Wilson’s internationally acclaimed 10-play Century Cycle, which explores African-American life, experience and history, making Wilson one of the most significant and influential American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Australian Theatre

Peta Tait, Professor of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University in Melbourne, provides an introduction to Australian theatre. Referring to key practitioners who have impacted Australia’s theatrical landscape, Tait considers how explorations of Aboriginal culture and postcolonial concepts have developed into two distinctive modes of performance which incorporate aspects of Australia’s multicultural society in the 21st century.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Ben Jonson

Independent Scholar Tobin Nellhaus provides an overview of Renaissance playwright Ben Jonson. Nellhaus explores how Jonson was deeply influenced by classical literature, aiming to absorb their values and styles to address societal issues of his time, and how he succeeded to raise the status of drama in 17th-century Britain through the publishing of his works. 
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Brian Friel

Ed Madden, Theatre Director and Creative Associate at Gate Theatre, provides an introduction to Irish playwright Brian Friel. Referring to some of Friel’s best-known plays such as Translations and Dancing at Lughnasa, Madden explores how his work questions the connection between language, culture and identity, and considers how his legacy influenced a generation of playwrights who followed him.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Caryl Churchill

Ed Madden, Theatre Director and Creative Associate at Gate Theatre, introduces British playwright Caryl Churchill. Madden explores Churchill’s works in-depth and considers how her experimentation with language, the collaborative process with Joint Stock and the strong political and feminist content of her work has led her to become one of the greatest living dramatists in the UK.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Catharsis

Independent Scholar Tobin Nellhaus provides an introduction to catharsis - a term associated with Aristotle’s definition of tragedy and the purgation of emotions. Nellhaus explores various interpretations of catharsis and considers how the relationship it draws between the play, the audience and a particular set of emotions, such as fear and pity, has developed significantly over time.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2018)

Christopher Marlowe

The Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of California in Santa Cruz, Michael M. Chemers, provides an overview of British 16th-century playwright Christopher Marlowe. Chemers explores some of Marlowe's most popular works, including Edward II and Doctor Faustus, and considers how he became one of the most celebrated tragedians during a time of vibrant theatrical activity in London.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Circus

Peta Tait, Professor of Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University, Melbourne, provides an introduction to the history, theory and practice of the circus. Referring to influential practitioners, significant female performers and contemporary circus companies, Tait considers how the circus continues to amaze audiences around the world with extraordinary physical stunts and evocative acrobatic action.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Commedia Dell'arte

Author John Rudlin provides an introduction to commedia dell’arte, a form of theatre popular in Europe from the 16th to the 18th century. Rudlin lists the stock characters and masks which are central to the form that originated in Italy and considers the criticism and controversy surrounding commedia’s engagement with political figures and events of the time.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

David Hare

Ed Madden, Theatre Director and Creative Associate at Gate Theatre, provides an introduction to British playwright, screenwriter and director David Hare. Madden examines Hare's successful career, from co-founding experimental touring company Portable to his working relationship with the National Theatre, and explores how his plays often anatomise the ways in which political issues intersect with the personal. Contains strong language.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Edith Craig

Robert Leach, Former Reader in Drama and Theatre at the University of Birmingham, outlines the work of British theatre director, producer, costumier and pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement, Edith Craig (1869-1947). Leach details Craig’s key productions with the Pioneer Players and considers how her experimental approach aimed to make audiences think, question and see humane solutions to problems.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2018)

Edward Albee

Theatre Director and Creative Associate at Gate Theatre, Ed Madden, presents the history, aims and methods of the one of the greatest American dramatists, Edward Albee. Madden provides an in-depth analysis of Albee’s works, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and explores their concern with exposing the darkness, delusion and desperation that lie behind the façade of contemporary life.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Erwin Piscator

Laurence Senelick, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University, provides an overview of one of the most significant directors of Weimar Germany, Erwin Piscator (1893-1966). Senelick explores the similarities and differences between Piscator’s and Bertolt Brecht’s approaches to epic theatre and considers how his scenographic and dramatic innovations in the service of revolutionary Marxism gave power to political theatre of the 1920s.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2018)

Eugene O'Neill

Ed Madden, Theatre Director and Creative Associate at Gate Theatre, provides an overview of the life and works of multi-award winning playwright Eugene O’Neill. Madden explores how O’Neill’s methods, such as the use of naturalism and expressionism in his plays, have impacted American drama, affirming his place as one of the most important and influential dramatists of the 20th century.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Eugenio Barba

Adam J. Ledger, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s Department of Drama and Theatre Arts, introduces the internationally renowned director Eugenio Barba. Ledger details Barba’s role in the development of Odin Teatret and considers his interest in creating a theatre that changes perceptions and forges connections with audiences and communities.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Farce

Laurence Senelick, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory at Tufts University, introduces farce – a form of comedy usually associated with physical action, exaggerated performance and crude language. Senelick explores the evolution of farce in the West from its origins in carnival to its influence on 19th-century vaudeville, and considers how it can be viewed as a revenge of instincts and impulses over ethical precepts.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2018)

Irish Theatre

Professor at the National University of Ireland, Lionel Pilkington, offers an invaluable introduction to Irish Theatre. Referring to key playwrights and practitioners who have been instrumental in its development, such as Samuel Beckett, Pilkington provides an overview of the history, theory and practice of Irish Theatre, and emphasises its importance during a time of political and social unrest.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Julie Taymor

Marvin Carlson, the Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature at CUNY, outlines the history, aims and practice of the Tony Award-winning director, Julie Taymor. Detailing her work, including the extremely successful Broadway creation, The Lion King, Carlson affirms Taymor’s position as one of the most innovative American directors of theatre, opera and film.
Encyclopedia Entry
(2017)

Katie Mitchell and the Politics of Naturalist Theatre | Dan Rebellato and Kim Solga in conversation

Dan Rebellato and Kim Solga explore the ethics and aesthetics within Katie Mitchell’s oeuvre. Solga considers the inherent feminist politics of Mitchell’s work, and Rebellato places it within the historical context of naturalism, leading to a detailed discussion of Sarah Kane’s radical naturalism and Mitchell’s production of Cleansed.
Interview
(2017)