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Keynote address by Paul Allain

PAUL ALLAIN is Professor of Theatre and Performance and the Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Kent, Canterbury.He is a world-leading expert on Polish theatre and Jerzy Grotowski. After collaborating with Gardzienice Theatre Association, on whom he wrote the first book in English which came out of his PhD at the University of London, he worked extensively in the UK as Movement Director, most notably with Katie Mitchell on nine productions. He has published several books, DVDs and articles on theatre and actor training as both author and editor.


Space Invaders or Alien Friends? Close Encounters of a Theatrical Kind

Late twentieth century theatre history was notable for the movement of certain key experimental theatre directors and groups from cities into the countryside, across Europe and in Asia too. The list is long, but Polish company Gardzienice and Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki stand out. Their quest came out of a desire for radical change, shared by many others. They were, though, not the first: Konstantin Stanislavski and Jacques Copeau both relocated to the countryside, albeit temporarily, and other much older models, from Noh to ancient Greek theatre, also paved the way.
This talk will briefly trace key aspects of this theatre history, asking what made these pioneers move, what they sought, and what lessons we might learn from them for theatre-making today. How did other spaces and ‘new natural environments’ change training and acting, group dynamics, understanding of and encounters with an audience? Are such Romantic models still desirable and do artists still have such a choice? Or has choice now become urgent need in this age of mass migration?


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