Conscientious artists throughout history have used their performance as sites of social intervention. Sometimes contentious, sometimes effective, always provocative, the activist-artist situates performance in a necessary act of engagement. This series of three Tuesday night lectures considers the weaponization of performance across genre and media

October 1

Theatre and Non-leftist Radicalism Stefka Mihaylova, School of Drama October 1, 7:30pm Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre

In post-WW II American and British theatre practice and scholarship, the expression “radical theatre” typically implies leftist social ideas. At the turn of the 21st century, however, radicalism has also become associated with religion, as in “radical Islam,” and some have critiqued theatre’s overwhelming preference for works espousing liberal social ideas. Can and should theatre make room for non-leftist radical ideas? And does non-leftist radical theatre necessarily imply fascist theatre? This talk invites reflection on these questions, by focusing on several examples: the riots of the Sikh community in Birmingham, UK, in 2005, in response to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of Behzti (Dishonour), in which a Sikh religious leader rapes a young woman in the temple; and the virtual absence of religious drama on contemporary US stages and in the American twentieth-century canon.

October 15

Some are Born Green, Some Achieve Greenness: Protest Theatre & Environmental Activism Scott Magelssen, School of Drama October 15, 7:30pm Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre

Ecofriendly lifestyles have become increasingly easy and indeed celebrated in the popular media. Meanwhile, however, some of the worst environmental offenses persist, and are ramping up all over the planet. Fracking, poisonous emissions, resource decimation, and human-made disasters on a global scale are prompting activist performers to get ALL of our attentions, from peaceful performance protests to guerilla resistance.

October 29

Complicating Gender and Islam through Performance in East Java, Indonesia Christina Sunardi, Ethnomusicology October 29, 7:30pm Glenn Hughes Penthouse Theatre

This talk explores some of the ways in which musicians and dancers in East Java, Indonesia have approached Islam and their professions as artists, in effect making and maintaining cultural space for cross-gender dance as well as diverse, complex, shifting senses of masculinity and femininity.