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Dramaturgy as a Strategy for Spatial Design Practice

Thornett, Lucy (2016) Dramaturgy as a Strategy for Spatial Design Practice. In: IFTR: Presenting the Theatrical Past: Interplays of Artefacts, Discourses and Practices, 13-17 June 2016, Stockholm University, Sweden.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Thornett, Lucy

Conference paper at the International Federation for Theatre Research - joint panel - Scenography Working Group and Architecture Working Group


This provocation examines the intersections between scenography and broader spatial design practices. The intersection or closeness of scenography and dramaturgy is now well-established - scenography not only deals with the spatial but also the temporal: the staging elements in motion at the moment of performance. As a practice scenography arguably incorporates dramaturgy and dramaturgy, in turn, incorporates scenography, through their mutual concern with the relationship of time and space in performance.

Many have also noted the temporal qualities of architecture. Notably, Hannah, through a reading of Tschumi's notion of 'Event-Space' (Hannah, Dorita. 2011. "Event-Space: Performance Space and Spatial Performativity," Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction, Edited by Jonathan Pitches and Sita Popat. 54-62. Hampshire: Palsgrave Macmillan), discusses the performative potential of the built environment. Turner (1, 2015) discuss the 'commonalities between dramaturgy and architecture' and uses architecture as a lens through which to understand dramaturgy. She suggests that dramaturgy can test and interrogate 'the spatial aspects of lived experience' (23), by its potential for utopias and heterotopias that can provide models for the real (Turner, Cathy. 2015. Dramaturgy and Architecture: Theatre, Utopia and the Built Environment, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan).

In this provocation I speculate about what this dramaturgical potential could mean for practice in spatial design. I argue that dramaturgy, as a practice, could be integrated as a strategy in the design of the interiors and public spaces of daily life, outside of contexts of performance. In the same way that contemporary scenographers utilise dramaturgy to facilitate, constrain and prescribe certain actions within a space, broader spatial design practices could utilise dramaturgy as a deliberate means of curating performative everyday acts through the design of the spaces which contain them. This will be discussed as a provocation to further practice-led inquiry in broader spatial design practices.

Official Website: https://www.iftr.org
Additional Information (Publicly available):

International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR)

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 17 June 2016
Funders: London College of Communication Research Funding
Event Location: Stockholm University, Sweden
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2016 13:32
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2016 13:32
Item ID: 9789
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/9789

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