About Me

I am Cathy Turner, a researcher and walking artist.

I am an Associate Professor in Drama at the University of Exeter, and one of four artist-researchers in Wrights & Sites, an artists’ organization based in South West England.

My most recent research led to my book, Dramaturgy and Architecture: Theatre, Utopia and the Built Environment, Palgrave, 2015.

My current interests are in Indian performance art in public space* and  gardens for/as/in performance. These represent two projects, largely separate, both of which I am just beginning.

I’m also pro-EU, pro-Corbyn (or at least the policies he stands for), and against the privatisation of public space. These things exercising me greatly right now.

Previous research has included a collaboration with Synne Behrndt in researching contemporary dramaturgy as profession and concept, with a focus on the UK. Our book, Dramaturgy and Performance, came out in a revised edition with Palgrave in 2016.

Wrights & Sites’ work includes a series of ‘Mis-Guides’, which propose ways of walking** that make places strange to us. Our book for the ‘architect-walker’ is due out in 2017.

*We can argue about whether there is such a thing, of course.
**’Walking’ is here understood to include other ways of getting about, including wheelchairs, pushchairs, crawling, or whatever is accessible.

Sunday afternoon in Bengaluru

With a free day in Bengaluru, Jerri and I were all set to visit Lal Bagh, but a visit to the city from Prime Minister Modi meant that we were warned not to try an extended trip through the centre. Instead, we went to J P Park, a much more recently established green space in Mathikere.

There is a ‘musical fountain’ here, which is an evening attraction and therefore was not open. YouTube videos show choreographed fountains, lit in varying colours of lemon, lime and rose, and accompanied by music and cheers.

In the still afternoon, we had to make do with the performance of a range of idealised village characters positioned amid the greenery, and the occasional scramble of street dogs, when not lying in the shade beneath half built pillars, or across the path in full sunlight.

We sat in the ‘rock garden’, like a tiny version of Nek Chand’s garden at Chandigarh, and watched a group of boys lean out over the water, so that one of them could pick a starry water lily. A group of girls, laughing, with arms round each other’s shoulders, swung hair and hips, taking endless selfies, but having a good time together, too. A tiny boy tottered past us, warily, followed by his parents. Jerri waved at him and he gave her a smile.

We looped the garden, past the rather dry bamboo patch, and towards the swimming pool. At first we mistook the traffic horns and shouts of swimmers for some political protest, although we were a long way from the proposed rally. The sound of a call to the mosque came from our left, and then another, fainter, from our right. Huge butterflies. Hawks overhead.