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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 recent 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, will be 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 2016.

*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.

Review of ‘Dramaturgy and Architecture’, Juliet Rufford, ‘Modern Drama’ (2016) Vol. 59: Issue. 4: Pages. 519-522

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‘The book’s six chapters are built around performance case studies that have been selected because of their “clearly identifiable relationship to architecture as a discipline and practice” (18). The case studies take us from 1890s Norway and the “cloud-castles” of Henrik Ibsen’s play The Master Builder; through the “dreams of order” and moments of “carnivalesque subversion” in early twentieth-century Garden City performances (59); to the “theatrical architectures” and architectural sets of 1920s Russian Constructivism (84); the orchestration of body, space and experience in the Bauhaus choreography of Oskar Schlemmer; the urban-activist tactics of the Lettrist International and the Situationist International; and, finally, to 1980s Wales, and the “collision” of as-found architectures with industrial-scale interventions in Clifford McLucas’s work with Brith Gof (187). Each chapter offers a fully contextualised and impressively interdisciplinary reading of how these artistic experiments “posit heterotopic, dystopic, or utopic architectures and multiple ways of living them” before considering a current “continuity” – that is, a contemporary project that develops and/or problematises the older approach to dramaturgy and architecture (197). Raised in Turner’s introduction, key questions about the relationship between dramatic and postdramatic theatres, about theatre’s function in the world, and about the particular purchase that dramaturgy and architecture might have on utopian thought surface in a number of European and non-European contexts. These questions are explored in relation to projects that straddle amateur dramatics and democracy; performance pedagogy, social ideology and the modelling of ‘ideal’ space; one-to-one performance and the individual’s position within the city; and, pedestrian performance as architecture school-style exercise or “charrette” (194).’

Read Juliet Rufford’s full review (institutional access or subscription needed) here or via Academia.edu (login needed) here