Who We Are

Research Project

This research project will interrogate the value of the so-called ‘Third Theatre’: an intercultural theatrical tradition that emerged in the 1970s and differs from First (mainstream) theatre and Second (avant-garde) theatre. The groups comprising the Third Theatre exist across the world, and are some of the most influential theatre practitioners within their respective countries, developing innovative, sustainable practices predicated on barter and intercultural dialogue. agement that will make a significant contribution to the future value of theatre in the UK. Cognizant of the fact that these groups frequently remain unnoticed by scholars, particularly in the Anglophone world, and that their legacy has not been the subject of comprehensive academic scrutiny, this project will map out this important theatre community, identifying what the Third Theatre can offer in terms of robust, egalitarian models of training, dramaturgical practices, participatory actions and sustainable economic strategies which effectively enable theatre groups to flourish under conditions of economic hardship whilst bringing diverse communities of people together through art.

Research question

What is the value of the transnational, cosmopolitan (see Gilroy, 2005) Third Theatre community in terms of aesthetic innovation, economic sustainability and intercultural dialogue in/through the arts and how can this legacy inform other performance practices?

Research Objectives

OB1: To generate a historiographic framework of the components of Third Theatre praxis in terms of training, dramaturgical practices and participatory actions. This focus on the evolving history of the term will fill an important gap within theatre historiography, as there has been no sustained research over the past forty years focusing exclusively on the legacy and praxis of the Third Theatre.

OB2: To identify, catalogue and translate Third Theatre groups’ intra/intercultural actor training and dramaturgical practices.

OB3: To identify and refine models of financial sustainability which have allowed Third Theatre practitioners to develop work that is innovative and highly acclaimed whilst often operating at the margins of hegemonic cultural and economic systems and within difficult economic climates.

OB4: To develop models of best practice and roadmaps based on the participatory strategies developed by Third Theatre companies, which promote effective participation, social engagement and Intercultural Dialogue through theatre and performance.