A Poetics of Third Theatre: performer training, dramaturgy, participation

by Jane Turner and Patrick Campbell

edited by Maria Kapsali and Rebecca Loukes

Part of the Perspectives in Performer Training Series (Forthcoming: Routledge)

Third Theatre is a term coined in a short text written 40 years ago by renowned theatre director Eugenio Barba, founder of pioneering theatre company Odin Teatret. Barba used the term to describe an emerging generation of theatre groups in the 1970s who associated themselves neither with mainstream nor avant-garde theatre and whose work was characterized by marginality, auto-didactism, the ethical dimensions of the actor’s craft and theatre as a new social vocation. Our monograph will revisit the currency of the term and evaluate the value and relevance of Third Theatre today, providing a historiographical, critical and practical account of the performer training developed by this diasporic theatrical community, introducing readers to an important and influential theatrical tradition that has so far escaped scholarly attention.

The ways in which performer training in this tradition transcends the representational and mimetic concerns of dramatic theatre and focuses on the real of embodied presence and the social impact of participatory actions will be addressed through case studies mapping the genealogy of the Third Theatre community across two continents. The ways in which intercultural dialogue and cosmopolitanism fundamentally underpins the practices will be explored. Exercises developed by key groups will be transcribed offering important practical skills essential to students, practitioners and researchers and will be illuminated by previously unpublished archival material and interviews with practitioners.