Sarah Peters – Splendid: A Participatory play-reading and workshop


Sarah Peters

Flinders University

Splendid: A Participatory play-reading and workshop

Emma and Jo were born exactly 2years, 9months and 1day apart. They shared bedrooms and shoes and showers (until they were really too old for that sort of thing). Jo knows exactly how to calm Emma down when she’s anxious, and exactly which buttons to press to piss her off. Emma knows that Jo likes hugs instead of praise, and that the best way to make her cry is to give her a fright. 

That was then, and this is now. And now, nothing is the same.  

Splendid explores the elasticity of sibling relationships, while circling on broad themes of love, fear, reconciliation and forgiveness. How far can you stretch the bonds of sisterly affection before the sinews connecting siblings pull apart? Can we ever return to who we were and what we once had? 

In this performative workshop a short excerpt of Splendid will be read, discussed and rehearsed. The audience will be invited to participate; to listen, to speak, to perform. Together we will assemble to explore the performance of negotiation, what it takes to return home, and the tension of potential forgiveness in Splendid. 

Intending participants are required to register for the workshop. Duration 1 hour.

Dr Sarah Peters is a playwright, theatre practitioner and Lecturer in Drama at Flinders University. Her verbatim plays engage with communities to tell the shared stories of experience, such as young people navigating mental health and wellbeing in twelve2twentyfive (2013, 2015) and pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago looking for belonging in Blister (2019). Sarah’s most recent publications include ‘Verbatim Theatre and a Dramaturgy of Belonging’ (2019) and ‘The Pedagogy of Pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago written into performance’ (2019). Sarah’s practice includes facilitating playwriting and collaborative theatre making projects, most recently with D’faces of Youth Arts and ExpressWay Arts (Carclew) in SA. 

Workshop – Clare Grant – Shifting registers of performance: Towards ‘situational immediacy’


Clare Grant


Shifting registers of performance: Towards ‘situational immediacy’

I propose a 1.5 hour workshop in performance writing fed by the public voices we respond to daily, but written to be performed in an aware, ‘hypothetical’ performative (‘theatrical’) space, where both the rhetorical and physical placement of the speaking bodies produce shifting registers of both performance and reception. We will write for a range of performance forms – for ‘voices’ that can be described as ‘characters’ or ‘personae’ for instance.

The workshop will draw out underlying dynamics in the performed moment that work towards an immediacy of effect and affect, and may be produced, amongst other things, as coercion, seduction, celebration, mourning, and perhaps all of these registers in one voice. 

It draws on an understanding of the performed moment as being, at least, and to varying degrees, performative, presentational, and representational, its ‘situation’, determined by both the physical arrangement of the space of performance and the nature of the engagement of the writing with its audience. A fourth aspect, as rhetorical modes often propose, may form part of discussion in the workshop. 

This proposal is offered in the midst of the global COVID19 crisis during which a bombardment of voices come to us from multiple platforms, some having no direct impact, some leading us astray, some taking us to lofty places, some to hilarious effect, and some defining our actions and lives for the foreseeable future – impacts we are perhaps unaccustomed to outside cultural memories of the Depression and war.

Engaging with ‘speech acts’ (JL Austin) and a number of idiosyncratic physical and writing exercises developed with my students in Writing for Performance at UNSW (1998-2014), we will create voices for performance that draw on the immediacy of our present lived experience while drawing out the complexities of their reception here and now. (303)

Duration: 1.5 hours, but could be flexible in response to the needs of the conference.

Intending participants are required to register for the workshop, by 26 November 2020.

Clare Grant is a freelance dramaturg/performer. She is Honorary Lecturer in Performance at UNSW where she has supported the creation of multiple works for the theatre (1998-2014). Her performance history includes: KISS theatre in Europe (1983-85); a founding member of The Sydney Front (1986-1993), she published a set of 8 DVDs encompassing their work (2012). She was Artistic Director of Playworks (1993 – 1997), and has performed in many new works created by Sydney-based artists and in her solo work, Woman in the Wall. Clare received an Honour Award from the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre (2007).

Workshop – Michael Balfour and colleagues – Performing care


Michael Balfour and colleagues – with Margot Politis, Claire Hooker and Vic McEwan

Performing care

Varying notions of care have become a leitmotif in efforts to include the analysis of agency and creativity in discussions of the lived experience of marginalization. Understandings of care have in common an emphasis on relationality and activity: Communicative activities of care both constitute and are made relevant by morally/ethically framed relationships with others and oneself.” (Black, 2018)

This dialogue workshop gathers together practitioners and researchers from a range of disciplines (and anti-disciplines) to explore the notion of care and performance, asking the question: “What does care look like, sound like and feel like?”

The workshop is designed to provoke thinking about performance, social relationships and imperatives of care. Performative acts can be moments in which care relationships are negotiated and re-imagined, as well as important processes in which artists and participants reconnect with embodied knowledges. This might include care/lack of care in a time of social injustice, self-care and the need to reconnect with the body after illness, how music might facilitate recovery after brain injury, or how audio ecologies provide a critical soundtrack of care. Through three diverse provocations from pioneering practitioners and researchers the workshop will present, and invite reflection on, the concept of creative care in all our work.

Speakers include:

  • Margot Politis (Milk Crate Theatre)
  • Dr Claire Hooker (Senior Lecturer, Medical Humanities, Sydney Health Ethics, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney)
  • Vic McEwan, contemporary artist (sound, installation, video and performance)
  • Chaired by Prof Michael Balfour and hosted by the Arts and Health Hub (UNSW).


  • Introduction (5 mins) [Michael Balfour]
  • 3 x 20 mins provocations/presentations (60 mins)
  • Dialogue/Discussion (25 mins)
  • Conclusion (5 mins)

This workshop is open access.