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).