Neil Anderson – Rudolf Steiner’s Theatre of Spiritual Realism


Neil Anderson

University of Sydney

Rudolf Steiner’s Theatre of Spiritual Realism

Although Rudolf Steiner’s work is well-known across a wide number of fields, particularly in education (Waldorf schools) and agriculture (Biodynamic farming), it relatively unknown in the context of actor training. When it does surface in actor training, it is either studied as a contributing part to the in-house performance of Steiner’s own Mystery Dramas for his followers (Chamberlain, 1992; Gordon, 1978; Lingan, 2014, p. 309), or as a background influence on the Michael Chekhov technique, appearing in the Chekhov secondary literature (Byckling, 2013; Chamberlain, 2004; Cristini, 2015; Kirillov & Chamberlain, 2013; Pitches, 2006). To avoid these different imbalances, I would like to critically evaluate some new scholarship into Rudolf Steiner’s theatre impulse as a useful ‘way in’. In particular, I want to focus on Christian Clement’s Weimar Classicism and Modern Spiritual Drama: Rudolf Steiner’s Theatre of Spiritual Realism (2011). Clement draws a strong line from Steiner’s early career as a Goethe scholar, leading the reader  through Steiner’s years as an art/literary/drama critic, to his later esoteric research and initiatives, arguing that Steiner’s aesthetic work with theatre is the ‘Golden Thread’ which binds the whole of Steiner’s work. 

Neil Anderson is a Phd Candidate in the Performance Studies Department at Sydney university. He trained as an actor at Harkness Studio, Ecole Phillipe Gaulier and Chrysalis Theatre School and has directed and acted in productions by Harken Theatre.