Vol 18 (2006) Approaching the Spiritual in Theatre, Ritual and Performance

Everyday life and everyday news at the dawn of the 21st century daily delivers stark reminders that secularization is a historically and culturally determined term. This situation points, perhaps with increasing clarity, to the fact that secularization is an ideology of the west, with shallow ideological roots, and that it’s reading of the world should not be taken for granted. In this situation the concept of spirituality gains new relevance to the field of theatre studies from various points of view, and is linked to a great variety of meanings and contexts.

To the field of theatre and performance studies the intertwining of secular, contemporary Western culture with cultural expressions rooted in various forms of religious belief represents a manifold challenge. Various attempts to renew practice and theory in our field have been drawn from religious performative practices. Western theories of the theatre, however, have often approached religious practices from a performative point of view, incorporating elements and inspiration from these on to Western stages. One result of this is that the field of theatre and performance studies today may be able to provide a vocabulary that describes qualities of the performative mode whether appearing as expression of religious credo, of postdramatic strategy, or as expressions of metaphysical content.

Approaching the spiritual in theatre, ritual and performance may be done in several different was. Historiographic approaches may search for links between ritual and theatre, and between theatre and ritual worship. An extended notion of theatre and theatre viewed as event may show to have consequences for the understanding of the early development of theatre. (Continue reading the introduction by Anita Hammer and Keld Hyldig in NTS vol 19…)


Anita Hammer & Keld Hyldig
Editorial: Approaching the Spiritual in Theatre, Ritual and Performance
Jon Refsdal Moe

Artaud’s Double: Critical Remarks Upon Derrida’s “The Theatre of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation”
Anita Hammer
Inanna, Ritual Protagonist of Bodily Worship: Inquiring into a “What if” of Theatre History
Trausti Ólafsson

Spirituality and Sexuality in When We Dead Awaken
Keld Hyldig

The Mystery of the Self: Robert Wilson’s Staging of Peer Gynt
Liisa Byckling

Michael Chekhov and Anthroposophy: From the History of the Second Moscow Art Theatre
Owain Edwards
Reconsidering the Origins of Drama in the Medieval Church
Boel Christensen-Scheel

A Place in Your Heart: Aspects of Situatedness and De-situatedness in Current Practice and Theory

Pentti Paavolainen
Coercion for the Sake of Good Theatre: The Historiography on the Case Jouko Turkka
Book Reviews