Brown, Katherine Laura (2012) Attending to Presence - An Investigation into the Training of Scenic Presence. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

"There exists a secret art of the performer. There exists recurring principles which determine the life of actors and dancers in various cultures and epochs. These are not recipes but points of departure which make it possible for an individual's qualities to become Scenic Presence and to be manifest as personalised and efficient expression in the context of the individual’s own history" (Barba 1991: 268).

This quote professes to contain the secret to the performer’s art, a fundamental hidden technique, and yet it invokes more questions than it answers; such as what is ‘Scenic Presence’ and how can the principles used in training help to develop it? This thesis interrogates those questions to find both an intellectual understanding of what Scenic Presence is and a practical grasp of how the principles used in training can help its development.

I have based my research on the theories of Eugenio Barba, Phillip Zarrilli and John Britton and compared their findings with my own explorations in the studio during and after the training I embarked on in the summer of 2011.

The principles I have worked with are the attitudinal principles drawn from the work of John Britton: “pursue your pleasure”, “pay attention to the things you can do something about” and “have no opinion.” These will be explored in relation to some of the technical, recurring features of the extradaily body, identified but not invented by Eugenio Barba as “balance”, “dynamic oppositions” and “posture”.

While this report began as an investigation of Scenic Presence I have since discovered that Scenic Presence is a direct consequence of attention and therefore, towards the end, the focus of my report shifted to embrace this discovery.

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