Clay, Caroline (2018) Rock, Breath, Skin – An Approach to Training for Performing Land. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In this time of human dislocation from land, many scholars and practitioners are exploring the role of performance in addressing this dislocation and its ecological ramifications. Performance offers a vehicle for generating new understanding and discourse by giving audiences experiences of immersion in land and natural environments. According to May, there is an urgent need for artists and performers to ‘flesh out the way in which the human imagination participates in, and is integral to, our ecological situatedness’ (May, 2007, p. 95). The analysis of human connection to land and place offers a timely contribution to understanding of human experience of the world. However, a definite list of principles that underpin the ways we connect to the environments we inhabit is elusive. Two key questions are considered. Firstly, how can we use theatre and performance to address the human disconnectedness to land? Secondly, and central to this project: how can performers train for work that addresses the current state of disconnectedness?

Within the fields of theatre and performance, there is not currently a comprehensive model available to answer these questions. This project aims to consider answers to the question of how performers might approach training for performance that, in various ways, addresses the current state of disconnectedness through performing land. What is required is, as architect and curator, Miwon Kwon suggests, ‘radical restructuring of the subject from an old Cartesian model to a phenomenological one of lived bodily experience’. (Kwon, 1997, p. 12).

This research project: "Rock, Breath, Skin – An Approach to Training for Performing Land" investigates features and mechanisms of an eco-centric performer training for performing land and engages with three key bodies of discourse: philosophy of land and place; outdoor, immersive performance practice; and performer training. The research asks: How might performers develop approaches to training for performing land? By ‘Performing Land’ I suggest that the term encompasses performance in land, performance with land and performance of land.

The project explores the possibilities that developing awareness of our immersion in land is a means by which we can train for performing land.

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