Central Staff Author, Edit and Contribute to Academic Publications

Image of students reading in the Central Library

Monday, 11 May 2020

Congratulations to the numerous members of Central’s academic staff who have recently written or edited books, or who have contributed chapters to academic publications. 

Professor Paul Barker, Central’s Course Leader for MA Music Theatre, has contributed a chapter entitled “Vision and Division in Performance: A Semiotic Perspective” to Dr. Maureen Ellis’s book Critical Global Semiotics: Understanding Sustainable Transformational Citizenship: ​​​

Critical Global Semiotics: Understanding Sustainable Transformational Citizenship incorporates powerful unifying frameworks which make explicit a developing global consciousness. It explores transdisciplinary ‘common wealth’ through focus on multimodality, media, and metaphor, testing two universally applicable humanitarian frameworks: critical realism (CR) and systemic functional semiotics (SFS). 

Every day, global citizens encounter an overwhelming host of genres and sub-genres, emergent semantic triangles, evolving semiotic trinity. Embodying philosophy, incorporating active engagement, this book addresses the political economy and cultural politics of diverse domains. Challenging daily drama and performative dharma, 24 analysts from 13 countries present current issues in Anthropology, Architecture, Dance, Feminism, Film, Health, Law, Management, Medicine, Music, Politics, Pharmaceuticals, Sociology, Sustainability Education, and Urban Development.  

The book’s integrative, unifying foundations will be of interest to researchers, academics, and post-graduate students in the fields of linguistics, semiotics, and critical realist philosophy, as well as to policy makers, curriculum developers, and civil society. 

Central’s Dean of School Professor Ross Brown is the author of Sound Effect: The Theatre We Hear:

Sound Effect tells the story of the effect of theatrical aurality on modern culture. Beginning with the emergence of the modern scenic sound effect in the late 18th century, and ending with headphone theatre which brings theatre's auditorium into an intimate relationship with the audience's internal sonic space, the book relates contemporary questions of theatre sound design to a 250-year Western cultural history of hearing. It argues that while theatron was an instrument for seeing and theorizing, first a collective hearing, or audience is convened. Theatre begins with people entering an acoustemological apparatus that produces a way of hearing and of knowing. Once, this was a giant marble ear on a hillside, turned up to a cosmos whose inaudible music accounted for all. In modern times, theatre's auditorium, or instrument for hearing, has turned inwards on the people and their collective conversance in the sonic memes, tropes, clichés and picturesques that constitute a popular, fictional ontology. 
This is a study about drama, entertainment, modernity and the theatre of audibility. It addresses the cultural frames of resonance that inform our understanding of SOUND as the rubric of the world we experience through our ears. Ross Brown reveals how mythologies, pop-culture, art, commerce and audio, have shaped the audible world as a form of theatre. Garrick, De Loutherbourg, Brecht, Dracula, Jekyll, Hyde, Spike Milligan, John Lennon, James Bond, Scooby-Do and Edison make cameo appearances as Brown weaves together a history of modern hearing, with an argument that sound is a story, audibility has a dramaturgy, hearing is scenographic, and the auditoria of drama serve modern life as the organon, or definitive frame of reference, on the sonic world.

Vanessa Ewan, Senior Lecturer in Movement and Co-Course Leader MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching at Central has written Laban’s Efforts in Action: A Movement Handbook for Actors with contribution from Central alumna Kate Sagovsky  

As an actor, awareness of your movement is the key to transformation. By making deliberate physical choices, you can fully and articulately embody different ways of being: you can become someone or something else. Laban's Efforts give you a way of identifying and making these choices. Working with them helps the actor to create wholly present and physically ambitious performances.  
This book outlines Ewan's practical process, which allows the actor to understand their own movement and that of others by exploring one key part of Laban's work: the 'Efforts of Action Drive'.  
This complete, stage-by-stage, working process has been developed through more than thirty years of work with actors in the studio. Clear instructions for practical exercises are woven throughout the book, as well as exciting ways to apply the work in rehearsal, performance and on set. This allows the actor to learn and apply Laban's Efforts for themselves. Full video and audio resources allow the reader to experience the practical work in action.

Dr Stephen Farrier, Central’s Reader in Theatre and Performance has edited, together with Mark Edward, Contemporary Drag Practices and Performers Drag in a Changing Scene Volume 1:  

In recent years drag performance has moved from the fringes to emerge as a mainstream phenomenon, showcased on TV shows in the US and the UK. 
This collection offers a diverse range of critical engagements by drag performers, makers, scholars and writers reflecting on work from the UK, USA, Israel, Germany and Australia. Moving beyond discussions of gender theory, the essays consider contemporary drag performance practices, connecting them to the histories, communities and politics that produced them.  
Chapters range across discussions of drag kings in the US, UK and drag and activism; the influence of RuPaul on the generation of new forms of work in New York; transfeminist critiques of drag; 'bio'/faux queens; 
engagements with race and ethnicity through drag performance; drag andragogy; audience concerns; drag intersections with animal personas, and how drag performance relates to personal narratives of history and identity.  
Collectively the contributions focus on drag as a mode of performance that is diverse and that uncorsets the easy thought that drag is simply a cross dressing man in a dress or a woman in a suit. 

Dr Tony Fisher, Central’s Reader in Theatre and Philosophy and Associate Director of Research (Research Degrees) has edited Foucault’s Theatres together with Kélina Gotman.    

The volume contributes to a new articulation of theatre and performance studies via Foucault's critical thought. With cutting edge studies by established and emerging writers in areas such as dramaturgy, film, music, cultural history and journalism, the volume aims to be accessible for both experienced researchers and advanced students encountering Foucault's work for the first time. The introduction sets out a thorough and informative assessment of Foucault's relevance to theatre and performance studies and to our present cultural moment - it rereads his profound engagement with questions of truth, power and politics, in light of previously unknown writings and lectures set in relation to current political and cultural concerns. Unique to this volume is the discovery of a 'theatrical' Foucault - the profound affinity of his thinking with questions of performativity. This discovery makes accessible the 'performance turn' to readers of Foucault, while opening up ways of reading Foucault's oeuvre 'theatrically'. 

Central’s Reader in Contemporary Theatre and Performance and Course Leader of Writing for Performance, Dr Amanda Stuart Fisher, has edited Performing Care New Perspectives on Socially Engaged Performance with James Thompson.  

This edited collection brings together essays presenting an interdisciplinary dialogue between theatre and performance and the fields of care ethics, care studies, health and social care. The book advances our understanding of performance as a mode of care, challenging existing debates in this area by re-thinking the caring encounter as a performed, embodied experience and interrogating the boundaries between care practice and performance. Through an examination of a wide range of different care performances drawn from interdisciplinary and international settings, the book interrogates how performance might be understood as caring or uncaring, careless or careful, and correlatively how care can be conceptualised as artful, aesthetic, authentic or even 'fake' and 'staged'. 

Ayse Tashkiran, Senior Lecturer and Co-Course Leader MA/MFA Movement: Directing and Teaching at Central, is the author of Movement Directors in Contemporary Theatre Conversations on Craft

"When directors understand the value of a movement director they remove any sense of hierarchy within the room and place movement directors firmly by their side, for they are, and should be, their co-pilot, navigating and creating the world of the play." - Joan Iyiola 

Through a series of in-depth interviews with leading movement directors including Siân Williams, Sue Lefton, Toby Sedgewick and Diane Alison-Mitchell, Ayse Tashkiran examines the processes of creativity, collaboration and innovation for the moving body in performance. The conversations open up: 
New areas of movement practice The role of the movement director The history of theatre practice and key practitioners Diverse movement approaches Similarities and differences between movement direction and choreography Potential future developments in the field.   

The book contains forewords by Maria Aberg and Joan Iyiola 

All publications are available to purchase online, from booksellers, or direct from their respective publishers.  They are also available to borrow from Central's Library.

Critical Global Semiotics

Sound Effects: The Theatre we Hear

Laban’s Efforts in Action: A Movement Handbook for Actor


Contemporary Drag Practices and Performers Drag in a Changing Scene Volume 1


Foucault’s Theatres


Performing Care New Perspectives on Socially Engaged Performance


Movement Directors in Contemporary Theatre Conversations on Craft