Drama and Performance

The Drama & Performance seminar series aims to explore questions of performance within theatrical contexts both contemporary and historical, with a special emphasis on ideas of the dramatic and performance in practice.


‘Climate Dramaturgy’ with Zoë Svendsen

29 April 2024, 5:15pm, GR05

In this seminar, Dr Zoë Svendsen will discuss her practice-based research developing the concept of ‘Climate Dramaturgy’. Climate Dramaturgy is a holistic practice that works across all aspects of theatre-making, from making processes to practical and organisational ethics, to the form and content of performance work. Climate Dramaturgy recognises contemporary climate crisis as the long emerging outcome of 400 years of extractive, transactive capitalism, fuelled by European colonialism and the maintenance of systemic global inequity. The research has focused on finding antidotes and actions to dismantle pervasive myths that stymietransformative action in the mainstream British theatre sector.

The concept of ‘Climate Dramaturgy’ has been developed through embedded practice-based research at the DonmarWarehouse, London (exploring the relationship between artists and institutions) and currently through an AHRC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship with HighTide Theatre Company – focussing playwrights and playwriting. The process has involved holding consultation workshops, delivering conferences and workshops, and producing resources to support theatre makers in adjusting mindset and working methods: in recognition of climate crisis as a context that suffuses all aspects of contemporary life. See: https://theatregreenbook.com/making-theatre-in-a-time-of-climate-crisis-resources/

BIO Zoë Svendsen (Zoë/her) is a UK-based theatre director/dramaturg. Zoë is Associate Artist at Cambridge Junction and Hightide theatre company and lectures on dramaturgy, in the Faculty of English. As director, Zoë makes participatory theatre performances exploring ecological crisis and capitalism, including the Amt für Zuwart und Gegenkunft @reEDOcate me! Floating University, Berlin; Love Letters to a Liveable Future (Cambridge Junction); Ness, by Robert Macfarlane (Metal/Estuary Festival); Factory of the Future (Oslo Architecture Triennale); Artsadmin Green Commission, WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE MAY BE (Barbican), World Factory (NewWolseyTheatre/Young Vic/tour); 3rd Ring Out (Tipping Point commission; UK tour). As dramaturg: Duchess of Malfi, Hamlet, Merchant of Venice (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); The Tempest, Macbeth (Globe Theatre); Othello and Edward II (National Theatre); Arden of Faversham and Macbeth (RSC); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure and The Changeling (Young Vic); Miss Julie(Aarhus); Mone Rekho and Borderlands with Soumik Datta (Purcell Rooms/Queen Elizabeth Hall/tour). As Associate Artist at the Donmar Warehouse in 2022 Zoë developed the concept of ‘climate dramaturgy’. In September 2023, Zoë curated a day-long event with the three National Theatres (Scotland, Wales, UK), to explore the challenges and affordances artist-led climate care. Zoë’s book, Theatre & Dramaturgy, is published by Bloomsbury.

Please email Claire Watt (cmw95) to register, noting whether you would like to come to dinner with the speaker after the seminar. We hope to see as many of you there as possible!

22nd May 2024 at 5:15pm, GR05 in the English Faculty. Please register to attend (details below).

'In Conversation with Hammaad Chaudry’. In this seminar, our co-convenor, Claire Watt, will be asking questions to this esteemed playwright and there will be space for you to ask your own questions about writing (including screenwriting).

Speaker Bio:
Hammaad Chaudry is a U.S. and U.K. based playwright and screenwriter. His plays include “An Ordinary Muslim,’’ which received its World Premiere at the New York Theatre Workshop, where he was the Tow Foundation Playwright in Residence. The play was the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and a Laurens/Hatcher Theater Grant, it was selected as New York Magazine Critic’s Pick and extended at the box office. His play “Security“ received its online world premiere at the Kane Repertory Theatre, garnering five-star reviews from Chicago papers. Further plays include “God Willing,” “Tokens,” “Kismat,” “Salaam Mr. Bush” and “Bobby and Rabia.” His work has been staged/developed at theatres including The Public Theater, The Pershing Square Signature Center, The Flea Theatre, The Kiln Theatre, The Royal Court Theatre in London and The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Scotland. For screen he has worked with ITV, TigerAspect Productions, Film4 Productions and MBC Studios.

He was a Van Lier Fellow at New Dramatists, is an alumni of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and remains a Usual Suspect at the New York Theatre Workshop. He is also a graduate of The Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Programme, where the theatre selected his work for the Young Writers Festival and Unheard Voices competition. Currently he is on attachment to the Royal Lyceum Theatre as part of the L20. He is also a recipient of the New Playwrights Award from Playwrights’ Studio Scotland. Residencies and workshops include: Cove Park Residency, Vineyard Arts Project Public Theater, Composer Librettist Studio (Nautilus Musical Theater).

He holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Columbia University, where he completed his studies on scholarship, and a B.A. in International Politics and History from The University of Surrey in England.

Please email Claire Watt (cmw95) to attend, stating whether or not you would like to join us after the seminar for dinner at the pub. Everyone welcome!