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Sandra Umathum (ed.), Benjamin Wihstutz (ed.): Disabled Theater

Sandra Umathum (ed.), Benjamin Wihstutz (ed.)

Disabled Theater

Translated by Christoph Nöthlings

Softcover, 248 pages

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PDF, 248 pages

Jerôme Bel's controversial dance piece as a basis for a discussion of performance and disability

Jérôme Bel’s Disabled Theater, a dance piece featuring eleven actors with cognitive disabilities from Zurich's Theater HORA, has polarized audiences worldwide. Some have celebrated the performance as an outstanding exploration of presence and representation; others have criticized it as a contemporary freak show. This impassioned reception provokes important questions about the role of people with cognitive disabilities within theater and dance—and within society writ large. Using Disabled Theater as the basis for a broad, interdisciplinary discussion of performance and disability, this volume explores the intersections of politics and aesthetics, inclusion and exclusion, and identity and empowerment. Can the stage serve as a place of emancipation for people with disabilities? To what extent are performers with disabilities able to challenge and subvert the rules of society? What would a performance look like without an ideology of ability?

  • theatre studies
  • Jérôme Bel
  • aesthetics
  • theatre / drama
  • disability studies
  • body
  • performing arts
  • identity
  • performance

“[Disabled Theater] provides a key to understanding the work of an artist whose influence has been crucial to the development of the so-called performance art renaissance within the contemporary scene. It also explores the possibilities for social emancipation from aesthetic judgment on stage.”Flash Art

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Sandra Umathum

is Professor for Theater/Performance Studies and Dramaturgy at the “Ernst Busch” Academy of Dramatic Art (department for theatre directing). Main research areas: relations between theater und the visual arts since the 1950s, theory und praxis of contemporary theatre and performance art, politic dimensions of aesthetics, contemporary forms of dramaturgy.

Other texts by Sandra Umathum for DIAPHANES
Benjamin Wihstutz

Benjamin Wihstutz

holds a PhD from Freie Universität Berlin, where he teaches theatre studies. His research focuses on politics and aesthetics in contemporary performance as well as in the German theatre around 1800.

Other texts by Benjamin Wihstutz for DIAPHANES