In Place of a Show is a compelling account of Western theatre buildings in the 21st century: theatres stripped of their primary purpose, lying empty, preserved as museums, or demolished.
Playfully combining first-person narratives, scholarly research and visual documents, Augusto Corrieri explores the material and imaginative potentials of these places, charting interconnections between humans, birds, vegetation, and the beguiling animations of inanimate things, such as walls, curtains and seats.
Across four chapters we learn of the uncanny dismantling and reconstitution of a German Baroque auditorium during the Second World War; the phantasmal remains of a demolished music hall in London's East End; a Renaissance Italian theatre, fleetingly transformed into an aviary by the appearance of a swallow; and a lavish opera house emerging from the Amazon rainforest. In these pages we are invited to discover theatres as sites of anomalous encounters and surprising coincidences: places that might reveal the performative entanglement of human and nonhuman worlds.
'Augusto Corrieri demands a critical consideration of dormant, repurposed, and surviving théâtre à l'italienne (or “Italianate stage”), arguing that the persistence of the spaces invites theatre scholars to consider and reemphasize nonhuman and overlooked theatrical phenomena … Corrieri's writing moves seamlessly through instances of performance philosophy, theatre history, visual analysis, and travel blogging. His unique perspective and methodology offer new connections between history, theory, and scholarship of recent site-based and immersive theatre practices.' TDR: The Drama Review
'The student of theatre can certainly find a good deal of objective and often surprising information about the subjects of the study here, but the real delight of the book is in how the author uses the story of the theatres ... to create a series of illuminating ... associations ... Each section engagingly presents its information, as one expects from a thoughtful and well-crafted essay, but it adds to this the pleasure of unexpected associations and an almost musical flow of discourse.' Studies in Theatre and Performance