Theatre, Performance and Cognition

edited by Rhonda Blair , Amy Cook , Nicola Shaughnessy and John Lutterbie

DOI: 10.5040/9781472591821

ISBN: 9781472591784

Theatre, Performance and Cognition introduces readers to the key debates, areas of research, and applications of the cognitive sciences to the humanities, and to theatre and performance in particular. It features the most exciting work being done at the intersection of theatre and cognitive science, containing both selected scientific studies that have been influential in the field, each introduced and contextualised by the editors, together with related scholarship from the field of theatre and performance that demonstrates some of the applications of the cognitive sciences to actor training, the rehearsal room and the realm of performance more generally.

The three sections consider the principal areas of research and application in this interdisciplinary field, starting with a focus on language and meaning-making in which Shakespeare's work and Tom Stoppard's Arcadia are considered. In the second part which focuses on the body, chapters consider applications for actor and dance training, while the third part focuses on dynamic ecologies, of which the body is a part.

'The three concepts addressed in this volume are central, contested, and used in significantly different ways in the humanities, neuroscience and psychology. Through presenting essays that use the term and then inviting someone more familiar with the sciences, this book challenges preconceptions about how terms are used and serve as a means of improving the quality of communication between disciplines.' John Lutterbie, Stony Brook University, USA

'There is much in this book to intrigue, inform, and inspire scholars, students, teachers, and practitioners of theatre and performance. Editors Rhonda Blair and Amy Cook provide accessible introductions for those who might be new to the intersection of cognitive science and theatre, while individual chapters advance the knowledge that arises from this confluence by engaging with specific topics in detailed and provocative ways. The chapters are written by authors of diverse provenances, including dance, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and narratology, alongside theatre and performance studies. The book also includes helpful appendices in the form of abstracts of influential references that informed the chapter authors' writing, and fascinating “After Words” in which practitioners talk about how their work responds to concepts from cognitive science … The application of cognitive science to theatre and performance studies has become an established theoretical approach. This book advances the field significantly-not just by virtue of the content of the individual chapters, but also by the success of its interdisciplinary format, which stimulates valuable dialogue among its authors.' Theatre Topics