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My practice-based research examines theatre through the lens of visual art, and establishes a material, spatial understanding of performance. 


Drawing on my collaboration as a performer-deviser with the theatre company New York City Players, and on principles of sculpture, spatial theory, and cultural theory, I pay close attention to the social relationality of the performer/spectator encounter that is estalished through space.

By drawing attention to the relational processes of production between the body and space;  to the individual performer as an object both defined by space and a subject actively creating space; and to the social relationality between performer and spectator, my PhD enquiry examines how the application of sculptural principles within a theatrical context, dissolve the boundaries between aesthetic practice and social practice.  


I draw on Henri Lefebvre’s spatial triad in The Production of Space (1974) and Sara Ahmed’s concept of an ‘ethical encounter’ proposed in Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality (2000) to argue that a sculptural approach to theatre works to reveal gaps in experience within the performer/spectator encounter, and the impossibility of pure exchange, the impossibility of taking the place of another. I demonstrate that it is through the exposition of what is missing in communication, of what is absent, in which the potential exists for learning and discovering new ways of being together.




Soraya Nabipour
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