STR Wickham Lecture 2015: Professor Gay McAuley, ‘Observing the creative process: directors and actors in rehearsal’

You are warmly invited to join us for the 2015 Wickham Lecture, co-presented by the University of Bristol Theatre Department and the Society for Theatre Research.

‘Observing the creative process:
directors and actors in rehearsal’

Professor Gay McAuley

Honorary Professor, University of Sydney

Rehearsal is popularly assumed to have been part of theatre practice for as long as the theatre has existed. But in fact rehearsal, as we now know it, is substantially an invention of the 20th century, inextricably bound up with the emergence of the role of the director. Traditionally closed to outsiders, relatively little has so far been written about the rehearsal process by theatre studies scholars.

How does one gain access to this closed world? How does one begin to analyse rehearsal? What does the creative process reveal about the work of art that is created? What can contemporary rehearsal practice reveal about group creativity? Drawing on many years of research and collaboration between academics and practitioners at the University of Sydney, Professor McAuley will discuss practical, methodological, ethical and conceptual issues involved in this developing field of study.

5.30pm Wednesday 13th May

The Wickham Theatre

Vandyck Building, Cantocks Close, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UP

Gay McAuley is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Performance Studies (University of Sydney). She has a BA in Drama, French and German, and a Ph.D in French from the University of Bristol. She taught theatre and film in the French Department at the University of Sydney before establishing Performance Studies as an interdisciplinary centre in 1989. Through the 70s and 80s she established collaboration between academics and practising artists for teaching and research purposes, and in the 90s she pioneered the application of ethnographic methodologies to the study of rehearsal process. Her book Space in Performance (1999) examines the many functions of space in the theatre experience. She then extended her exploration of spatial semiotics to site-based performance practices, with particular reference to the relation between place and memory (Unstable Ground: Performance and the Politics of Place 2006). Her most recent book is an ethnographic study of rehearsal process (Not Magic But Work 2012).

This annual lecture is presented to recognize Professor Glynne Wickham’s service to the Society for Theatre Research and his contribution to Theatre Studies in Bristol and world-wide.