Performance, Place, Possibility symposium

Performance, Place, Possibility: Performance in Contemporary Urban Contexts

(This symposium took place in April 2014)

Dr Joslin McKinney, Associate Professor in Scenography, School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds
Dr Martin Zebracki, Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Critical Human Geography, School of Geography, University of Leeds

stage@leeds, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Fri 4 April 2014, 09.00 – 18.00
Price: £25 inc lunch

Due to building work the usual walking route from the University main entrance to stage@leeds is blocked. Please use the alternative route marked on this downloadable map: stage@leeds alternative route

In this section:


We invite scholars, researchers, artists and activists from across disciplines to join in a debate on the ways in which the relationships between performance and place impact on audiences, communities, citizens and the city.


Lo Monstre, Ludus 2012 Credit: Tim Smith

Lo Monstre, Ludus 2012 Credit: Tim Smith

Theatre and performance “bring people together in live, shared encounters and offer people opportunities performatively to influence urban life” (Harvie 2009: 7). Meanwhile, performance offers a non-representational approach to engaging with “mundane everyday practices that shape the conduct of human beings towards others and themselves in particular sites” (Thrift 1997: 142).

In this symposium, we want to consider the intersections of performance and the embodied practice of urban life and, further, reflect on the potentials of and the challenges for performance which seek to engage with diverse experiences of the city.

Topics could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The performance of place and space in contemporary urban culture
  • Performance as urban intervention
  • Participatory and/or interactive performance
  • Performance and a ‘global sense of place’ (Massey 1991)
  • Embodiment, affect and the experience of place
  • Located and site-specific performance in the city
  • Urban walking as performance
  • Performance and urban social change
  • Performance, identity and urban cultures
  • Performative urban cultural practices beyond theatre and performance
  • The body as site of performativity research

N.B. The deadline for proposals has now passed.


Keynote speaker:  Daniel Wetzel, Rimini Protokoll

In his keynote presentation Daniel will be considering the following questions:

What are the possibilities for performance in relation to place/location?

What is the value of using theatrical techniques to facilitate encounters with ‘strangers’?

What are the ethical challenges of Rimini Protokoll’s work and how do you negotiate them?

Daniel Wetzel is a member of Rimini Protokoll together with Helgard Haug and Stefan Kaegi. They studied Applied Theatre Science at the University of Giessen (Germany) and they have worked together since 2000. Their work in the realm of theatre, sound and radio plays, film, installation emerges in constellations of two or three and solo as well. Since 2002, all their works have been written collectively under the label Rimini Protokoll. At the focus of their work is the continuous development of the tools of the theatre to allow for unusual perspectives on our reality.  They have received numerous awards including the Silver Lion of the Theatre Biennale in Venice, the German national theatre award Der Faust, as well as lately the Japan Media Award for their latest common work Situation Rooms.

Outline schedule:

9:00 coffee and registration

9:45 – 10:55 keynote presentation

11:00 – 1:00 parallel sessions

1:00 – 1:45 lunch

1:45 – 3:45 parallel sessions

3:45 – 4:00 tea

4:00 – 5:00 plenary discussion

5:00 – 6:00 bar open

You can download the schedule and details of all the sessions here:

PPP outline schedule

PPP Daniel Wetzel Keynote

PPP parallel sessions

Presenters and Abstracts

Keynote presenter:

PPP Daniel Wetzel Keynote

Panels and presenters:

Politicising space. Chair: Mick Wallis, University of Leeds

Hari Marini, Queen Mary, University of London, UK. Sarahleigh Castelyn, University of East London, UK and Manoli Moriaty, University of Salford, UK. The Falling Shift

Megan Hoetger, University of California, Berkeley, USA. The Politics of Mobility in the City: Asco’s Walking Mural and 1970s East Los Angeles

Sue Porter, University of Bristol, UK and Dee Heddon, University of Glasgow, UK. Walking Interconnections

Isabel Jones, Artistic Director Salamanda Tandem, UK and Mickel Smithen, Associate Artist, Salamanda Tandem, UK. Audio Description: an aesthetic tool in performance?

Gary Winters, Lone Twin and Claire Hind, York St John University, UK. A Fool Cat’s Power Nap: Dream sites for the city of Leeds.

Cecilie Sachs Olsen, PhD researcher, Queen Mary University of London, UK. Performing things – investigating the
transformative potentialities of urban materialities.

Abstracts and presenter biographies can be downloaded here: PPP Politicising space


Encountering the global. Chair: Saskia Warren, University of Birmingham.

Rubkwan Thammaboosadee, Bangkok University, Thailand. Protest as Fashion Trends: Urban Cultures that Affect Performance Identity of PDRC Protestors.

Charlie Fox, Artistic Director counterproductions. DE/TOURS tales form Marseille-Provence 2013: performing and reforming capital as culture.

Mikyoung Jun Pearce and Rebecca Woodford-Smith, Glyndwr University, UK. ‘From Tokyo’ and the Tokyo Marathon Walk: Walking as a Performative-Dialogue (Reflecting and Recollecting Our Experience as Walkers in Tokyo).

Jason Luger, King’s College London / National University of Singapore. Curating the Island: The Reclamation of Singaporean Identity through the ‘Awaken the Dragon’ Festival.

Elena Marchevska, Senior Lecturer, London South Bank University, UK. The one who sings, means well – The politics of selforganised choirs and performative street actions in Macedonia.

Anna Tzakou, PhD candidate University of Exeter, UK. Performance Topophilia: a collective participatory event in the landscape of Athens.

Abstracts and presenter biographies can be downloaded here: PPP Encountering the global


Landscaping the city. Chair: Sally Mackey, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Filippa Dobson, Artist and practice based Fine Art PhD Candidate, University of Leeds, UK. Effluviale.

Kevin Crooks, University of Central Lancashire, UK. The Performance of Narrative Within a Confined Urban Landscape.

Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti, Falmouth University, UK. Porous City: Take Me to the Bridge.

Claudia Kappenberg, University of Brighton, UK. The Use of Uselessness.

Jess Allen, University of Manchester, UK. Yokel with a yoke: carrying the country through the city in activist walking

Lisa Woynarski, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK. The Bio-Urban in Performance.

Abstracts and presenter biographies can be downloaded here: PPP Landscaping the city


Finding place in urban space. Chair: Katie Beswick, University of Leeds.

Dani Abulhawa, Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Commerce Masculinity.

Toha De Brant, master student, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Turning a corner of Marseille’s central station into a stage of performance.

Searle Kochberg, maker, writer, teacher and PhD candidate, University of Portsmouth, UK. Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London: Gay Jewish Male Provocations.

Sally Mackey, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, UK. Challenging ‘liquid’ place through two urban performances.

Idit Elia Nathan, Central St Martin’s College, University of the Arts London, UK. Performative Movements in a Holy and Contested City or ‘Be realistic, demand the impossible.’

Abstracts and presenter biographies can be downloaded here: PPP Finding place in urban space


Moving (in) the city. Chair: Sita Popat, University of Leeds.

Victoria Hunter, University Chichester, UK. Do You Come Here Often? Mapping Urban Space through Embodied Encounters.

Leslie Satin, New York University, Gallatin School, USA. Space/Age: The Body as Home(less).

Anna Macdonald, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Containing the city in ‘This is for you’.

Monika Jaeckel, artist and writer, Berlin, Germany. Embodied movement training as ability to counter governing regimes of place.

Hannah Gravestock, Independent researcher, UK. Dancing with the City; Understanding Parkour pedagogies from a
performance perspective.

Abstracts and presenter biographies can be downloaded here: PPP Moving (in) the city


Playing in liminality. Chair: Emma Kerry, University of Leeds.

Nina Kane, Cast-Off Drama / Ocarina Nina Street -Theatre & Singing. Playful Loitering /Busking Bodies/ Subversive Singing: Why street-theatre is essential to our cities.

Simon Pope, The Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, UK and Saskia Warren, University of Birmingham, UK. Performing public art-geography in Simon Pope’s ‘Forwards Back Together’.

Greg Foster, University of Salford and Jana Wendler, University of Manchester, UK. Enchanted rabbit holes: inviting play in the city.

Gillian Dyson-Moss, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. Behind the Houses.

Abstracts and presenter biographies can be downloaded here: PPP Playing in liminality


Travel and Accommodation

Air travel to Leeds

The nearest airport to Leeds is Leeds Bradford Airport.
It is 7 miles from Leeds city centre.
There is a bus service from Leeds Bradford airport to Leeds city centre. Buses run every 30 minutes and the journey takes approximately 30 mins. The cost for a return journey is £6
Taxis are also available.

Manchester Airport is the largest international airport in our region.
It is approximately 45 miles from Leeds city centre.
Trains run every 30 minutes and the journey takes 70-90 minutes. A return ticket costs around £25.

London airports
Trains from main London airports (Gatwick and Heathrow) run hourly. The journey time from either airport to Leeds city centre is approximately 3 hour 30 minutes by rail.

Train travel in the UK

The National Rail enquiries website is:
For helpful advice to international travellers on using UK trains and finding the cheapest deals we also recommend:

Travel to the University of Leeds

How to find us in Leeds

The venue for the symposium will be : stage@leeds, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK

Due to building work the usual walking route from the University main entrance to stage@leeds is blocked. Please use the alternative route marked on this downloadable map: stage@leeds alternative route

Accommodation in Leeds

Papers and Videos

Here you can find a selection of video material and papers presented at the symposium

Rubkwan Thammaboosadee, Bangkok University, Thailand.  paper: Protest as Fashion Trends- Urban Cultures that Affect Performance Identity of PDRC Protestors   video: