Performing Urgency book colection: available now at our ticket office


Special campaign: get your four Performing Urgency books at 10€ each just until end of December 2017


In recent years artists in the field of theatre, dance and performance have re-claimed an active role in social, environmental and other political discourses – a role that performing arts had widely given up since the early nineties: The crisis of representation in democracy was at the same time a crisis of representation in the arts, especially hitting the reality machine of theatre in its core. The resulting shift to more concept- and process-oriented work was necessarily a shift to more self-reflection, more awareness of your own means and the internal conditions of the medium. But it also brought about a vast inclination to self-restriction from concrete political and social involvement: it created a practice of self-content.

Performing Urgency – a series of four books published over the course of three years – focuses on the relationship between theatre and politics, asking: How can theatre engage in contemporary social and political issues without compromising neither art nor politics? What kind of knowledge or impact can art generate that activism and theory alone can not? What are the processes and methodologies of political theatre today?

Performing Urgency aims at a broader discussion of the conditions, aesthetics, concepts and topics of contemporary performing arts. Authors include artists, journalists, academic writers from various fields, as well as curators and dramaturges. Abstract reflections stand next to concrete analysis of artistic work, interviews and statements next to artist pages as well as concrete proposals for artistic, curatorial and dramaturgical methodologies. The journalistic approach aims at a readership ranging from interested audience-members to professionals and academics from the field of performing and visual arts.

While the first edition of the series – “Not Just a Mirror. Looking for the Political Theatre of Today” (Ed. Florian Malzacher) – tries to grasp the landscape of political approaches in contemporary live arts at large and shows along concrete examples a variety of practices, the second volume – “Turn, Turtle! Reenacting the Institute” (Eds. Elke Van Campenhout & Lilia Mestre) looked at the conditions in which theatre, performance, dance is produced – and which they produce themselves. „Joined Forces. Audience Participation in Theatre“ (Ed. Anna R. Burzyńska) describes the current strong focus on the audience and its role as emancipated spectator or even co-creator of the artistic work. “Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial Strategy” (Eds. Florian Malzacher & Joanna Warsza) finally focuses on the growing interest not only of program makers but also artists in the conditions and techniques of curating, emphasising the specific connection of the performing arts to the concept of the curatorial.

Performing urgency creates a discursive space for contemporary performing art practices and politics. They are a tool. And they are an extension of the public space that theatre has always been – and has to be even more in the future.


Performing Urgency #1
Not just a mirror. Looking for the political theatre of today

Performing Urgency #2
Turn, Turtle! Reenacting the Institute Performing Urgency 

Performing Urgency #3
Joined Forces: Audience Participation in the Theatre 

Performing Urgency #4
Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial Strategy


a comission by: House on Fire
published by: Alexander Verlag Berlin
copublished by: Live Arts Development Agency
designed by: R2

House on Fire is supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union

ebooks: 9,99 € •