Dramaturgies from the Margins: thoughts on place, embodied knowledge, and learning disability, Margaret Ames

22-05-2017 at 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Location: ATRiuM, Zen Room (CA B403)

Audience: Public

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This paper will consider questions that arise from the context of devising dance-theatre pieces with colleagues with learning disabilities. These thoughts are drawn from my practice-based research and concern a number of interwoven threads. As such they form a chiasma of practice and thinking whereby the theatre thinks about specific issues through the actions and bodies of its performers. In this writing I am searching to understand possible links between aspects of the process I am engaged in with colleagues with learning disabilities, particularly: cultural and personal specificity, body, memory, choreography and dramaturgy. The thinking I present here emerges from the material and working relationship with individual company members who are responsible for bringing the theme and the choreography to make that performance. Gestural practices from social and cultural contexts, articulated through the neuro-diversities of different bodies, both marked and unmarked, impaired and unimpaired, are migrated into dramaturgical and aesthetic contexts. I argue that such choreographic and dramaturgical material might produce new understandings of knowledge and its communication and reveal alternative aesthetic values, that are drawn from marginal experiences both in terms of learning disability and cultural contexts.

Margaret Ames is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Aberystwyth University. Margaret’s area of research is Performance and Disability with a particular interest in work made by and with people with learning disabilities. Aberystwyth based dance-theatre company Cyrff Ystwyth form the focus of this enquiry and they produce new work every year at Aberystwyth University.