Performance in the Twenty-First Century: Theatres of Engagement addresses the reshaping of theatre and performance after postmodernism. Andy Lavender argues provocatively that after the ‘classic’ postmodern tropes of detachment, irony, and contingency, performance in the twenty-first century engages more overtly with meaning, politics and society. It involves a newly pronounced form of personal experience, often implicating the body and/or one’s sense of self.

This volume examines a range of performance events, including work by both emergent and internationally significant companies and artists such as Rimini Protokoll, Blast Theory, dreamthinkspeak, Zecora Ura, Punchdrunk, Ontroerend Goed, Kris Verdonck, Dries Verhoeven, Rabih Mroué, Derren Brown and David Blaine. It also considers a wider range of cultural phenomena such as online social networking, sports events, installations, games-based work and theme parks, where principles of performance are in play.

Performance in the Twenty-First Century is a  compelling and provocative resource for anybody interested in discovering how performance theory can be applied to cutting-edge culture, and indeed the world around them.

part 1|32 pages

Scenes of engagement

chapter |4 pages


chapter 1|26 pages

Theatres of engagement

Performance after postmodernism

part 2|69 pages

On mediating performance

chapter 2|24 pages

The visible voice (or, the word made flesh)

Political presence and performative utterance in the public sphere

chapter 3|18 pages

In the mix

Intermedial theatre and hybridity

chapter 4|25 pages

Feeling the event

From mise en scène to mise en sensibilité

part 3|30 pages

On (not) being an actor

chapter 5|15 pages

Sincerely yours

From the actor to the persona

chapter 6|13 pages

Me singing and dancing

YouTube's performing bodies

part 4|59 pages

On (not) being a spectator

chapter 7|23 pages

Viewing and acting (and points in between)

The trouble with spectating after Rancière

chapter 8|34 pages

Audiences and affects

Theatres of engagement in the experience economy

part 5|21 pages

Theatre beyond theatre

chapter 9|19 pages

Performance engagements across culture