2 April 2020 / Events

POSTPONED: Practices of Protest and the ‘Loose Theatre’ of Facing Fear

Practices of Protest and the ‘Loose Theatre’ of Facing Fear

Delivered by Dr Patrick Duggan

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Contemporary British politics is driven by discourses of fear that have intensified and polarised opinions on topics as diverse as the NHS, incarceration, high-speed rail infrastructure and who to vote for in the upcoming elections. This politicised deployment of fear has become enormously divisive and created a British cultural moment in which nuanced debate and critical engagement with urgent political questions has all but disappeared from popular culture, news media representation and Political practice. This fear-full discourse has become a hugely potent political tool for nudging people to act in – or vote in – particular ways.

It is from within that context that this paper emerges; here I am seeking to explore the ways in which a particular instance of protest performance and performative representations of protest might be seen to offer a models of encounter that can disrupt and make ridiculous paradigms and discourses of fear. That is, they might offer means by which we face fear.


Dr Patrick Duggan has held substantive academic posts at the Universities of Surrey, Exeter and Northampton. From March 2020 he will be Associate Professor of Performance and Culture, and Head of Drama, at Northumbria University in Newcastle; and he is visiting Professor of Cultural Theory and Performance at the University of Hildesheim in Germany (Aug 2019 – Aug 2020).

As well as numerous journal articles and book chapters, his publications include a special issue of the international journal Performance Research, entitled On Trauma (2011), a monograph investigating the relationship between contemporary performance and trauma – Trauma-Tragedy: Symptoms of Contemporary Performance (Manchester UP 2012), and an edited volume on the history and politics of small-scale British theatre – Reverberations Across Small-Scale British Theatre: Politics, Aesthetics and Forms (Intellect 2013). More recently he co-edited collection entitled Performing (for) Survival: Theatre, Crisis and Extremity (Palgrave 2016); the book examines performance practices that emerged in and during moments of conflict, crisis and extremity (rather than applied practices or on post fact representations). He is currently working on a full length monograph under the title Performance and the Politics of Fear (under contract with Palgrave for 2022/3). His latest works include a second co-edited special issue of the Performance Research entitled Staging the Wreckage (Vol. 24, Issue 5, 2019), and an ongoing collaborative research project exploring the interrelation of performance and resilience in city contexts (see for more information).


2 April 2020


19:30 - 21:30


St Anne's Church, Dean Street, London, UK