Jane Collins, Professor of Theatre and Performance.
I am a writer, director and theatre-maker who has worked all over the UK and internationally including The Royal Court in London, The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, The Theatre Royal in York and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. My research locates theatre and performance within the wider discourse of arts practice. It uses scenography as a frame of reference and an analytical focus to consider the interrelatedness of all the elements that make up a performance event and to (re) assess the role of ‘live’ performance in a social arena increasingly dominated by electronic and digital media. In my practice and my critical writing I am engaged in making and reflecting on performances that expand conventional notions of theatrical space and explore the potential of new psycho/spatial relations between actors and audience. This has resulted in the production of new works as well unconventional readings of canonical texts.
I have a long association with the continent of Africa and for The Royal Court in partnership with the National Theatre of Uganda, I co-directed Maama Nalukalala Ne’zadde Lye (Mother Courage and her Children) by Bertolt Brecht, with a Ugandan cast in Kampala. The production toured to America and South Africa. Maama Nalukalala Ne’zadde Lye took five years to develop and was the first official translation of a play by Brecht into an African language. I researched, wrote and directed The Story of the African Choir, a new play that examined the reception of a performance by a group of black singers from South Africa by nineteenth century English audiences. This work was developed in conjunction with the Market Theatre Laboratory in Johannesburg and performed at the Grahamstown International Festival in 2007.
My recent work in India has resulted in a successful bid to develop a Thematic Partnership with the University of Hyderabad through the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI). “Scenography in a digital age: a comparative study of the impact of new media on contemporary Indian and British performance practice” aims to enhance understanding of the impact of new media on contemporary performance culture in India and the UK.
Recent published writings include, co-editor of Theatre and Performance Design: a Reader in Scenography (Routledge March 2010) this volume with over 52 texts, is the first of its kind in the field and a chapter in Performing Site-Specific Theatre: Politics, Place, Practice (Palgrave Macmillan 2012) that examines the production and reception of an award winning adaptation of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi that I co-devised and directed for the Brighton International Festival in 2007. I am currently editing a collection of essays by the German composer and director Heiner Goebbels.
I am founder member of (A) Performance Group an interdisciplinary network of artists who run workshops and stage performance related events across CCW.