THEA 272
Theatre and Environment: Site, Ecology, Utopia Spring 2022
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed THEA 272 / ENVI 271

Class Details

What is theatre’s relation to the environment, whether natural or social? How does the site, place, or context of a performance change its meaning? What role does theatre play within grassroots campaigns for climate action, environmental justice, or Indigenous land rights? How can we use theatre to, in the words of adrienne maree brown, “practice, in every possible way, the world we want to see?” In this studio course, participants will collaborate in small groups to create and share short performances based on a series of prompts, such as: site, nature, immersion, ecology, biomimicry, and utopia. Acknowledging the deep inequities (racial, gendered, ethnic, class-based) that constitute all human and environmental interaction, we will work to understand how art’s relationship to the environment is itself shaped by the historical legacies of empire and global capitalism. As a contribution to the work of the studio, each student will share independent research on an artist, activist movement, or collective of their choice, such as: Hito Steyerl, Ellie Ga, Marta Rosler, Joan Jonas, Paul Chan, Theaster Gates, Bread and Puppet, Punch Drunk, En Garde Arts, Talking Birds, Rimini Protokoll, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, and others. Critics and theorists considered may include: Allan Kaprow, Augusto Boal, Miwon Kwon, Nick Kaye, Claire Doherty, Donna Haraway, Grant Kester, Nato Thompson, and adrienne maree brown. As a special project in the class, we will collaborate with The Zilkha Center to create a series of performances that engage with topics relevant to the campus community, including climate action and environmental justice. Note: this is a maker’s course that invites students to create, develop, perform, and share their work with each other and, in some cases, public audiences.
The Class: Format: studio; This is a maker-based studio course that requires deep collaboration on the creation, development, and performing of original works of theatre and live art.
Limit: 16
Expected: 10-12
Class#: 3887
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Creation and presentation of a series of four short performance pieces; leading a 10-minute class discussion; a 15-minute independent oral presentation on a chosen artist or collective; weekly journal writing; deep and active participation and collaboration.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: if overenrolled, preference will be given to Theatre majors and Environmental Studies majors
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
THEA 272 Division I ENVI 271 Division I
DPE Notes: This course interrogates the deep inequities, injustices (racial, gendered, ethnic, and class-based), and power relations that constitute all of humanity's relation with earth's environment, ecosystem, and ecology. Students will not only study artists and collectives engaged with the work of environmental justice, accountability, and action, they will also make such art themselves.
Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives

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