Dramaturgies of change in Greek theatre: institutions, practices and publics

Event Date: 11 January 2018

Room G34
Senate House
University of London
Malet St
London WC1E 7HU

The European Theatre Research Network University of Kent presents:

Dramaturgies of change in Greek theatre: institutions, practices and publics

Panel curated by Marissia Fragkou and Philip Hager

Drawing on the recently published special issue on Greek theatre ‘Dramaturgies of Change: Greek Theatre Now’ (ed. Philip Hager and Marissia Fragkou) in The Journal of Greek Media and Culture (Autumn 2018), this panel seeks to examine contemporary shifting landscapes in Greek theatre and performance practices, specifically focusing on the changing institutional and other frameworks in which theatre and performance are produced vis-à-vis the radical in-crisis restructuring of the social, economic and political fabric in contemporary Greece.

Welcome and Introduction by Philip Hager and Marissia Fragkou:

Dr. Gigi Argyropoulou (Athens) – Cultural Imaginaries in transitional times: Emergent Publics, Politics, Hegemonies

This talk will theorise emergent performance practices as evolving modes of instituent improvisation in response to an ever-changing socio-political landscape. Drawing on the cultural and political landscape of Athens prior and during the years of the economic crisis I will discuss diverse practices that ephemerally destabilised distributions of power by producing new modes of organisation and spatial reconfigurations. Questioning how performance practices might challenge the dominant production of space in this talk I will develop the term ‘destituent spaces’ in order to consider methods that bear the potential to criticality devise forms of ‘instituting otherwise’ – spatializing alternatives to dominant imaginaries and modus operandi. This talk problematises the relation between performance and institutions, resistance and incorporation, infrastructure and ephemerality in order to theorise potential positions cultural workers might seek to institute in the coming years.

Dr. Gigi Argyropoulou is a theorist, curator, artist and lecturer working in the fields of performance and cultural practice based in Athens and London. Gigi has initiated and organised festivals, interventions, conferences, performances, spaces, actions and cultural collaborations both inside and outside institutions. She is a founding member of Green Park, Mavili Collective, Institute for Live Arts Research, and F2 Performance Unit/Mkultra. As a member of Mavili and other collectives Gigi co-initiated/co-organised theatre and cultural occupations, interventions, public programmes and cultural critique actions during the crisis. During the last fifteen years her artistic work has been presented in theatres, festivals and found spaces in Greece, the UK and Europe. She holds a PhD from Roehampton University and publishes regularly in journals, books and magazines. Gigi received the Routledge Prize for PSi18 and Dwight Conquergood Award in 2017. She is the editor (with Hypatia Vourloumis) of the special issue of Performance Research Journal “On Institutions”. Gigi co-initiated the DIY Performance Biennial (Athens, 2016) and co-curated its first edition. https://gigiargyropoulou.wordpress.com/diary/


Dr Philip Hager (Kent) – The memory of institution: Thoughts on the afterlife of Polytechnea

This paper engages with institutional practices that frame the cultural production of memory in contemporary Greece. My point of departure is the ‘ethic of hospitality’ that, I suggest, is the determinant logic of the restructuring of the Greek cultural field; a restructuring that on the one hand is evidenced by the establishment of spaces of culture such as the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre and their rapidly acquired hegemonic position in the field, and on the other hand is linked to the ongoing (debt-induced) restructuring of the Greek economy since 2010. What kinds of cultural memory, I ask, are hosted in/by this new economy? By focusing on the OCC’s ‘permanent festival’ remit, I seek to discuss how the ethic of hospitality links the local cultural economies to the international festival circuit and its marketplace (consisting of similar institutions around the globe, such as London’s Barbican Centre) and how this might be re-shaping repertoires of memory within this transnational milieu.

Philip Hager is Lecturer in Drama at the University of Kent. He has published on the cultural politics of modern Greek theatre, radical performances and performances of Europeanness. He has co-edited Performances of Capitalism Crises and Resistance: Inside/Outside Europe (Palgrave, 2015) and the special issue ‘Dramaturgies of Change: Greek Theatre Now’ (Journal of Greek Media and Culture, 2017). He is also co-convener of the ‘Inside/Outside Europe’ research network and the Performance, Identity and Community Working Group at TaPRA.


Comments and questions (Chair: Dr Marissia Fragkou):

Marissia Fragkou is Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University. Her essays have appeared in Contemporary Theatre Review, Performing Ethos and edited volumes on contemporary British and European theatre. Her monograph Ecologies of Precarity in Twenty-First Century Theatre: Politics, Affect, Responsibility will be published by Methuen’s Drama Engage Series. She has co-edited the special issue ‘Dramaturgies of Change: Greek Theatre Now’ (Journal of Greek Media and Culture, 2017). She co-convenes TaPRA’s Performance, Identity and Community Working Group.

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