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First person theatre: how performative tactics and frameworks (re)emerging in the digital age are forming a new personal-as-political

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posted on 13.05.2014, 11:16 by Hannah Nicklin
This study sets out to explore first person theatre as a means of opening the individual to the problems of contemporary capitalism and its increasing pervasion of the personal in an era of embeddedness enabled by networked pervasive technology. Firstly setting out key definitions and a theoretical analysis of the problems of being in the digital age in chapter 1, and then setting this against the history of interaction in performance in chapter 2. The study then goes on (in chapters 3-5) to investigate three key aspects of first person performance as personal-as-political; sound and the city, play and games, and interactive theatre. In the final chapter, The Umbrella Project develops a piece of first person theatre as practice, a method of investigation that is vital to a thesis that discusses politics, late capitalism, and the means to resist the message-sending of private interests as fundamentally only to be understood in practice. For this reason, too, chapters 3, 4 and 5 are supported by key case studies discussing other first person theatre practice. By placing the participant at the centre of the world-constituting process of theatre in the hot space between what is and what if this study suggests that first person theatre is able to open the contemporary individual to an inbetween where they might re-see, reflect and react to what is. To imagine and, if wished, act upon a what if. In an age of the disrupted near and far, the vanishing of the interface, of the false rhetoric of choice of personalisation , and the often false rhetoric of agency at the end of the era of broadcast, first person theatre offers the subject a route to individual agency, an understanding of the urban environment as construct, and to their relationship with the subjective other something which this thesis suggests is a personal-as-political practice to rival the Spectacle of late capitalism.


Loughborough University



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama


© Hannah Nicklin

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University. To request the accompanying DVD image file of appendices which is the same as the pdf but includes the soundwalk audio files, please email

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