- Prof. Dr. renée c. hoogland (Wayne State University)
- Respondent: Prof. Dr. Anna Hickey-Moody (RMIT University)
- Moderator: Dr. Chris Meyns (Utrecht University)
- Prof. Dr. Mike Pearson (Aberystwyth University)
- Respondent: Dr. Liesbeth Groot Nibbelink (Utrecht University)
- Moderator: Prof. Dr. Maaike Bleeker (Utrecht University)
Archaeologist Rodney Harrison characterises the present as ‘a physical stratum that contains not only the present, but all its physical and imagined pasts combined’*.
This presentation reflects upon experiences of performance making in the streets and architectures of Cardiff; upon ways in which urban fabric, design and planning – its physical pasts’ – may inform and impact not only upon themes and subjects but also upon dramaturgical form and structure; and upon the potential of performance to recover people, incidents and sites now lost, forgotten or erased. In reference to an attempt to evoke incidents and choreographies of the ‘race’ riots of 1919 in an Irish district of the city now squatted by a department store for which there is no comprehensive account, and in the reimaging of a cityscape that underlies the streets we tread and the locales we pass through daily, it suggests ways in which material remains – from archival photographs to period maps to surviving landmarks – can be gathered, indicated and employed to summon ‘imagined pasts’. Throughout, the presentation offers both conceptual and practical approaches to creative practice and – drawing upon perceptions from cultural geography and contemporary archaeology – to its critical apprehension.
* Harrison, Rodney (2013) ‘Scratching the surface’, in Alfredo González-Ruibal (ed.) Reclaiming Archaeology, London: Routledge.
Mike Pearson is Emeritus Professor of Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University in Wales. He was a member of RAT Theatre (1972-73), Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (1973-80) and Brith Gof (1981-97). He currently creates theatre as a solo artist; with artist/designer Mike Brookes in Pearson/Brookes; with senior performers group Good News From The Future; and for National Theatre Wales, including The Persians (2010), Coriolan/us (2012), Iliad (2015) and currently The Storm Cycle (2018-2020). He is the co-author with Michael Shanks of Theatre/Archaeology (2001) and author of In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape (2006), Site-specific Performance (2010), Mickery Theater: An Imperfect Archaeology (2011) and Marking Time: Performance, Archaeology and the City (2013).