ETRN Research Lecture with Professor Annelis Kuhlman (4/4/2018)

Professor Annelis Kuhlmann, Aarhus University (Denmark)

Images of theatre directors and directing: a Danish dramaturgical position

Wednesday 4th April 2018, 5pm,

University of Kent, Canterbury, Grimond Lecture Theatre 3

Images and Imageries in relation to theatre directors are often understood as if mainly concerning the aesthetic result of the production itself. In this presentation, I deal with ‘professional images’ of theatre directors and directorial thinking in Denmark. I am interested in how directors’ artistic identities can be traced forward and away from the apparently dominant ‘almighty father figure’. Instead, in what ways does the director share her thoughts with the participants of the production? I would like to think that aesthetic devices might connect back to a creative mind of the director. These thoughts are intuitively and intellectually organised in often chaotic ways, yet communicate not only with the sensitive and gestural perception of the actors as a means to provoke response, but also with the space (and the spectators within it). The director’s thoughts are in a sense chaotically creative and opaque; yet they do follow certain laws, which, onstage, may make them appear almost subjective, interfering with other uncontrollably collaborative and immersive forces. What kind of image of a profession does all this reveal? Is paradoxical thinking a plausible answer to this question? Is the invisible image a ‘culturally embedded theatre ghost’? And how do we evoke the ghost, so that it becomes a visible and exchangeable artistic knowledge?

The historiographical perspective behind this presentation stems from both a concrete Danish context, but also from a broader, mainly European framework.