The Risks of Wearing Mr Punch & Other Costumed Performances

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When identifying risk and ethical issues in live performance the focus is predominantly framed around the audience, and even more so with the popularity of immersive theatre. However, with the unpredictability of audience behaviour in immersive work, the safety of performers is starting to rise to the surface. For example, concerns of performer safety in the immersive work of Punch Drunk were raised in 2018, including allegations of sexual assault against performers by audience members who were veiled behind the anonymity of white masks (Jamieson 2018; Soloski 2018).

This visual essay refocuses the discussion of risk onto the performer, as well as on the often ignored theatrical element of costume (Monks 2013) and its potential impact on performer behaviour and embodiment, as well as the impact it can have on the audience. The live performance case study Six O’clock Swill (2009), a piece based on Mr Punch, is used to interrogate perspectives on these performative risks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerforming Ethos: International Journal of Ethics in Theatre & Performance
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Performing Ethos: International Journal of Ethics in Theatre & Performance is a peer-reviewed journal that considers ethical questions relating to contemporary theatre and live performance. Global in scope, it provides a unique forum for rigorous scholarship and serious reflection on the ethical dimensions of a wide range of performance practices from the politically and aesthetically radical to the mainstream.

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