Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Lab fee:


Typically offered:


Using Carl Lavery’s question for the performing arts as a starting point, this course investigates live performance’s historical and contemporary engagement with ecological concerns. Our course will begin by establishing a common language for discussing theatre. We will then explore a range of international performance, while learning about the contexts (environmental, cultural, and institutional) that influence their development, production and reception. We will focus our attention on the interaction between narrative, embodied, and material elements within these performances while reading sections from texts in literary ecocriticism, performance studies, theatre history, environmental history, and anthropology. If in-person, there will be one fieldtrip mid-semester. Key questions will include: how might the body of a performer complicate the distinction between “environment” and “society”? What are the means by which we can categorize a play or a production as “ecological”? What are the specific affective narratives embedded within environmentalist discourse and how might performance interrupt or complicate those? What might have performance already done for the environment? Course goals are to refine our skill set for analyzing the relationship between scientific facts and narrative, a better sense of the impact that live performance can have on the various communities where it takes place, and a sharper framework for engaging an audience with questions regarding the “natural” world. Major works will likely include: Manuela Infante’s Estado Vegetal; the Rude Mechanicals’ Not Every Mountain; Rolling Ryot’s Rainforest Reverb; Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play; Chantal Bilodeau’s Sila; Grupo Sotzil’s Uk’u’x Ulew; William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale; Adam R. Burnett’s Mammoth: A De-extinction Love Story; Animal Facts Club’s Gulf of Maine; Art At Work MAINEUSA’s Blessing of the Creatures; Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan’s Lesbian National Parks and Services. Students will be evaluated through eight weekly responses, a mid-term performance-and-production analysis exercise, and a final project of their choosing.


Some interest and/or previous coursework in art history, dramatic literature, literature, performance analysis is recommended but not required.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.