Table Mountain, Cape Town.


A never-ending, unrelenting staircase.
I disappear.
Crawling along the side of Table Mountain.
Imposing stacked, dark grey walls
as if they were made by sky giants 
playing jenga.

After 2 hours
the steps become a path.
You’re walking in the clouds.
It is as they say:
the horizon vanishes
where the sea meets the sky.


Table Mountain, Cape Town.

A Proposed Non-Manifesto


11 June 2018

Last day of ‘class’. We were asked to write a feminist manifesto but there is something about a manifesto that just doesn’t sit well with many of us. I remember asking the young people I work with, in February 2017, about what they thought about the Manifesto for the Arts (2013) and whether this still resonated with them. Although there were many broad points of agreement, several youths felt that the Manifesto could be framed in a way that sounded less absolute. One said:

Young artists need spaces to create, experiment, fail, succeed. I’d make the manifesto not so clichéd. Art isn’t a bed of roses and it isn’t going to solve world issues. But it can connect, let people have an experience like no other…Art in Singapore is already very rigid…Instead of framing [The Manifesto] into rules…unframing it…would make it more open and free. (VN 2017)

I agree. So this is a non-manifesto for practice research that Cathy Sloan and I put together:

We commit to:

Challenging what counts

as ‘We the People’ and Who.

Agonistic cohabitation.

Recognising the messiness of bodies

Sticky with Affect

(not just logical rhetoric).

Polyphonic conversations…

(so this is not a manifesto but the beginning of conversations).

[Borrowing from Judith Butler]

For ‘it is true that there are no demands that you can submit to arbitration here…If hope is an impossible demand then we demand the impossible’ (Butler 2011).


I will miss the Monday Research sessions at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central). To all the PhD candidates who’ve generously taken the time to listen to my research anxieties, share their research insights with me and throw thorny and challenging counterarguments my way: thank you for these conversations and for being a crucial part of my learning at Central. You have taught me so much about what it means to create a supportive learning environment, one where I’m constantly challenged to be the best version of myself and exceed the limits of self-doubt to do what I thought was impossible.



14 April 2018. Conversations at the Intersection of Time.

What is it about an idea that withstands the noise of time? Julian Barnes posits that it is ‘only that music which is inside ourselves – the music of our being – which…over the decades, if it is strong and … Continue reading

08.03.18 #TheRebelDaughters


08 March 2018

Disavow paternalistic expectations
Writing ourselves through place
Rewriting narratives of place as women
Unraveling constructs of self
Until we understand these differences
as ways of living together.

8 paper cranes
Torn away from the gender expectations of glossy magazines.

8 wishes for hope and healing
Left on the tube, at tube stations and around Parsons Green*, London.

*Note: Parsons Green tube station was the site of a terrorist attack and a stabbing last year.


12 Jan 2018 In The Company of Clouds

31 Dec 2017 in the company of clouds

Dragonbreath sunsets

Craggy rocks submerged in the shipwrecked water

‘The people we were aren’t always the people we become’ (VanDerWerff 2017)

That may be disappointing,

but it also means we’re not bound by our past.

Living on with that knowledge is both powerful

and humbling.


The hermit crab rolls another grey ball of sand out from its hole

onto the shore. And I know that when I return, next year,

it will still be there,

rolling, still.

That which was built yesterday will be washed away

with forgetting.

Another journey is about to begin.


I must learn to begin, again.

I don’t know where it will lead, but

not knowing is a part of attending to



                                 A small bird skips across the muddy sand as

jazz lullabies play from the radio of a car.

What Place Remains?

Thoughts, questions, reflections

after TaPRA PG Symposium 2017 at University of Leeds

‘Silence stalks me’, she says.

How much alignment does a politician need between campaign promises

and what is actually delivered to leave a heroic legacy?

The performance of authenticity is not reliability.

Charisma is not indicative of wisdom

or the selfless ability to serve.

What qualifies as an excess of performance in politics?

What performances do we expect of politicians?

Let us unfetter language as we tune down the affect of sound

Silence apportions space.

Someone once said, ‘Silence is possible in an anechoic chamber,

but not with John Cage in it’.

The noise of our bodies, together, in space.

‘Does silence break word or do these words break silence?

You can choose silence but it never chooses you’

Can we dialogue through silence when words,

once articulated,

destroy all other potential words held in silence?

What is the ghost that lingers

in iconic theatres?

Can the national ever be separated from the historical?

Is the unfinished business Shakespeare’s,

Polykleitos the Younger who built the ancient theatre of Epidaurus,

or the people’s?

A longing for some place they lost…

‘One day, in the future, the chicken will become the most studied fossil’

for anthropologists.

How can we create art politically when

politics threatens to turn art into propaganda?

What invocations do we make with the pilgrimage to monumental places?

How does the anywhereness of convergent media

exacerbate our addiction to extract only that which is relevant to our lives?

To reduce what we experience to make meaning of it?

Can we stop wanting to win?

How does responsive design attend to meritocracy’s losers?

Must we be cruel to be invulnerable?

In other words,

can we play without being vulnerable?

‘The blog became a rear-view mirror’,

she reads for the author who is absent,

‘a space where the road behind me constantly foregrounded the road ahead

and the past was always present in the future’ (Pinchbeck 2016).

Can it be a meeting place where only one writes?

Is there place for conversations in a blog?

The journey we make is part of the ghosting

of place and places to be.

If you wait for something to be there for you,

it won’t be.

You have to make it up.

Call for Papers and Presentations for TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium 2017: ‘Spaces For / Places In’

Call for Papers and Presentations for
TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium 2017
‘Spaces For / Places In’
3rd February 2017
Edward Boyle Library, Level 13
University of Leeds

Postgraduates and early career researchers are invited to contribute to the 2016 Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Postgraduate Symposium titled ‘Spaces For / Places In’. The symposium will take place at the University of Leeds on Friday, 3rd February 2017 and seeks to investigate the inclusions/exclusions of spaces made and places imagined and negotiated in theatre and performance practice and research.

‘The process of reclaiming space for art must begin with the sea that is within the artist and the art lover’ (Sasitharan 1996: 55). Speaking at the 1995 Substation Conference themed ‘Space, Spaces and Spacing’, established theatre practitioner T. Sasitharan cautioned against ways of thinking about the arts that are constrained by rhetoric that gives priority to economic considerations. As artists, theatre practitioners and theatre/performance researchers cope with post-Brexit uncertainties, how might these anxieties also limit that imagination of what is possible? Is there space for failure in research? Will spaces for experimentation diminish and what role might we play in defending, reclaiming and creating new or alternative spaces? How might virtual spaces (for documentation, simulation and communication) shape future places of theatre and performance practice and research? What is the place of practice in institutions and what role do we play in its dialogue with impact?

Jen Harvie’s Fair Play (2013) notes that the increase of pop-up theatre and art projects in ‘semi-derelict buildings…risks fetishizing the apparently authentic, creating a sense of neo-bohemian’ (Harvie 2013: 126). What spaces have we created, in physical, social and virtual terms? How does theatre architecture (pop-up or otherwise) limit/expand production possibilities and who might it include or exclude? Is there space for diversity? What is the nature of interactions between architecture, theatre/production design and the atmosphere of places designed for performance? What are the places that have inspired our practice and research and what is it that makes these places significant? Are these places claimed or allocated? Improvised or built for purpose?

Building on themes and conversations that emerged from the TaPRA Conference in Bristol in September 2016, we ask: what is our place in time? What are the spaces we have created for our research? As postgraduate and early career researchers – how do we make our practice and research matter?

We invite presentations that engage with the theme of ‘Spaces For / Places In’ in all forms of theatre practice, performance, performance studies, formal and informal performer training, stage craft and theatre/drama in education. Themes might include, but are not limited to:

● Alternative (theatre) spaces: Theatre and performance in and beyond the auditorium; virtual spaces; alternative locations; creating with communities; new architectures; facilitating flexible spaces; generating atmospheres.
● The place of voices, bodies, and identities: reclaiming narratives; reshaping and augmenting archives; rewriting histories, rereading literatures; finding origins.
● Space for audiences: children and infants in theatre; relaxed performances; accessible performances; participation, immersion, anonymity.
● Places for inclusion/exclusion: diversity in practice, research and institutions.
● Space(s) for creative processes: collaboration; devising; improvisation; writing; training; scenography; dramaturgy; research; technology; games; sound; light; voice.
● Representative spaces, imagined spaces, safe spaces: freedom of speech; political expression; dissent and regulation; spatial justice; national theatres; touring.
● Spaces of theatricality and the place of performativity in politics, urbanism, commerce, online.
● Spaces for urgency, errancy, transgression and liminality.
● Global, local and/or glocal in practice and research
● Place of nonhuman, posthuman and beyond human: places for new forms of thinking.
● Spaces for research and research methods: new forms of training; research and practice beyond institutions, alongside organisations, outside buildings and in front of establishments; practice as research; models for investigation; the unexplored.
● Applications, implications and limitations of opening spaces and places for/in/of/through/beyond…

Abstracts will also be considered towards publication in JAWS, The Journal of Arts Writing by Students. The award winning, international journal, published by Intellect Books (…/view-Journal,id=243/), will aim to publish two full papers as well as a selection of abstracts in a forthcoming performance focused issue. JAWS is the only arts journal entirely written, edited and peer reviewed by current students and first year graduates. Publishing across art and design at a postgraduate level, JAWS acts as writing-studio. A space for early-stage academics to explore and share ideas and flex their peer review muscles over emerging themes and trends in arts research.

Papers (15mins), provocations (10mins) and alternative presentations from postgraduates at all levels of study, and early career academics, are welcomed. The symposium is free for TaPRA members and £10 for non-members; this includes membership for the academic year 2016/17. All membership must be paid online via the TaPRA website prior to the symposium:

Abstracts should be 250 words in length. When submitting your abstract, please also include a short biography (no more than 50 words) and a brief note on technical requirements (if any) in the same document. Those wishing to engage with alternative approaches to presenting research, such as performance lectures, are asked to include an additional 100 words detailing your intended presentation methods. All correspondence should be directed to Adelina Ong and Yaron Shyldkrot at

The deadline for submitting your proposal is 5pm on 16th December 2016. We will be unable to accept submissions after this deadline. Notifications will be sent by early January 2017.

We also invite proposals for a Pecha Kucha session (20 slides lasting 20 seconds each) featuring Practice-as-Research image-based provocations or artistic practice. Presenters will not need to speak alongside these images. If you would like to take part in the Pecha Kucha session, please send a 50-word biography and short description of your research, practice or project to The final slideshow must be in .ppt or .pptx format and must be submitted by 30th January 2017.

If you would like to be considered for a limited number of travel bursaries, up to the value of £25, then please specify that this is the case in your submission email. Priority will be given to those travelling farthest.

Adelina Ong and Yaron Shyldkrot
TaPRA Postgraduate Representatives