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Radical Care: Performative Generosity and Generativity in Third Theatre

Turner, Jane and Campbell, PGW (2018) Radical Care: Performative Generosity and Generativity in Third Theatre. Performance Research, 23 (6). pp. 58-64. ISSN 1352-8165

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Abstract

Revisiting Marx and drawing on Derrida’s notion of ‘unconditional hospitality’, this article interrogates how two significant theatre groups have generated concrete forms of performative generosity that are characterized by living labour, hospitality and radical care. Drawing on Marxian scholars Del Noce, Henry and Giles, we apply a rigorous critical framework whilst importantly locating this generativity in the praxis developed within and across the Third Theatre community. We identify and analyse how this performative generosity acts as a shared ethos. The Third Theatre consists of a significant global network of practitioners who, since the 1970s, have made theatre the locus of a particular ethical stance predicated on the art form’s political valence as a participatory process, means of production and aesthetic product. We argue that these group theatres are sites of emancipatory political actions, manifest in the body of the group, which acts as a new, original of way of thinking and being. We argue that Third Theatre groups Yuyachkani (Peru) and Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium (Denmark) have, for the past fifty years, remained sites of resistance to the hegemony of neo-liberalism and thus exemplify performative generosity. Given an upsurge in nationalistic, xenophobic discourse and the increasing precarity that constitutes daily reality for many across the globe today, we argue how Third Theatre groups effectively constitute sites of generosity; they operate as loci for continuous radical social and political change and demonstrate how contemporary theatre and performance incubates and engenders micro-political strategies informed by generosity, and related principles such as hospitality and care. As such, they have a wider social and cultural reach.

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