Writing Theatre Post Dramatic Approaches

Convener(s):  Joanne Hartley

Participants: Lucy Avery, Maja Milatovic-Ovadia, Bridget Floyer, Finlay Robertson, Lucy Westell, Cordelia Lynn, Clive Moore, Jonathan

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Attendees were as interested in defining ‘post dramatic’. No fixed or clear definition was forthcoming. The convener was interested in anything that deviated from the ‘well made play’ model. Maja referred to Dadaism as the turning point from dramatic to post dramatic.

We spoke about collaborative processes and the role/position of the writer in devising. We acknowledged the writer’s sense of authorial ownership and a desire to have some control over the way the work develops after it has gone into rehearsal. We considered the writer letting go of a single vision and instead facilitating a collective one. We acknowledged that in some devised processes the writer takes the role of scribe.


We discussed verbatim theatre, pastiche/montage in performance, writers who offer texts that are ‘open’ (such as a very long monologue) to directors to interpret and stage as they wish. We also talked about appropriating and re-appropriating texts and mash ups. There seemed to be a general consensus that we receive huge amounts of fragmented information in the wider world and that it was natural that this would translate into theatre writing.


Jonathan shared a definition of ‘post dramatic’ that suggested a more scenographic and less word driven theatre, with an emphasis on aesthetic and intention. The convener likened this to Live Art. We went on to ask why parallels were drawn between Fine Art & Theatre when they are actually very different animals.