Performance Dramaturgy

Support – Fresh Perspective – Critical Insight – Objectivity, or at least Distanced Subjectivity
An In-House Critic and an Outside Eye 

The role of a performance dramaturg is one which varies wildly between theatre cultures and institutions. Working from my interpretation of an Anglo-German basis for what I do, I see my role as a combination of the statements/ideas above. Whilst pre-rehearsal room support is also part of what I see dramaturgy as being - doing research and assisting in the creating of an aesthetic for a production - it is this in rehearsal work that is key to the role's continuing use in contemporary theatre.

The first English approximation of what a performance dramaturg would do is "to consult with the scene painter, producers, etc. on questions of archaeology  costume, and local colour" - this being written by auteur director Harley Granville Barker it is noticeable that their role in a rehearsal room is absent. This has been a recurring theme in the history of English dramaturgy/literary management, however in Germany the presence of a dramaturg within a rehearsal room if more prevalent...

More on German dramaturgy to come!