Feminism in Postdramatic Theatre: An Oblique Approach

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This article seeks to recover a strand of postdramatic theatre that is engaged with feminist concerns. The motivation for this is three-fold: firstly, to redress the relative lack of attention paid to postdramatic forms and female practitioners whose work might be broadly identified as postdramatic in feminist theatre scholarship to date. Secondly, to develop a mode of feminist analysis and theory suited to postdramatic aesthetics which are typically only obliquely concerned with political matters. In order to do so this article, thirdly, suggests a return to feminist poststructuralist theorists of difference, specifically Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva. The continued usefulness of ideas from both theorists is developed in relation to two case studies: Pina Bausch’s Café Müller (1978) and The Wooster Group’s The Town Hall Affair (2016). Through close analysis of both pieces in relation to negativity (Kristeva) and the poetic (Cixous), the article asks for a re-evaluation of the use of their ideas to facilitate a broader historical understanding of feminist theatre. The article concludes that feminism in postdramatic theatre might be considered doubly oblique: formally, in its indirect approach to feminism and historically, in its tendency to lie at an angle to more readily recognised feminist waves.
Original languageEnglish
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • feminism
  • postdramatic theatre
  • Julia Kristeva
  • Hélène Cixous
  • Pina Bausch
  • The Wooster Group
  • écriture féminine
  • political theatre


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