Performing Écriture Féminine: strategies for a feminist politics of the postdramatic

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This thesis explores the relationship between postdramatic theatre and écriture feminine using a practice-as-research methodology. Its claim is that Hélène Cixous‘s écriture féminine is revitalised as a source for feminist theatre studies through the emergence of postdramatic theatre. The project‘s practice-led research identified and extracted principles from Cixous‘s prose writing that are especially compelling for theatre and explored these through laboratory practice. The primary sources for doing this were Cixous‘s novels Inside (1969) and The Book of Promethea (1983), as well as her writing on Clarice Lispector. The exploration of these materials was a creative and transformative activity that identified equivalent strategies between the two media – prose writing and theatre –while at the same time revealing significant differences and tensions. The practice is documented in the thesis via research logs and video evidence.
The written reflection draws attention to the specific potentialities that theatre brings to écriture féminine and discusses how the outcomes of the practice-led research resonate with postdramatic aesthetics. While the research findings accumulated strategically across the series of three performances, and the performances built upon each other iteratively, each of the findings chapters focuses in detail on one aspect of the practice: specifically, semiotics, dramaturgy and feminine epistemology. By pinpointing and discussing nodal points at which postdramatic practices and écriture féminine intersect, this thesis aims to show that postdramatic theatre has the potential to be – and thus frequently is – feminine. Indeed, the overall aim of this thesis is to advance the emerging field of study of feminism in postdramatic theatre by exploring the feminine potential of postdramatic theatre and proposing that Cixous‘s écriture féminine offers a way of framing the poetics of postdramatic theatre in relation to feminist politics. The findings have potential utility for theatre-makers seeking a feminist method in the postdramatic as well as scholars of postdramatic theatre and feminism.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Glasgow
  • Heddon, Deirdre, Supervisor, External person
  • Scullion, Adrienne, Supervisor, External person
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • postdramatic theatre
  • feminism
  • Hélène Cixous
  • écriture féminine
  • practice-as-research


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