Routledge Performance Archive

The Routledge Performance Archive is a developing resource produced in partnership with Digital Theatre, providing unique access to an unprecedented range of audio-visual material from past and present practitioners of performance. This ground-breaking and constantly growing online collection delivers essential resources direct to the classroom, lecture theatre and library. The video material spans more than fifty years of documented work direct from renowned practitioners and specialists, and ranges across the entire spectrum of theatre topics.


Browse the Archive through our list of practitioners, ranging from legendary figures to contemporary pioneers. Trace connections between individuals and entire movements, via specially commissioned biographies and peer-reviewed cross-referencing. All biographical information and video descriptions come direct from the practitioners themselves, unless otherwise stated.


Explore content thematically through our carefully structured taxonomy, and reflect on fascinating new relationships between concept and content. All entries have been taken from Paul Allain’s and Jen Harvie’s Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance (Routledge: London, 2006), and are edited by Maggie B. Gale, unless otherwise indicated.

Pearson workshop

Environmental Theatre

Environmental theatre aims explicitly to alter the conventional spatial practices of performance and to enhance the performance’s engagement with its space and site of production.


Masking & Body Adornment

Modes of masking or decorating the body have been used throughout history, from ancient rituals, to ancient Greek theatre, to circus’s red-nosed clown, or the stock characters of commedia dell’arte

Liz Aggiss 1

Dance Analysis

Dance studies range widely: from phenomenological approaches that emphasise the experience of movement; through focus on techniques; to the placing of works in a historical or political context.

Fava mask dog

Fava, Antonio

Actor, director, writer, flautist, mask-maker and teacher, Antonio Fava has worked with Dario Fo and Jacques Lecoq and founded Teatro del Vicolo with Dina Buccino.

Brith Gof training


Improvisation is the spontaneous invention of performance. But while it specifies a particular form, elements of improvisation are intrinsic to all performance and the quality of liveness it produces.

Molik shirt

Molik, Zygmunt

Zygmunt Molik (1930–2010) was for twenty-five years an actor of Jerzy Grotowski’s Teatr Laboratorium. He was a co-founder and leading actor in Grotowski’s company, appearing in all its productions.

Odin flowers eyes


Hamlet’s advice to the players begins with speech, rather than gesture, in his direction, ‘Speak the speech, I pray you, trippingly on the tongue.’

Knebel looking up

Knebel, Maria

Maria Osipovna Knebel (1898–1985), actor, director, teacher, and author, is arguably the most influential figure in twentieth-century Russian theatre, next to Stanislavsky.

Houben x3

Houben, Jos

Jos Houben works internationally as a director, teacher and actor. He has won several awards including the Perrier Award, the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Best New Comedy.

Mirecka dancing

Mirecka, Rena

Rena Mirecka graduated from the Theatre School in Krakow. A founding member of Jerzy Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre, she is a specialist in the physical exercises known as plastiques.

Bella Katya

Naturalism & Realism

In theatre, naturalism and realism refer specifically to artistic movements that represent real life on stage, using believable characters, narrative action and plot.


Holt, Thelma

Thelma Holt has been a key figure in introducing international theatre to Britain (including Yukio Ninagawa) and in encouraging risk-taking and artistic bravery among numerous companies.

Julia and Tage

Laboratory Theatre

Laboratory Theatre refers to a scientific location for experiment and, applied to theatre practice, is used to denote concentrated and consistent experiment at the root of the theatre-making process.