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.


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.



Devising is a method of making performance that is not dominated by text and includes the collaborative participation of the whole creative company in all stages and aspects of performance-making.


Shaplin, Adriano

Adriano Shaplin is a New Jersey-based playwright, actor, and artistic director of the Riot Group theatre company.

Odin flowers eyes

Form & Genre

Form and genre are terms that are often used interchangeably. Whilst form is more often about structure, and genre is more to do with typology, forms and genres of theatre and performance vary.

Lecoq and Fay

Lecoq, Jacques

Known principally as a teacher rather than as a performer or director, Jacques Lecoq has influenced many artists specialising in comic and physically exaggerated styles of performance.



The term 'biomechanics' indicates the suite of training exercises used by Vsevolod Meyerhold to train his actors in the new post-revolutionary theatre he pursued.


Balduzzi, Massimiliano

Massimiliano Balduzzi is an Italian performer, director, and teacher based in New York City.

Merlin trapdoor


The term ‘expressionism’ describes a radical style of visual art that aimed to express emotion non-naturalistically, in violent protest against the perceived bourgeois repression of naturalism.

Theatre Oppressed

Theatre of the Oppressed

The term ‘theatre of the oppressed’, coined by Augusto Boal after Paolo Freire’s writings on oppression, denotes a way of creating theatre within a particular ideological framework.

Theatre History

Theatre History

Theatre History aims to enlarge our understanding of theatre – the people, events and relationships involved in its development, the causes of change, the ideas underlying forms of performance.

Pocha gasmasks

Gómez-Peña, Guillermo

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and director of performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. His work has been presented internationally at over 800 venues.


Frayn, Michael J.

Born in London in 1933, Michael J. Frayn studied at Cambridge, and then began his working life as a journalist before starting to write plays and novels.


Hay, Deborah

Deborah Hay is a choreographer, author and dance visionary. She lives in the USA and works internationally.

Zarrilli puppet


What separates puppets in performance from art objects or curios hung on a domestic or art gallery wall is the puppeteer or performer’s ability to manipulate the object and thus bring it to ‘life’.

RB Practitioner 2 Hero

Butcher, Rosemary

Rosemary Butcher is one of the UK's leading contemporary choreographers.

GGP activism


Activism is the deliberate intervention of an individual or group with the aim of creating transformation in the social, political, cultural or economic realm.