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.



The behaviour of animals on stage is unpredictable and difficult to control. Yet animals have often been used by groups and artists, exploiting these very qualities of surprise and unpredictability.

Gardzienice okay signs

Staniewski, Wlodzimierz, and Gardzienice

The Centre for Theatre Practices ‘Gardzienice’ was founded in 1977 in south-east Poland, taking its name from the tiny village where the company was, and still is, based.


Brecht, Bertolt

Brecht was a major reformer of several aspects of 20th century theatre. He created an acting process, theories of dramaturgy and performance, a performance style, and wrote many plays and poems.

Goats dancing

Goat Island

Goat Island was a Chicago-based collaborative performance group that began in 1987. They made nine intimate, low-tech and intensely physical performance works that toured internationally.


Divas Dance Theatre; Aggiss, Liz and Cowie, Billy

Divas Dance Theatre are a British performance collaborative comprised of Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie. Their work incorporates elements of theatre, film, opera, poetry and vaudevillian humour.


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.


Kwei-Armah, Kwame

Kwame Kwei-Armah was born in London in 1967 as Ian Roberts. Aged 19 he changed his name after tracing his family history back to Ghana via the slave trade.

Michael Chekhov (1891–1955) developed a creative and imaginative approach to acting that continues to inspire actors around the world.

Chekhov, Michael

Michael Chekhov (1891–1955) developed a creative and imaginative approach to acting that continues to inspire actors around the world.


Movement & Body Work

We identify performance as the movement of bodies in space through time – whether this passage is slow, aims at stillness, or is based on familiar repertoires of daily gestures or means of locomotion.



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.

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 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.

Zarrilli Beckett

Text Analysis

The detail contained in the black-and-white print requires a certain forensic analysis to transform the page into flesh-and-blood character.