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.



Ritual denotes an action or series of actions that are done in order to have an effect – to alter the weather, or to move a person from one phase of life to another in a transitional rite of passage.

Pocha shoe

Performance Art / Live Art & Performance

Performance art/live art is a live artistic practice that evolved as artists sought to extend art beyond the conventional media and practices of painting and sculpture.

Fava mask moustache

Commedia dell’Arte

Commedia dell’arte is a performance form that originated in Italy during the sixteenth century. The performers work with stock or fixed character types.


Balduzzi, Massimiliano

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



Para literally means ‘beyond’. In practice, paratheatre therefore lies outside and beyond the spatial, temporal and structural forms of the theatre, denoting instead related practices.

Grotowski bw

Grotowski, Jerzy

Jerzy Grotowski was one of the major theatre directors of the twentieth century. He extended what theatrical activity comprises through focus on acting, space, and the actor–audience relationship.

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.

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.

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’.

Deer Dream

Popular Theatre & Performance

Popular theatre embraces practices which range across melodrama, street theatre, circus, vaudeville, clowning, mime and musicals. Historically, it also encompasses popular commercial theatre.

Hero_Kelly Hunter

Hunter, Kelly

Kelly Hunter, actor, created Touchstone Shakespeare Theatre, offering Shakespeare to young people with limited access to the Arts.

Stanislavsky writing

Stanislavsky, Konstantin

With his insights into acting and directing, Konstantin Stanislavsky forged a definitive position in the development of twentieth-century theatre, laying the groundwork for many innovators.


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.


Hall, Peter

Hall’s work is characterised by attention to detail, meticulous verse speaking, and a strong design aesthetic. He has written and spoken at length about mask work, classical theatre and verse.


Psychophysical Acting

As part of his research into the nature and processes of acting, Stanislavsky was the first to use the term “psychophysical” to acting focussed equally on the actor’s psychology and physicality.


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.