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.

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.

Zarrilli puppet

Theatre-Making & Processes

The creation of a performance or a piece of theatre involves a process informed by method, aesthetic choice and economic context.

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.

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.


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.


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.



Dance is central to any study of performance and, in non-Western cultures, dance’s many manifestations are often inseparable from the theatre.

Challenging ideas of coherent identity, universal value and truth as not only impossible but also duplicitous, postmodernism explores how meaning is always multiple and contingent on contexts.

Postmodernism & Performance

Challenging ideas of coherent identity, universal value and truth as not only impossible but also duplicitous, postmodernism explores how meaning is always multiple and contingent on contexts.

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.

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.

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.

Odin group

Barba, Eugenio and Odin Teatret

Odin Teatret began in Oslo in 1964 and moved to Holstebro, Denmark, in 1966, changing its name to Nordic Theatre Laboratory/Odin Teatret. Its members come from twelve countries and three continents.



Kathakali dance-drama is a distinctive genre of South Asian performance which developed during the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries in the Malayalam speaking coastal region of south-west India.