Tag Archives: Interweaving Performance Cultures

The Politicized Disabled Body – Performance Matters – Vol 4, No 3 (2018): Performance and Bodies-Politic

The Politicized Disabled Body

by Kaite O’Reilly


This is a short excerpt from a public talk that the author gave as part of a residency at University College Cork in Ireland in the fall of 2018. It appears in Vol 4 no 3 of Performance Matters [editor Roisin O’Gormon], a peer-reviewed, open access on-line journal published bi-annually by Simon Fraser University that focuses on all aspects of performance: what it does, and why it is meaningful. Click here for our latest issue.

Minimum Monument, by Néle Azevedo, in Silkeborg-DK, August 2017. Image © Néle Azevedo. Used by permission

The Politicized Disabled Body

Kaite O’Reilly

Theatre could be defined as the study of what it is to be human. For millennia we have come to sit communally—a group of human beings watching another group of human beings pretending to be other human beings. We are endlessly fascinated with each other, yet a place purported to be about the range of human possibility has for too long been circumscribed and limited, especially towards a large proportion of the population.

As I have discussed at length elsewhere (O’Reilly 2017a, 2017b), for millennia in the Western theatrical canon, the atypical body has been used to scare, warn, explain and explore human frailty, mortality, and the human condition. Disability has been a metaphor for the non-disabled to explore their fears and embedded societal values. Although disabled characters appear in thousands of plays, seldom has the playwright been disabled, or written from that embodied, or political perspective. The vast majority of disabled characters in Western theatrical tradition are tropes, reifying the notions of “normalcy.” Some strange untruths have therefore been created and recycled in our dramas for stage and screen: the rich, rewarding reality of our lives replaced with problematic representations which work to keep us different, “special,” and apart. This “othering” of difference (which also includes gender, sexual preference, belief system, cultural heritage, and so on) provides a “useful” slide-rule against which notions of “being normal” and “fitting in” can be measured. These distorted ideas in our entertainment media legitimize the negative attitudes that can lead to discrimination and hate crime.

As a multi-award-winning playwright and dramaturg who identifies culturally and politically as disabled, I have been exploring this territory for several decades, informed by the Social model of disability, working across and between so-called “mainstream” culture and what I coin “crip” culture. I consider disability a social construct—I am a woman with a mild sensory and a degenerative physical impairment, but it is society’s attitudinal and physical barriers which are the disabling factors, not the idiosyncrasies of my body.

In my work I am interested in creating new protagonists, with different narratives, and with different endings, and in challenging and expanding the actual theatre languages at play in live performance through my engagement with the aesthetics of access. I believe re-imagining disability opens up possibilities in content, representation, aesthetics and form—changing the stories we tell, how they are told, and by whom.

Paul Darke (1997, 2003) and other disability performance scholars such as Carrie Sandahl (2005) have written at length about the limited plot lines for the disabled character. Often, as seen again with the 2016 film version of JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You, it is emphatically “better dead than disabled.” In films and plays stereotypes rule—the blind wise “seer,” the evil and twisted mastermind, the hero who overcomes her impairments to “pass” as non-disabled. From Tiny Tim to Richard III to Oedipus, we have been the personification of uselessness, or evil incarnate. These stories and characters are so prevalent, Paul Darke claims the audience believes they understand and know disabled experience, even though it is through a filter that isolates, individualizes, medicalizes or finally normalizes the character. What the audience is experiencing are not the “truths” of our lives, but the long cultural and linguistic practice of ascribing meaning to the atypical body. We are metaphors—something the disabled and Deaf actor-characters in my metatheatrical play peeling(2002) deconstruct, subvert, and ultimately rebel against.

As a playwright, I try to present different protagonists and different stories, often challenging contemporary representations of disability. The survivors of TBI (traumatic brain injury) in my 2008 play The Almond and the Seahorsesubvert notions of brain injury splashed across the media and question who the real “victims” are—if indeed there are any. Protagonists, their journeys and outcomes can be subverted and changed, offering more possibilities and rich, engrossing drama that avoids stereotypes.

This reconsideration of narrative and “protagonist” is just one element in what I coined “Alternative dramaturgies informed by a D/deaf and disability perspective” while Arts and Humanities Research Council Creative fellow at Exeter University’s drama department (2003–06), and latterly while affiliated with Freie Universität’s International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures” (2012–18). “Alternative” to what? To the mainstream, ableist, hearing perspective. By “alternative dramaturgies” I mean the content, processes, structures and forms that reinvent, subvert, or critique “traditional” or “conventional” representations and routes.

A further example would be the “aesthetics of access”: using access “tools” creatively, and from the start of the process rather than as an “add-on” for a particular stratum of the audience, identified through impairment (“audio description and touch tours provided for the visually impaired…”). I’m interested in a holistic experience, where the entire audience engages with the theatre languages at play through their individual modes of communication: embedded audio description; bilingual work in visual and spoken/projected languages; creative captioning integrated into the scenography design as a central element of the set.

These devices make the work more accessible, but most importantly they challenge the ingrained assumptions and hierarchies in contemporary theatre and culture. When we change the bodies who perform, design, direct, create, and commission the work in our pleasure palaces, when we change the theatre languages used, the processes and practice are inherently changed as well. We can then truly be a place that  celebrates all the possibilities of human variety, challenging notions of “difference” and revoking the old stories and their predictable endings.

Change is coming, with more disabled and Deaf artists coming to the fore across artforms. This is partly owing to the fruits of the UK and US disability civil rights movements, out of which disability arts and culture grew, and the disability arts forums, organizations, and festivals that supported and still encourage this growth. In the UK it is also down to initiatives such as Unlimited, keen to promote, commission, and embed the work of disabled and Deaf artists in the so-called “mainstream” cultural sector on a level never experienced before.

Inclusivity and diversity are currently buzz-words internationally, and although I applaud initiatives that aim to integrate more Deaf, disabled and neuro-diverse practitioners into theatre productions, I have a caveat: the atypical body is not neutral, and placing a disabled figure on stage is not necessarily a radical act in itself. Much relies on the framing, and the controlling artistic perspective, for the atypical body can be used dramaturgically by the director/choreographer to express content and meaning beyond the actuality of the body—and sometimes without the actor’s awareness or participation. My Unlimited/National Theatre Wales production, In Water I’m Weightless, part of the official Cultural Olympiad celebrating the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, is a case in point. Featuring six of the UK’s leading Deaf and disabled performers, and directed by John E. McGrath, the actors chose the content they performed from my authored collection of monologues and also controlled how they were placed and represented on stage. Several of them had had bad experiences of previously being used as a dramaturgical tool to express subtext or create additional material and meaning beyond the content of the performance text.

For me, this is central: having a politicized disability perspective informed by the Social model of disability brings a broadening in attitude, in values, and enables an avoidance of narrow definitions of “normality.” This perspective, when disability-led, encourages impairments not to be viewed as something to be cured or overcome, but rather as an incitement to embrace the diversity and modes of communication, and use these artistically.

Perhaps in the aesthetics of access we can begin changing the experience of theatre along with its languages, and start escaping the tyranny of normalcy.

Copyright (c) 2019 Kaite O’Reilly

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


[1]Unlimited is an arts commissioning program that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences. See https://weareunlimited.org.uk.



Darke, Paul. “Everywhere: Disability on Film.” In Framed: Interrogating Disability in the Media, edited by Ann Pointon and Chris Davies, 10–15. London: British Film Institute, 1997.

Sandahl, Carrie. “From the Streets to the Stage: Disability and the Performing Arts.” PMLA120, no. 2 (2005): 620–4.

Rieser, Richard. Disabling Imagery?: A Teaching Guide to Disability and Moving Image Media. London: British Film Institute/Disability Equality in Education, 2004.

O’Reilly, Kaite. peeling. London: Faber & Faber, 2002.

O’Reilly, Kaite. Henhouse.Oberon contempory plays 2004.

O’Reilly, Kaite. Woman of Flowers. Aurora Metro. 2014

O’Reilly, Kaite. Atypical Plays for Atypical Actors.  London: Oberon Contemporary Plays 2016.

O’Reilly, Kaite. The ‘d’ Monologues. London: Oberon Contemporary Plays 2018.

So let’s talk about representation of bodies (1)… richard iii redux

Sara at Cilgerran Castle, Ceredigion. richard iii redux. Photo: Kaite O’Reilly

There has been a spate of high profile all-female productions of Shakespeare the past few years – Maxine Peake playing Hamlet in Manchester and Phillyda Lloyd’s trilogy of Julius Caesar, Henry IV and last year’s The Tempest, to name just a few. As a woman working in theatre, I applaud any attempt to provide more visible platforms for women practitioners, and believe there is still much to be mined from the classics with cross-gender casting (and I mean male actors playing female roles here, too…). Yet in the midst of all this welcome talk about diversity and parity, I believe there is still one area hugely overlooked – and that is atypical embodiment.

I have spent half a lifetime and most of my career collaborating with and writing specifically for what I call atypical actors in my atypical plays. I’ve often spoken about how I appear to have two careers – one in the so-called ‘mainstream’, writing new versions of classics like Aeschylus’s Persians for National Theatre Wales – and another within disability arts and culture, which has been invisible and seemingly of no interest to the media until recent years. For the past half decade I’ve tried to marry my ‘crip’ culture work to my ‘mainstream’ profile and argued for inclusive casts and the aesthetics of access as a matter of course rather than something ‘special’ to gain brownie points for the venues involved. For me this is my ‘normality’ and it is gratifying to perceive the debates opening up about power, diversity, and the make-up of our theatres and moving image industry – but discussions about disability still lags behind.

Sara digging up her Richard – richard iii redux.

From 2011 I was a fellow at the International Research Centre Interweaving Performance Cultures attached to Freie Universitat in Berlin.It was my great fortune to have the time and encouragement to reflect on my work between disability culture and the so-called ‘mainstream’ and to write a series of published essays about my work.

During my residencies in Berlin, I became fixated on how live theatre – my medium – has demonised, dehumanised, or deified physical, sensory and neurological difference. I began paying closer attention to how fellow dramatists portrayed in particular atypical embodiment, the poster boy being of course that personification of evil, Richard III. And so the seeds for the project richard iii redux OR Sara Beer Is/Not Richard III came into being.

Sara Beer and director Phillip Zarrilli digging up their Richard III in Llandysul

Out of fear of misrepresenting the production Sara Beer, Phillip Zarrilli, Paul Whittaker and I are in the process of making, I will stress our project is neither high-brow, academic, nor tub-thumping. In order to explore the themes of disability, representation, and the possible ‘hatchet job’ committed by the Tudors on what seems to be historically a fair and popular King, we need to travel light,  fast, and with humour. I am not a fan of dour, PC, or dreary productions and prefer – rather like our poster image – to stick two fingers up at being ‘worthy’. What we hope to do is shake things up a bit, to play with the playing of that ‘bottled spider’ Richard III, to explore elements of the historical Richard with the Shakespearian representation, and deconstruct how this villain has been portrayed in the past.

Videographer Paul Whittaker and director Phillip Zarrilli check the footage. Cilgerran Castle.

.In effect, we want to make a production which is subversive and entertaining, prompting laughs along with the odd moment’s reflection. It’s a challenging mix, but also one that makes me giddy, especially after this weekend’s work, filming (often with great fun and hilarity) in Cardigan and Ceredigion. Sara Beer is a phenomenally versatile performer, who switches from serious to high camp comedy on a sixpence. Her presence certainly enlivened our soggy day’s filming, following Henry Tudor’s trail en route to the Battle of Bosworth, where Richard III was slaughtered, so paving the way for the Tudors and the current House of Windsor.

The production will be a mix of live and pre-recorded video captured on location across Wales and at Bosworth battlefield itself. Much of the film footage is done, and Paul is currently working on our trailer, which I can’t wait to share, probably in my next blog post.

Answering back and returning the gaze: Alternative Dramaturgies

Cover of Horizons/ Theatre no.4. Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux

Cover of Horizons/ Theatre no.4. Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux

Delighted to receive a copy of Horizons/Theatre numero 5 from the University of Bordeaux Press today, which includes an essay I delivered at a conference in Tangiers last year on ‘Alternative Dramaturgies.’ The work builds on my 2003/06 AHRC Creative Fellowship ‘Alternative Dramaturgies Informed by a d/Deaf and disability Perspective’ and my on-going Fellowship at the International Research Centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ at Freie Universitat, Berlin, since 2011. The essay is in English, and the abstract follows:

Answering Back and Returning the Gaze: Two examples of ‘alternative dramaturgies informed by a Deaf and disability perspective.’

Kaite O’Reilly

Abstract:   How do we ‘write’ disability? Is it in the aesthetic, the narratives, the content, the form, or the bodies of the performers? This paper seeks to introduce ‘alternative dramaturgies, informed by a Deaf and disability perspective’, exploring some of the dramaturgical developments I have initiated as a playwright working within disability arts and Deaf culture since 1987. Alternative? To the mainstream, hearing, non-disabled perspective, and by ‘alternative dramaturgies’ I mean the processes, structures, content and form which reinvent, subvert or critique ‘traditional’ or ’conventional’ representations, narratives, and dramatic structures in performance.

Much of my work as a playwright and theatre maker explores issues of how distinctive Deaf and disability cultures operate with, against, and/or in opposition to ‘mainstream’ or ‘dominant’ cultural paradigms. The paper will raise questions on the dynamic between majority and disability culture, and signed and spoken languages, looking at the interface and relationship between hearing majority culture and Deaf culture, and experiments in bilingualism between spoken/projected English and theatricalised BSL (British Sign Language).

This paper aims to reflect on my work exploring alternative dramaturgies regarding the aesthetic, content, form, processes, and narratives in a series of my past works, including peeling (Graeae Theatre 2002) and In Praise of Fallen Women (The Fingersmiths Ltd, 2006).


Copies can be obtained through the director, Omar Fertat, Horizons/Theatre omar.fertat@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr

Chevela Vargas, seated taiquiquan, and stinky tofu: second week rehearsals of The 9 Fridas in Taipei

Chevela Vargas haunts me. Her smoky, broken voice is the soundtrack to my dreams and the first thing I become conscious of when I wake. The raspy passion of her songs play in my head all day and then loop and replay in my mind all night. Torch singer, lesbian icon, rumoured lover of Frida Kahlo, her voice is part of the audio for the Taiwanese production of my script ‘The 9 Fridas’. The photo of her sexy and supine, her hand casually resting on the breast of a laughing Frida Kahlo is circulating our company like contraband.

Frida Kahlo and Chevela Vargas. Photo from Tumblr

Frida Kahlo and Chevela Vargas. Photo from Tumblr

We are in the second week of rehearsals with Mobius Strip Theatre Company, working on my performance text for the Taipei art festival. Inspired by the disabled Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, we are an integrated company of disabled and non-disabled practitioners, joyfully collaborating and sharing new skills.

Chih-Chung Cheng and Phillip Zarrilli in training before rehearsals

Chih-Chung Cheng and Phillip Zarrilli in training before rehearsals

Our director Phillip Zarrilli uses Asian martial arts in the training for his psychophysical approach to actor-training and it has been fascinating observing one of our actors, Chih-Chung Cheng, adapt kalaripayyattu and taiquiquan. Phillip is always very keen we adapt the martial art to the foibles and idiosyncrasies of our individual bodies, and was intrigued to encounter his long-term practice of taiquiquan in a new position – seated on the rehearsal floor, with Chung.

Chih-Chung Cheng and Phillip Zarrilli: seated Taiquiquan.

Chih-Chung Cheng and Phillip Zarrilli: seated Taiquiquan.

Taipei is lively, friendly, and so much fun. I was invited by the British Council and Taipei art festival to give a writing workshop and a public lecture: ‘Representations of Impairment in the Western Theatrical Canon’. This has been an area of my research for some time, developed partly during my on-going fellowship at Freie Universitat’s International Research Centre: Interweaving Performance Cultures.

In the dinner hour between the events I and my spontaneous girl gang – a group of fabulous creative Taiwanese women – headed for stinky tofu at a street cafe and the auspicious temple for match-making nearby.

Dinner on taipei street between creative writing workshop and a public talk

Dinner on taipei street between creative writing workshop and a public talk

The script is becoming more familiar to the actors, who are interrogating the content, asking questions, seeking clarity. It’s a hugely exciting time as the text begins to breathe and take shape. As a playwright, I am constantly editing and tightening the text as the different scenes start coming into focus. What may work on the page can trip, divert, or slow when put ‘up’ – the dynamics of individual moments, as well as sequences and the flow of the whole piece needs to be taken into consideration. Tempo-rhythm, dynamic and flow is of great importance to me, especially at this point in the process.

Phillip Zarrilli directing Faye Leung. 'The 9 Fridas' Taipei 2014

Phillip Zarrilli directing Faye Leung. ‘The 9 Fridas’ Taipei 2014

Makeshift props are beginning to appear in the rehearsal room and costume designer YS Lee is making some fabulous reproduction accessories from Kahlo’s paintings.

Costume designer Ys Lee with his replica of 'A Necklace of Thorns'

Costume designer Ys Lee with his replica of ‘A Necklace of Thorns’

One is his version of the necklace of a dead hummingbird from Kahlo’s self-portrait ‘A Necklace of Thorns’, used to great effect in the publicity for the production.

Bobo Fung in publicity material for 'The 9 Fridas' by Kaite O'Reilly. Mobius Strip Theatre/Taipei art festival 2014

Bobo Fung in publicity material for ‘The 9 Fridas’ by Kaite O’Reilly. Mobius Strip Theatre/Taipei art festival 2014

I can’t wait to see the costumes, including a leather corset he is making, based on one Frida Kahlo wore.


A meeting with Dea Loher and Femi Osofisan

Authors among themselves:  Femi Osofisan, Dea Loher and Kaite O'Reilly

Authors among themselves:
Femi Osofisan, Dea Loher and
Kaite O’Reilly

It’s not often playwrights from different traditions, cultures or countries manage to get together, and I’m grateful for the opportunity which arose this Summer at the International Research Centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’ in Berlin. Playwright Dea Loher came to speak at the centre where Femi Osofisan and I are fellows. What became clear after even the shortest introduction was the serious intent with which we all write – the impulse often triggered by a desire to dialogue with or about injustice, war, or conflict. The photograph, above, is courtesy of the centre’s newsletter, as is the short commentary, below.

Award-winning author and playwright Dea Loher offered fascinating insights into her sources of inspiration and her work processes. She talked about her impetus for writing, concentrating especially on her play “The Last Fire”. It premiered at Thalia Theater Hamburg and was named 2008 “Play of the Year” by Theater heute. “The Last Fire” brings into focus the concept of the drama of reality, the recurring theme in Loher’s work. The basis of the play was a newspaper article about a family tragedy caused by the accidental death of an 8-year-old boy. Dea Loher reconstructs the breakup of the family and the changes in its members’ psyche in the face of this tragedy. Her characters long for an encounter beyond the pain. She also described to us the moment of speechlessness she experienced during a workshop in Kabul, Afghanistan, that stimulated a discussion on the value of life in war and crisis zones.

IRC Interweaving Performance Cultures newsletter

Dea Loher is one of Germany’s most esteemed German playwrights. Her plays have been translated into many languages and staged all over the world. She studied “Creative Writing for the Stage” at Hochschule der Künste Berlin under Heiner Müller and Yaak Karsunke. Since their first collaboration on “Stranger’s House” in 1995, almost all of Dea Loher’s plays have been directed by acclaimed German stage director Andreas Kriegenburg. This collaboration became one of the most fruitful artistic relationships in contemporary German theatre. Dea Loher received such highly regarded German drama awards as the Else-Lasker-Schüler-Dramatikerpreis (2005), the Bertolt-Brecht-Preis der Stadt Augsburg (2006), the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis (1998 and 2008), the Marieluise-Fleißer-Preis (2009) and the Berliner Literaturpreis (2009). She has lived in Berlin since 1989. (Source: http://www.aoiagency.com/2010/07/dealoher/‎)

‘Femi Osofisan is a playwright, poet, theatre director, university professor, literary theorist, and newspaper critic, and he is part of a generation of Nigerians who feel they have experienced Nigerian independence as an empty slogan. Thus he fashions a committed literature designed to shatter the enduring shackles of religion, custom, and colonialism and to stimulate a confident, imaginatively self-critical sensibility capable of charting a course toward a more humane, egalitarian society. Writing in English, he aims his dramas at those whose education enables them to manage the nation’s destiny, but his manipulation of the theatre’s rich nonverbal resources, coupled with an exploitation of indigenous, African performance aesthetics, means that his work has the potential to reach a wider audience. Within Nigeria he is often viewed as a radical intent upon completely destroying the past, but his radicalism actually builds on the best of tradition while seeking to encourage pervasive change.’  (Source: http://www.bookrags.com/biography/femi-osofisan/)


Aging body in Dance Conference: Freie Universitat Berlin. June 28-30, 2012.

I’ve been invited to present at the following conference, as one of the Fellows of the International Research Centre ‘Interweaving Performance Cultures’, Freie Universitat, Berlin. Details of the conference, follows, or please go to:








Aging Body in Dance: Seeking Aesthetics and Politics of the Body through the Comparison of Euro-American and Japanese Cultures.

This is to be an international conference focusing on the aging body – a subject that has long been the subject of medical, cultural and political research – with special reference to dance.







We shall be looking at culture-specific notions of the beauty and movement, agility and expressiveness of the body as they relate to the status of the aging body in dance. Models will be used for a comparative discussion of the differences in normative discourses and institutions and in gender-related concepts of body and movement between the Euro-American and Japanese dance traditions, i.e. between “youth-oriented” cultures on the one hand and a culture which – like Japan’s – reveres aging dancers as part of the country’s “living heritage” on the other. The distinctions and changes in such traditional cultural patterns in contemporary (globalized) dance as well as the theoretical challenges they pose for dance and cultural research will be pursued in the papers presented at the conference, and as well in the roundtables and presentations of the invited artists. The conference is based on the cooperation of the Zentrum für Bewegungsforschung, FU Berlin, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and is funded by the DFG and the Japan Foundation. For the program and other information see below.

Program, June 28 – 30, 2012

Aging Body in Dance: Seeking Aesthetics and Politics of the Body through the Comparison of Euro-American and Japanese Cultures

Thursday, June 28, 2012

14.00 – 15.00            Arrival/Registration

15.00  Opening: Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin),

Nanako Nakajima (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Saitama)

            Section I: Aging Body in the Context of Postmodern Dance

15.45  Peggy Phelan (San Francisco) The Ends of Dance: Pina Bausch and Merce Cunningham

16.45 – Short Break

17.00  Ramsay Burt (Leicester) Yvonne Rainer’s Convalescent dance: on valuing ordinary, everyday, and unidealised bodily states

18.00 – Break

20.00  Jess Curtis (Berlin) Lecture Performance: Jess Meets Angus – Dances for Non/Fictional Bodies (Choreography: Silke Z.)

Post-Performance Talk with Gabriele Brandstetter

Friday, June 29, 2012

Section II: Alternative Dancability: Dis/Ability and Performance

10.00  Ann Cooper Albright (Oberlin) The Perverse Satisfaction of Gravity

11.00  Susanne Foellmer (Berlin) Bodies’ Borderlands: Right in the Middle. Dis/Abilities on Stage

12.00 – Short Break

12.30  Petra Kuppers (Michigan) Grace in the Hospice: Community Dance, Elders, Land

13.30 – Break

            Section III: Aging and Body Politics in Contemporary Dance

15.00  Johannes Odenthal (Berlin) Aging in dance is not an issue. Why are we always asking the wrong questions? On Gerhard Bohner, Koffi Kôkô, Kazuo Ohno, and endless other masters of dance

16.00 – Short Break

16.15  Kikuko Toyama (Saitama) Old, weak, and invalid: dance in inaction

17.15 – Break

20.00  Performance: Theater Thikwa plus Junkan Projekt (Choreography: Osamu Jareo)

Post-Performance Talk with Nanako Nakajima

 Saturday, June 30, 2012

10.00  Kaite O’Reilly (Wales) SILENT RHYTHM: A Reflection on sensory impairment as a source of creativity and inspiration

11.00  Janice Ross (San Francisco) Sexuality and the Aging Body: Anna Halprin Dancing Eros at the End of Life

12.00 – Short Break

            Section IV: Intercultural Perspectives

12.30  Mark Franko (New York) Why are the Hands the Last Resort of the Aged Dancing Body

13.30 – Break

15.00  Yoshito Ohno (Tokyo) Figures of Life

16.00  Tamotsu Watanabe (Tokyo) Flowers Blooming in the Time of Aging

17.00 – Short Break

17.30  Roundtable: Aging Body/ Differently Abled Body? Difference, Convergence and Open Questions (in German with English translations)

Kazuo Fujino (Kobe) – Moderator

Gerd Hartmann (Berlin)

Osamu Jareo (Osaka)

Iku Otani (Kobe) – NPO Dance Box

Nicole Hummel (Berlin) – Theater Thikwa

End of the Program around 19.00


Prof. Ann Cooper Albright (Dance Studies, Oberlin College, US)

Prof. Ramsay Burt (Dance Scholar, De Montfort University, UK)

Jess Curtis (Choreographer, Germany/US)

Juniorprof. Dr. Susanne Foellmer (Dance Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany)

Prof. Mark Franko (Dance Scholar, University of California, Santa Cruz, US)

Prof. Kazuo Fujino (Art Management, Kobe University, Japan)

Gerd Hartmann (Director at Theater Thikwa, Germany)

Nicole Hummel (Theater Thikwa Berlin, Germany)

Osamu Jareo (Choreographer, Japan)

Prof. Petra Kuppers (Disability Studies, University of Michigan, US)

Dr. Johannes Odenthal (Dance Curator, Akademie der Künste, Germany)

Yoshito Ohno (Butoh Artist, Japan)

Iku Otani (General director, NPO Dance Box)

Kaite O’Reilly (Dramatist and Disability Artist, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany/UK)

Prof. Peggy Phelan (Performance and Theater Scholar, Stanford University, US)

Prof. Janice Ross (Dance Scholar, Stanford University, US)

Prof. Kikuko Toyama (Dance Studies, Saitama University, Japan)

Prof. Tamotsu Watanabe (Kabuki Critic, Japan)