Hannah Cummings


July 2012:

Tim Crouch Symposium

Tim Crouch, Aesthetics and the Sociological Imagination

May 2012:

UoE Humanities PGR Conference

‘The Author’ and Merleau-Ponty

Presence is a much contested term which has evaded precise definition throughout history, with predominant discussion focusing on either the dramaturgical creation of presence or the actor’s charisma. In addition, many current contemporary ensemble performance companies focus on the actor’s ability to ‘be present’, while other theorists are considering the ‘presence effects’ of virtual reality environments. Generally predominant within this discussion is a focus on the creation or cultivation of presence. In contrast, with reference to the relationship between the presence of the actor, audience, and story, this paper attempts to consider the potential repercussions of concepts of presence. Arguably, it has become notable in more recent contemporary theatre practices that the story, long since fragmented and, at times, abandoned by postmodern performance, is returning. In my opinion, the presence of the story, coupled with the presence of the actor – as opposed to the dramatic character, offers opportunities for audience members to reconsider their relationships with others and the world, aiding in the progression of society. Arguably, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, based on the premise of our existence as a relationship between self-others-things, offers a way in which to elucidate this point. In similarity, via it’s metatheatrical structure, confusion between reality and fiction, minimal staging, and activation of audience member’s imaginations, The Author, a play by Tim Crouch, encourages audience members to reconsider their sense of responsibility in terms of what one looks at and how one acts in the world. Thus, defining presence as the feeling of being located in an external world, the following paper utilises both the aforementioned sources in order to consider how collaboration between actors and audiences, in the creation of stories, can result in impactful performance with implications for the construction of humanity.

Practitioner Workshops

4th February 2012:

Alison Hodge and core training

Hannah attended a two-day workshop with Alison Hodge exploring ideas surrounding ease of movement, mutuality, and relational aesthetics in performance.  The workshop drew on Hodge's discipline of core training.

25th April 2011:

Biomechanics Workshop

Hannah attended an intensive two-week biomechanics workshop led by Peader Kirk.  The workshop provided attendees with a basic grounding in Meyerhold's system of biomechanics and the development of performance installations.  The workshop culminated with the presentation of individual performance installations.

6th December 2010:

Butoh Workshop

Hannah attended two intensive week-long Butoh workshops with Fran Barbe.  The workshops provided attendees with an introduction to Japanese Butoh (Butoh-Fu and image-based movement work), culminating in the creation of a short performance.