Keynote by Dr. Tom Drayton
IT’S ALL SO POINTLESS, AH, BUT IT’S NOT THOUGH, IS IT? IT’S REALLY REAL AND WHEN YOU FEEL IT YOU CAN REALLY FEEL IT:
THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE WITHIN METAMODERNISM
According to art critic Jerry Saltz (2010), the post-postmodern artist is one who proclaims that ‘I know that the art I’m creating may seem silly, even stupid, or that it might have been done before, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t serious’. In the intervening decade, trends in contemporary performance practice towards a renewed emphasis on storytelling, authenticity, and an affective connection between actors, audiences and communities are illustrative of a move away from the tropes of postmodern irony, detachment, and pastiche, and towards what scholars within wider cultural studies have defined as the metamodern – a cultural structure of feeling that oscillates between disparate polarities; performance that is simultaneously both sincere and sarcastic, both ironic and enthusiastic, both hopeful and hopeless.
BY TOM DRAYTON
Tom Drayton is a Senior Lecturer in Acting, Performance and Directing at the University of East London. Tom’s research focuses on metamodern performance practice. Through this, he is specifically interested in how the millennials’ generational experience as the ‘children of postmodernity’ has influenced their theatrical practice, as well as investigating how new forms of politically driven performance strategies can engender new political pathways. Tom is currently writing the first book dedicated to metamodern theatre and is the co-investigator for the Gaming Democracy: Participatory Performance Strategies for Countering Far-Right Politics project in collaboration with Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance.