Dr David Calder

Lect. in Theatre & Performance Studies

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Research interests

My current research is an exploration of queer performances of public space in 21st-century Europe. The project brings together theatre and performance theory, feminist political theory (especially theories of democracy and the public), and queer approaches to space and place.

Through analysis of performances and their infrastructures (e.g. professional networks, festival circuits, funding structures, even legal frameworks), I aim to trace the performative and theatrical construction of public space—and a contested European public sphere—since the turn of this century. This is a period characterised by debates over the integration (and disintegration) of Europe, national and supranational sovereignty, precarity and austerity, rights and the state of exception, freedom of movement to and within the continent, and indeed the borders of the continent itself.

This project has emerged from my earlier work on French street theatre. In my first book, Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space: Working memories (published 2019), I analysed contemporary French street theatre companies' involvement in urban and regional redevelopment projects in order to discover how street theatre makes sense of urban and economic change. My goal was to show how, 1) the processes of deindustrialisation and redevelopment operate according to the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance, and 2) how theatrical events and performative acts make changes in the nature of work manageable and spatial transformations navigable. Thanks to funding from the University of Manchester, this book is available Open Access here.

I welcome proposals and expressions of interest from prospective Ph.D. students in any of the following areas: performance and public space, street theatre, theatre and the public sphere, European performance and political theory, theatre and urban (re)development, theatre and labour, theatrical space, and theatrical engagements with memory and temporality.


Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display