Brian Singleton is Associate Professor and Head of Drama at Trinity College Dublin, former Editor of Theatre Research International (Cambridge University Press) and President of the International Federation for Theatre Research. His principal research interests lie in the fields of orientalism and interculturalism in performance, and he has published widely on numerous aspects of those genres in European theatre, from popular musical theatre in the monograph Oscar Asche, Orientalism and British Musical Comedy (Praeger, 2004) to a variety of publications on French intercultural performance from Antonin Artaud to Ariane Mnouchkine. Within that same generic compass, he is particularly interested in issues of gender and sexuality not only in performative representation but also in terms of the performative agency of social networking.
This project will focus on several examples in performance history, as well as in contemporary practice, of the construction of ‘otherness’ through a matrix of networking, both social and professional, across national borders and between cultures. Using social network theories, it will explore how historical orientalism in performance emerged not simply through fantasy and desire, but through actual networks of communication between artists, theatre practitioners, poets and performers. Thus the research will seek to move away from end-point reading of performance images towards a more process-oriented research focusing instead on communication between individuals both at the hubs and on the peripheries of cultural networks that contributed to the performance of otherness on the stages of Europe.