Dr Cara Berger
- Affiliate Theatre Studies (School of Culture & Creative Arts)
I am a researcher, deviser and dramaturg with particular interest in feminist, queer and ecological perspectives.
Before my PhD I worked across directing, devising, dramaturgy and applied practice in Germany. My doctoral research was undertaken partially by practice and was called: ‘Performing Écriture Féminine: Strategies for a Feminist Politics of the Postdramatic’. It was awarded by the University of Glasgow in 2014.
Since then, I have published on feminist approaches to postdramatic aesthetics using practical, historical and theoretical methods, as well as issues of adaptation/translation, practical methodologies and performance pedagogy.
My current research is two-fold: I am writing a major monograph called Feminism, Performance, Ecology: 1962-2020 (contracted with Manchester University Press) and I am developing an edited collection on performance curation together with Dr Kate Dorney.
My teaching specialisms include: practical research, historical and contemporary experimental theatre, performance theory/philosophy as well as practices and theories of devising, dramaturgy and curation.
I am currently working on two projects:
Feminism, Performance, Ecology: 1962-2020 (forthcoming with Manchester University Press)
How do feminist, queer and trans- theories stimulate new ways of living on a damaged earth? In what ways does ecological thought expand and transform feminism? How have artists used performance to explore, subvert or counter the interconnection of environmental damage, misogyny, heterosexism and cissexism? This innovative study—the first in its field—investigates the intersections between feminist and ecological thought in performance from 1962 to the early 21st century. To do so, it analyses an array of performances across disciplines and genres, ranging from land art, body art and performance art, to postdramatic theatre, dance and experimental opera. Introducing ecofeminist thought to theatre and performance studies, it re-reads the work of significant feminist performance-makers, including Judy Chicago, Carolee Schneemann, Rachel Rosenthal and Ana Mendieta alongside the works of contemporary artists such as Mette Ingvartsen and boychild. The project demonstrates that ecological concerns have played a significant—if to date unrecognised—role in feminist performance history and argues that paying attention to this history provides us with ways of re-imagining genders, sexualities, bodies and desires at a time of environmental precarity.
The project spans a major monograph and several journal articles, including an in-progress manuscript, tentatively titled ‘Pina Bausch’s Evolutionary Theatre: An Ecofeminist Reading’.
This project is being developed together with Dr Kate Dorney. An edited collection, aim of the project is to introduce readers to different theories and practices that inform firstly, the curation of performance as a subject in museums and galleries and, secondly, those that inform the ways in which performances and events are curated. In the former, narratives about histories, theories, practitioners and concepts are typically illustrated by material objects (art works and ephemera in a range of media) in order to celebrate, explore or commemorate. In the latter, the narrative is created through the commissioning, selecting and arranging of works. In both cases, the principle of care of and for the objects/artists is key, reflecting the Latin roots of the word ‘curate’ in curare (‘take care of’). The collection will feature contributions from practitioners and scholars working in the field of performance curation in relation to four underpinning principles:
• Caring for material objects, artists, venues and events, nurturing and developing work and people
• Interpreting objects and works
• Commissioning, selecting and arranging works
• Creating narratives through development, commissioning and arranging of works
At University of Glasgow I teach on following courses:
- Level 2B: Modernism to Postdramatic
- Single Honours Group Project
I also act as Postgraduate Taught Programmes Convenor.