© 2016

Performing (for) Survival

Theatre, Crisis, Extremity

  • Patrick Duggan
  • Lisa Peschel

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction — Performing (for) Survival: Frameworks and Mapping

  3. Surviving War and Exile: National and Ethnic Identity in Performance

  4. A Space Where Something Might Survive: Theatre in Concentration Camps

  5. Tactics and Strategies: Dissent under Oppressive Regimes

  6. Coming in from the Outside: Theatre, Community, Crisis

  7. Crisis and Extremity as Performance

  8. Coda: Picturing Charlie Hebdo

    1. Sophie Nield
      Pages 241-247
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 248-251

About this book


This volume gathers contributions from a range of international scholars and geopolitical contexts to explore why people organise themselves into performance communities in sites of crisis and how performance – social and aesthetic, sanctioned and underground – is employed as a mechanism for survival. The chapters treat a wide range of what can be considered 'survival', ranging from sheer physical survival, to the survival of a social group with its own unique culture and values, to the survival of the very possibility of agency and dissent. Performance as a form of political resistance and protest plays a large part in many of the essays, but performance does more than that: it enables societies in crisis to continue to define themselves. By maintaining identities that are based on their own chosen affiliations and not defined solely in opposition to their oppressors, individuals and groups prepare themselves for a post-crisis future by keeping alive their own notions of who they are and who they hope to be.


the holocaust in performance performance and crisis performance and conflict crisis dictatorship history identity independence living performance play project resistance Scotland theatre

Editors and affiliations

  • Patrick Duggan
    • 1
  • Lisa Peschel
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SurreyUK
  2. 2.department of theatre, film and televisionUniversity of YorkUK

About the editors

Patrick Duggan is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Surrey, UK. His publications include: Trauma-Tragedy: Symptoms of Contemporary Performance (2012); On Trauma, a special issue of the international journal Performance Research (2011); and Reverberations Across Small-Scale British Theatre: Politics, Aesthetics and Forms (2013).

Lisa Peschel is Lecturer in Theatre at the University of York, UK. Her publications include Performing Captivity, Performing Escape: Cabarets and Plays from the Terezín/Theresienstadt Ghetto (2014). She is a co-investigator on the £1.8 million AHRC-funded project Performing the Jewish Archive.

Bibliographic information


“Patrick Duggan and Lisa Peschel’s Performing (for) Survival is an important contribution to the study of performance as a mechanism for survival. Its uniqueness lies in its choice to expose the internal workings of communities and politically-organised resistance movements in times of extreme crisis.” (Effie Samara, The Kelvingrove Review, Issue 16, June, 2017)