Theatre Aurality: Beginnings

  • Lynne Kendrick


Theatre aurality is an exploration of sound in, of and as theatre; it explores emerging practices as well as a critical field. Though it is a relatively new phenomenon—for example, in the form of headphone performances or theatre in the dark—theatre has a rich history of aurality which has been somewhat obscured from the discourses of theatre and performance. Therefore, this chapter explores the origins of aurality in theatre practice, through the histories of sound and the emergence of technologies in contemporary theatre practice. The new art of theatre sound in the twentieth century met with some resistance, it introduced technologies and processes that brought medial, material and aesthetic challenges which, in turn, raised questions about theatre’s ontology. These radical capacities of theatre sound are the substance of theatre aurality and they are found in contemporary theatre and performance practices that are characterised by some, if not all, of the following: aural intersubjectivity, sonic presence, lack of visual reference, sonic sensibility, non-visual spatiality, the corporeality and hapticity of audience, and the performance of sound.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Central School of Speech and DramaLondonUK

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