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Palgrave Macmillan

Doing Dramaturgy

Thinking Through Practice

  • Textbook
  • © 2023


  • Promotes a dramaturgical mode of looking at performances and the processes in which they are created
  • Examines fourteen performances and their makers
  • Explores how doing dramaturgy is informed by today’s highly diverse field of theatre, dance and performance

Part of the book series: New Dramaturgies (ND)

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About this book

This book explores how doing dramaturgy is informed by today’s highly diverse field of theatre, dance and performance. It does so in dialogue with fourteen performances and their makers, tracing the thinking-through-practice that underlies these creations. The first part of the book looks at how dramaturgs participate in practices of thinking-making and introduces a dramaturgical mode of looking at performances and the processes in which they are created. The second part of the book discusses the performances and creative processes of Manuela Infante, Julian Hetzel, Ivo van Hove, Anouk van Dijk, Falk Richter, Milo Rau, Kris Verdonck, Death Centre, Hotel Modern, Jr.cE.sA.r , Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten, Dries Verhoeven, the LGB Society of Mind, Sanja Mitrović, and Amanda Piña. Showing how ways of making and ways of doing dramaturgy mutually inform each other, this book is an essential resource for students and others aspiring to develop their own dramaturgical practice.

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Table of contents (19 chapters)

  1. Part I

  2. Part II


“This eloquently written book by Maaike Bleeker is a must read for anyone interested in dramaturgy and contemporary performance. It includes an exceptionally precise description of the developments of the field of dramaturgy until now, including new contemporary methods. But more importantly this seminal book answers the question: what does contemporary theatre do? It thinks. In a world torn between easy-fix opinions and oppressive categorizations, theatre is a space for deep thinking, thinking with others, thinking through practice, and performative thinking that goes beyond language and definitions. Read this book: think with theatre.” (Sodja Zupanc Lotker, Professor of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU (Prague Academy of the Performing Arts), Czech Republic, and former director of the Prague Quadrennial PQ)

“In her new book Doing Dramaturgy, Maaike Bleeker accomplishes the unimaginable: she embraces the inheritance of the field of dramaturgy, traces practices across different times, places and theatre makers, and unlocks its radical potential, without determining what the future of dramaturgy might be. If this book bares a risk, it is the risk of infecting practitioners – in academic, creative or educational contexts – to resist generalities and to never stop thinking-doing forward together.” (Marijke Hoogenboom, Director of the Department for Performing Arts & Film, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland)

“In this wonderful book, Bleeker demonstrates how doing dramaturgy is always a process of thinking through practice. This is an important argument for conceptualizing dramaturgy as a means of “making-thinking”. With deep historical insights, critical acumen, and well-chosen case studies, Bleeker shows how dramaturgy is an apparatus of creative thinking and doing that is interwoven and interdisciplinary in ways that put performance at the center of an expanding politics and activism.  Generously referenced and wide-ranging, Bleeker’s text helps us work with the complexity of dramaturgy to understand its central place in the contemporary arts.” (Peter Eckersall, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA)

“Bleeker deftly brings late 20th century conversations about new and expanded dramaturgies up to our 21st century moment, illuminating dramaturgy as a site where theory and practice cannot be separated, and arguing beautifully for a dramaturgy of care. Collaborative artists of all sorts will find fodder in Bleeker’s generous tool-box of dramaturgical questions and modes of engagement, as well as her detailed case studies from a range of contemporary European performances.” (Katherine Profeta, Professor in the Practice of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, Yale University, USA)

Authors and Affiliations

  • AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands

    Maaike Bleeker

About the author

Maaike Bleeker is Professor of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at Utrecht University, Netherlands. As a dramaturg, she worked with theatre directors and choreographers on a wide variety of projects. Moving back and forth between theory and practice, she investigates thinking as material and embodied practice, and making theatre as an expression of such thinking.

Bibliographic Information

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