Photo of Sara Jane Bailes

Sara Jane Bailes
Reader in Theatre & Performance Studies (English)
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T: +44 (0)1273 876608


Research

My research is concerned with opening up ways of reading theatre, performance and visual art practices through a philosophical lens. My co-edited collection, Beckett and Musicality (Ashgate, 2014) and my first monograph, Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure (Routledge, 2010), exemplify this. I am equally engaged by the social and political contexts that underpin performance practices, and the ways in which those contexts are drawn through the materials of performance. I have always been interested in rehearsal and compositional methods, in particular examining the reflexive relations between ideology and the production of live performance. Other areas of research include: the influence of the city and the everyday on the development of performance vocabularies; feminism and art practice; the body in performance; durational art and histories of the avant garde and performance art. Influenced by 7 years in New York, my writing and teaching focuses on a number of US companies and scenes (particularly the 'downtown' scene in New York). This includes: Judson Dance Theater; Elevator Repair Service; Goat Island, Richard Maxwell/New York City Players and Reza Abdoh/Dar a Luz. I am interested in the way critical theory can illuminate practice and the way in which practice helps to materialise and give contour to the space of thinking. I write texts for performance and collaborate on creative projects with other artists whenever I can (which isn't often enough). I am an honorary scholar at the Institute of Failure (http://www.institute-of-failure.com/), an ongoing project initiated by Tim Etchells and Matthew Goulish dedicated to the documentation, study, and theorisation of failure. In 2006 and '07 I was visiting artist/scholar at the Goat Island Summer School (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). I am a contributing editor for Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory (Routledge) and write and peer review for a range of international journals, web-based theatre and collaborative writing projects (see http://1001.net.au/ and www.thelastperformance.org/). I make performance, short videos, write quick fictions and I am currently collaborating on an ongoing weekly performance project created through shared instructions with video artist and performance maker, Elyce Semenec (New York).