Theatre studies is an interdisciplinary area of study and parts of the discipline takes in aspects of anthropology, philosophy, history, modern and ancient languages, literary studies, dance, art, politics, and more besides.
I devised this long series of short books with my good friend and colleague Jen Harvie (Queen Mary, University of London) to share some of this interdisciplinary wealth and stimulate further debate. Each book in the series pairs the theatre with another area of thought and experience on the other side of the ampersand.
The books are designed to be affordable (they’re £4.99), readable and punchy. We’ve asked all the authors to write in as accessible and clear a way as possible. Each one is 20,000 words and both introduces the topic and makes an original contribution to the area.
One of the tensions in academic life at the moment is the contradictory pull of publishers and research assessment. Everywhere publishers want us to produce student-friendly, accessible books with titles like ‘A Companion to...’ or a ‘A Student Introduction to...’; however, such books are rated poorly by Hefce which operates the systems of research assessment. This series is an attempt to square this circle by offering genuinely original research in a form that is accessible to students and the wider public.
They’ve had some good responses and been well-reviewed. I was particularly cheered by the critic Andrew Haydon’s description of them as displaying ‘a dizzying level of eclectic knowledge being lightly bandied around in service of strong central arguments’ which is precisely the brief.
So far we have published Theatre & The City, Theatre & Globalization, Theatre & Human Rights, Theatre & Ethics, Theatre & Education, Theatre & Politics, Theatre & Ireland, Theatre & Audience, Theatre & The Body, Theatre & Feeling, Theatre & Sexuality, Theatre & Interculturalism, Theatre & Prison, Theatre & Nation, Theatre & The Visual, Theatre & Scotland, Theatre & Therapy, Theatre & Mind, and Theatre & Museums. Some volumes have been translated into Slovak, Arabic, and German.
If you want to write one, we’d be interested to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org.