Dr Elyssa Livergant
Teaching Fellow (Transition, Retention, and Professionalisation)
I grew up in Toronto, where I worked as a child actor in theatre, film and television alongside my school studies. After graduating from an acting conservatory in New York, I returned to Toronto where I worked in small-scale theatre as a performer, director and administrator. I moved to London in 2003 to undertake an MA at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. After several years working as a dramaturge and performance artist I did my PhD at Queen Mary.
In the 2015-16 academic year, I am teaching on:
- Theatre and performance labour, training, and pedagogy
- Contemporary performance practices
- Urban performance, activism, and social justice
- Cultural policy and cultural economies of performance
Recent and On-Going Research
My field of research is the cultural politics of contemporary performance practice and its relationship to wider economic and social inequality. My most recent project focuses on the industrial context of live art and the ways the discourses of theatre and performance studies, the hopes attached to working in theatre and performance and the labour conditions of the sector intersect. My doctoral research examined the ambiguous cultural and labour politics of the contemporary performance workshop with a focus on the ‘new work’ live art and contemporary performance subsector of the cultural industries in the UK. In my thesis I analyse the theatre and performance workshop as a historical cultural practice of the 1960s and 1970s in order to identify the industrial and affective conditions of the contemporary live art sector in London.
My on-going research builds on my doctoral work. My next project focuses on the relationship between cultural work, activism and performances of the civic.
Research Collaborations and Initiatives
Co-organiser of the interdisciplinary Seeing Like A City symposium, a three-day event held in June 2014 across the Geography and Drama Departments at QMUL to examine the relationship between theatre, performance and urbanism.
Co-Editor, Interventions: Contemporary Theatre Review, 2014 – present.
Editorial Assistant, Contemporary Theatre Review, 2009-2013.
‘The Passion Players’, New Left Project (January 2013), http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_passion_players.
’Belarus Free Theatre, Labour Mobility and the Cultural Politics of the Border’, Contemporary Theatre Review (forthcoming).
I have presented solo and collaborative performances nationally and internationally.
My solo performance A Kiss From the Last Red Squirrel has been presented at various venues between 2008-2010 including The British Performance Festival (Mainz), Spill National Platform (London), Belarus Free Theatre’s Performance Festival (Minsk), as well as a national tour of venues across the UK.
Wapping: Audio is a site-specific sound piece I co-created in 2005 that has been featured in digital arts and public space festivals.
I continue to work with a wide range of companies and individual artists as a dramaturge and director. I am also an active member of various activist-arts groups in London.