Howard Barker's art of theatre

Essays on his plays, poetry and production work

Edited by David Rabey and Sarah Goldingay

Howard Barker's art of theatre


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Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0692-6
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: October 2016
  • BIC Category: Theatre studies, Plays, playscripts, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General, The arts / Theatre: individual actors & directors, Theatre Studies, Literature & literary studies / Plays, playscripts


Director-dramatist Howard Barker is a restlessly prolific, compulsively controversial and provocative multi-media artist. Beyond his internationally performed and acclaimed theatrical productions, and his award-winning theatre company The Wrestling School, he is also a poet, a painter whose work has been exhibited internationally, and a philosophical essayist cognisant of the unique power of art to provoke moral speculation, and of the distinctive theatricality of the human being in times of crisis.

This collection of essays provides international perspectives on the full range of Barker's achievements, theatrical and otherwise, and argues for their unique importance and urgency at the forefront of several genres of provocative modern art. It includes an interview with the artist and an essay by Barker himself.


1. Introduction: The ultimate matter of style - David Ian Rabey
2. Performance within performance: Howard Barker and the acted life - some thoughts - Melanie Jessop
3. Unearthly powers of invention: speech, report and repetition in recent Wrestling School productions - James Reynolds
4. Reinventing 'grand narratives': Barker's challenge to postmodernism - Elisabeth Angel-Perez
5. Institutions, icons and the body in Barker's plays, 1977-86 - Ian Cooper
6. Access to the body: the theatre of revelation in Beckett, Foreman, and Barker - George Hunka
7. 'Not nude but naked': nakedness and nudity in Barker's drama - Eléonore Obis
8. Places of punishment: surveillance, reason and desire in the plays of Howard Barker - Michael Mangan
9. Barker, criticism and the philosophy of 'The art of theatre' - Mark Brown
10. Staging Barker in France 2009 - Christine Kiehl
11. 21 for 21: A breakthrough moment in terms of the global theatre-making community's collaborative capacity? - Sarah Goldingay
12. I saw myself: artist and critic meet in the mirror - Mary Karen Dahl
13. 'His niece or his sister': genealogical uncertainties and literary filiation in Barker's Gertrude - The Cry - Vanasay Khamphommala
14. History in the age of fracture: catastrophic time in Barker's The Bite of the Night - Jay Gipson-King
15. The dying of today and the meta-stases of language: from history to tale to play to mise-en-scène - Elizabeth Sakellaridou
16. 'The substrata of experience': Barker's poetry, 1988-2008 - David Ian Rabey
17. Reading Howard Barker's pictorial art - Charles Lamb
18. Howard Barker's paintings, poems and plays: 'in the deed itself', or the triple excavation of the unchangeable - Michel Morel
19. Memories of paintings in Howard Barker's theatre - Heiner Zimmermann
20. The sunless garden of the unconsoled: some destinations beyond catastrophe - Howard Barker
21. Howard Barker and David Ian Rabey in conversation, New York 2010
Appendix: Howard Barker: chronology and bibliography


David Ian Rabey is Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth University

Sarah Goldingay is Lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter

Howard Barker's art of theatre

Edited by David Rabey, Sarah Goldingay

Paperback £17.99 / $26.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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