Queer exceptions

Solo performance in neoliberal times

By Stephen Greer

Queer exceptions


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1370-2
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £21.00
  • Published Date: March 2021
  • BIC Category: Gender studies, gender groups, Individual actors & performers, Theatre studies, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, Society & social sciences / Gender studies, gender groups, The arts / Theatre: individual actors & directors, The arts / Theatre studies, PERFORMING ARTS / Monologues & Scenes, Theatre Studies, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
  • Series: Theatre: Theory - Practice - Performance


Queer exceptions is a study of contemporary solo performance in the UK and Western Europe that explores the contentious relationship between identity, individuality and neoliberalism. With diverse case studies featuring the work of La Ribot, David Hoyle, Oreet Ashery, Bridget Christie, Tanja Ostojic, Adrian Howells and Nassim Soleimanpour, the book examines the role of singular or 'exceptional' subjects in constructing and challenging assumed notions of communal sociability and togetherness, while drawing fresh insight from the fields of sociology, gender studies and political philosophy to reconsider theatre's attachment to singular lives and experiences. Framed by a detailed exploration of arts festivals as encapsulating the material, entrepreneurial circumstances of contemporary performance-making, this is the first major critical study of solo work since the millennium.


'Rising to the promise that the title holds out, this excellent book will be of value to all scholars with an interest in contemporary performance practices. It gives deep and well-informed insight into not only the creation and presentation of solo performance work but the economic realities within which it is embedded [.]Greer's palette is broad and wide-ranging, though this not in any way at the expense of detail - far from it. This brilliant addition to scholarly considerations of contemporary theatre practices is deeply rooted in an insider's understanding of the logistics, economics, and sheer hard work that underpins solo performance.'
Alison Jeffers, New Theatre Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 2 (May 2019)

'This wide-ranging, brilliant, and scholarly volume adds a much-needed perspective on and assessment of queer solo performance: one that does not simply venerate it as identity validation nor dismiss it as a tool of neoliberal identity consumption, but that instead articulates how the works analysed offer twenty-first-century radical performance politics looking at, out, through, and beyond the performance of 'the singular subject in neoliberal times''
Contemporary Theatre Review

'Through an examination of contemporary European solo performance, Stephen Greer explores the form's simultaneous resistance to and compatibility within neoliberalism.'
The Drama Review

'Queer Exceptions... catalogues a breadth of innovative performance practices, making it a valuable read for contemporary performance scholars. The application of a figural approach further offers a provocation to scholars across the discipline to reconsider ways in which we hold performance practices together.'
Theatre Research International


List of figures
1. Locating solo performance
2. The martyr: dramaturgies of endurance, exhaustion and confession
3. The pariah: queer outcasts and the politics of wounded attachment
4. The killjoy: public unhappiness and theatrical scapegoats
5. The stranger: performing 'out-of-placeness' in the UK and Europe
6. The misfit: illness, disability and 'improper' subjects
7. The optimist: alternatives to neoliberalism in the here and now


Stephen Greer is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Practices at the University of Glasgow

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