Performing the testimonial

Rethinking verbatim dramaturgies

By Amanda Stuart Fisher

Performing the testimonial


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4574-1
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2020
  • BIC Category: Theatre direction & production, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / Direction & Production, The arts / Theatre: individual actors & directors, The arts / Theatre studies, Theatre Direction & Production
  • Series: Theatre: Theory - Practice - Performance


Providing one of the first critically sustained engagements with the new forms of verbatim and testimonial theatre that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this book examines what distinguishes verbatim theatre from the more established documentary theatre traditions developed initially by Peter Weiss, Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator. Examining a wide range of verbatim and testimonial plays from around the world, this book looks beyond the discourses of the real that have tended to dominate scholarship in this area and instead argues that this kind of theatre engages in acts of truth telling. Through its analysis of a range of international plays from UK, Germany, America, Australia and South Africa, the book explores theatre's dramaturgical interrogation of testimony and how the act of witnessing itself is reconfigured when relocated outside of the psychoanalytic frame and positioned as contributing to a decolonisation of testimony.


Introduction: Performing the 'promise' of truthfulness: the hybrid practices of contemporary verbatim and testimonial theatre

Part I: Verbatim theatre and its histories
1 Germany and the pre-histories of contemporary verbatim theatre: Piscator, Hochhuth and Weiss
2 The genealogy of contemporary verbatim theatre: shifting dramaturgies and performances of truthfulness

Part II: Towards testimonial theatre
3 Theatre of witnessing: Towards the decolonisation of testimonial theatre
4 Testimony as speaking out: Performing the ethico-political imperatives of witnessing
Conclusion: Performing witnessing in a post-truth era



Amanda Stuart Fisher is Reader of Contemporary Theatre and Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

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