Performing care

New perspectives on socially engaged performance

Edited by Amanda Stuart Fisher and James Thompson

Performing care


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6396-7
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: July 2022
  • BIC Category: Theatre studies, PERFORMING ARTS / General, ART / Performance, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism, Street Theatre, Creative Therapy (Eg Art, Music, Drama), The arts / Theatre studies, Literature, Theatre Studies


This edited collection brings together essays presenting an interdisciplinary dialogue between theatre and performance and the fields of care ethics, care studies, health and social care. The book advances our understanding of performance as a mode of care, challenging existing debates in this area by re-thinking the caring encounter as a performed, embodied experience and interrogating the boundaries between care practice and performance. Through an examination of a wide range of different care performances drawn from interdisciplinary and international settings, the book interrogates how performance might be understood as caring or uncaring, careless or careful, and correlatively how care can be conceptualised as artful, aesthetic, authentic or even 'fake' and 'staged'.


'... 13 rigorous essays that utilize theory, analysis, and critique to interrogate "care as embodied knowledge, and care as emotional labor" (p. 3). The collection effectively complicates discourse around philosophies of care, allowing space for the critical considerations of age, gender, abilities, and memories.'
(Reprinted with permission from Choice Reviews. All rights reserved. Copyright by the American Library Association.)

'This book is an invaluable addition to the relevance of our modality and contains many crossovers with which our practice is affiliated... The global COVID-19 pandemic witnessed the power that the arts hold in keeping
people creative, playful and, most importantly, connected. Care is ultimately about our relationship with others. This book is tantamount for exploring how and why it is so important to enmesh the arts within the caring professions.'


Introduction: caring performance, performing care - Amanda Stuart Fisher

Part I Performing interrelatedness

1 Care ethics and improvisation: can performance care? - Maurice Hamington
2 Towards an aesthetics of care - James Thompson
3 Performing tenderness: fluidity and reciprocity in the performance of caring in Fevered Sleep's Men & Girls Dance - Amanda Stuart Fisher

Part II Care-filled performance

4 Caring beyond illness: an examination of Godder's socially engaged art and participatory dance for Parkinson's work - Sara Houston
5 Convivial theatre: care and debility in collaborations between non-disabled and learning disabled theatre makers - Dave Calvert
6 Road care - Jen Archer-Martin and Julieanna Preston

Part III Care deficits

7 Clean Break: a practical politics of care - Caoimhe McAvinchey
8 Performing a museum of living memories: beholding young people's experiences and expressions of care through oral history performance - Kathleen Gallagher and Rachel Turner-King
9 'Still Lives': Syrian displacement and care in contemporary Beirut - Ella Parry-Davies

Part IV Care as performance

10 Verbatim practice as research with care-experienced young people: an 'aesthetics of care' through aural attention - Sylvan Baker and Maggie Inchley
11 Acts of care: applied drama, 'sympathetic presence' and person-centred nursing - Matt Jennings, Pat Deeny and Karl Tizzard-Kleister
12 Taking care of the laundry in care homes - Jayne Lloyd
13 Performing the 'aesthetics of care' - James Thompson


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

James Thompson is Professor of Applied Theatre at the University of Manchester

Performing care

Edited by Amanda Stuart Fisher, James Thompson

Paperback £20.00 / $29.95

Hardcover £25.00 / $36.95

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