Methodology and Timeline

Methodology and Timeline

Creating an Archive

Cymbeline Anthropocene’s main goal is to create an online open-access research archive that will document and exchange the discoveries of individual Cymbeline performances and broaden their collective ecological scope. The archive will track rehearsal, production, and reception experiences and artifacts, and invite performers, spectators, and website visitors to share comments about individual theatre events and their connections.

The project’s knowledge-creation process will culminate in a performance-research festival in Santa Barbara, titled the Cymbeline Walk. This will consist of one live local production and screen video recordings of the seven distance performances for project participants and public spectators. Audience responses will be gathered through empirical fieldwork and posted on the archive. The archive will also record talks and discussions by project participants, including a guest respondent, in a concurrent research symposium, along with reviews by local media and comments by internet visitors.

The aesthetic, critical, and material insights collected by the research archive will create a compact global vision of dwelling in the Anthropocene, while facilitating personal and cultural understanding of the era’s impacts across global borders.

Collaborating with Community Theatres

The ten community-based theatres the project is working with are exceptions to big-budget companies’ avoidance of eco-Shakespeare. They will be joining what until now is a small number of student or semi-professional productions which have focused on raising awareness about risks to local environments and human and non-human residents. Their engagement prioritizes an “ethics of proximity” and care originally established by place-based, first-wave environmentalist writers. While this local attention is indispensable, it is limited in its ability to address larger, global ecological problems. The participation by ten community theatres from seven countries and five continents bridges this gap by uniting multiple local perspectives across the globe, thus expanding the project’s scale.

To learn about our nine collaborating theatres and to see their progress through this project, please see the Archive and Places pages in our navigation menu.

Timeline

Update: this timeline has changed from the original plan owing to the cancellation of the 2020 theatre season, and further changes may be necessitated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Please continue to check our website for further updates as they become available. 

• 2020-21

Participating directors and dramaturges gathered for a team meeting in February 2020 to explore Cymbeline’s eco­theatrical possibilities and define the project’s research methods and objectives.
The meeting took place in Santa Barbara, California, as this is the most central location for collaborators coming from Asia, Australia, North America, and Europe. Over three days, participants gave short presentations (using translators as necessary) about their companies and the environmental contexts of their productions. They discussed the ecodramturgical possibilities of the play, participated in workshopping selected scenes, and concluded with a roundtable that was open to the public (see February 2020 Archive on this website). During the meeting, we were mindful of Theresa J. May’s observation that ecodramaturgy is not a set of pre-determined ideological or aesthetic choices. Rather, it is an intention to connect grass-roots knowledge and self-conscious practices which operate under the ethos of theatrical and environmental awareness (May 2010).

Prior to the team meeting, we hired Ameravant to develop our project website. Methods for preserving and posting comments, artifacts, and reviews from the stage productions on the research archive are in process as companies plan for their rehearsals and productions in various indoor and outdoor formats, and in different media, from early 2021 onwards. The project database of resources on the archive will allow local stakeholders and public visitors to comment on the productions’ eco­theatrical practices and goals, and to compare commonalities and differences among them from a global perspective.

Collaborating directors and dramaturges have begun to contribute interviews and updates about their productions for the archive. The project hashtag (#CymbelineAnthropocene), a Twitter handle @ecocymbeline, and an Instagram account, ecocymbeline, invite social-media responses from the public.

• 2021-22

While dates and schedules will vary, all ten collaborating performances of Cymbeline will take place in 2021 and the first half of 2022. The project will culminate in the Cymbeline Walk, a performance festival and research symposium at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, in autumn 2022.

For the festival, each collaborating theatre will provide video recordings of their final productions for the purpose of creating the Cymbeline Walk, as well as contributing short presentations about the ecodramaturgical process and local reception of their productions during the symposium that follows the Cymbeline Walk. Project programme notes for each production (including a live performance by the Lit Moon Theatre Company) will inform spectators of distant and local onsite contexts, while empirical audience fieldwork will record opinions (via interviews, comment cards, and social media), subsequently transcribed for the archive. At the concurrent research symposium, also open to the Santa Barbara community, project participants will discuss their productions, and a guest specialist will assess their eco­theatrical significance.

The project archive will preserve videos or summaries of these exchanges, as well as the Cymbeline Walk, for collaborating companies and audiences, website visitors, and future scholars.