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 eight 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 eight community theatres from six countries and four continents bridges this gap by uniting multiple local perspectives across the globe, thus expanding the project’s scale.

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


Update: this timeline may be delayed due to theatre season postponements occasioned by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Please continue to check our website for further updates as they become available. 

• Year One (2020)

In year one, participating directors and dramaturges will gather for a team meeting to explore Cymbeline’s eco­theatrical possibilities and define the project’s research methods and objectives.
The meeting will take 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 from each locale will give short talks (using translators as necessary) about the contexts and dramaturgy of their productions, and participate in the planning discussions, workshopping, and a roundtable that will be open to the public. During the meeting and all ensuing discussions, we will be guided by Theresa J. May’s observation that ecodramaturgy is not a set of pre-determined ideological or aesthetic choices, but an intention to connect grass-roots knowledge and self-conscious practices which operate under the ethos of theatrical and environmental awareness (May 2010).

Following the team meeting, a professional will be hired to develop the website that hosts our project archive. Guidelines for preserving and posting comments, artifacts, and reviews from the stage productions on the research archive will have been established at the team meeting. The resulting database of resources will be researched and posted on the archive, allowing 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.

Over the course of years one and two, collaborating directors and dramaturges will be responsible for contributing regular updates about their productions for the archive. A project hashtag (#CymbelineAnthropocene) will invite social-media responses from the public.

• Year Two (2021)

While dates and schedules will vary, all eight collaborators’ performances of Cymbeline will take place in year two. Additionally, the project will culminate in the Cymbeline Walk, a performance festival and research symposium at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, in Winter 2021.

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 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.