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 was originally intended to culminate in a performance-research festival in Santa Barbara, California, USA. While this plan was altered by the pandemic and various other geopolitical crises that continued to affect theatres across the globe, the project culminated instead in a three-day hybrid symposium hosted in Bozeman, Montana, USA. The symposium featured hybrid presentations from seven theatre community and student companies documenting their processes of adapting and performing Cymbeline, as well as the global virtual launch of most of the full-length performances on the Cymbeline in the Anthropocene Youtube channel. 

The archive will collect three years of talks and discussions by project participants 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 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 various collaborating theatres and to see their progress through this project, please see the Archive and Places pages in our navigation menu. Please note that some of the original participants had to withdraw for reasons beyond their control, and that two student theatre groups from the University of Exeter and Cornell University also participated in the final symposium.

Timeline

Update: this timeline was altered from the original plan owing to the cancellation of the 2020 theatre season, and further changes necessitated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and many other geopolitical crises such as the war in Eastern Europe. 

• 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 collaborating performances of Cymbeline will take place in 2021 and the first half of 2022. The project will culminate in the #CymbelineAnthropocene Peformance Festival, a reunion and research symposium at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, USA, in July 2022.

For the festival, each collaborating theatre will provide video recordings of their final productions, as well as contributing short presentations about the ecodramaturgical process and local reception of their productions during the symposium. Production videos and live-streamed symposium discussions will be made available on the Cymbeline in the Anthropocene Youtube channel.

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