Fiona Graham’s Performing Dramaturgy is the first in-depth study on New Zealand dramaturgy. As specialists who provide critical feedback to performance makers, dramaturges are powerful agents of artistic change. Published by Playmarket, New Zealand’s national playwright agency and script advisory service, Performing Dramaturgy is a catalyst work that explores the vibrant nature of creative collaboration between drama and dance.
Charting the history and evolution of dramaturgy practice internationally and locally, Graham highlights the emergence of a unique Pacific and New Zealand dramaturgy that weaves contemporary practice with Māori customs.
Informed by thirty-five years of performance development experience, Graham’s Performing Dramaturgy offers multiple case studies and practical exercises for students of all dance and theatre disciplines. One such case study is Graham’s work with Auckland dance company Touch Compass. Alongside choreographer Carol Brown, she explores the fluid process of working with the dancers, the text, the sound and the architecture to create the interdisciplinary performance of Slip: I’m not falling, I’m just hanging on for as long as you’ll hold me in Triple Bill, 2011. Stephen Olsen reviewed the performance as ‘an elemental tour-de-force . . . with the power of integrated dance . . . muscular choreography and musical composition’.
Promoting the art of artistic collaboration, Performing Dramaturgy explores how all creative work – from ballets and musicals, to realist plays and exhibitions – have their own internal dramaturgy. Graham argues for readers to establish dramaturgy as a crucial component of the creative process.