New Theatre Quarterly



Kinds of Place at Bore Place: Site-Specific Performance and the Rules of Spatial Behaviour


Fiona Wilkie 

Abstract

Following her survey of site-specific performance companies and their understanding of their work and its circumscriptions in NTQ70, Fiona Wilkie here proposes that places as such can be characterized in terms of differing sets of rules in dialogue with one another. She examines one place in particular in order to suggest some principles for approaching site-specific performance. Various spatial experiences – visual, physical, and mythical – are read through a range of attempts to theorize our relationships with space (including Foucault's heterotopia and de Certeau's pedestrian tactics). Moving away from more mundane examples of site ‘dos’ and ‘don'ts’, Fiona Wilkie expands the notion of spatial rules to develop two related concepts – the repertoire and the inner rule – that offer complex ways of imagining and articulating the rule-bound site. Finally, she suggests that site-specific performance meanings emerge out of a process of negotiation between three sets of rules: those of the site, the performance, and the spectators. Fiona Wilkie is currently completing a PhD thesis (provisionally entitled Constructing Meaning/Performing Place: Site-Specific Performance in Contemporary Britain) at the University of Surrey, from which article is drawn.