CDTPS Colloquium #3

When and Where

Monday, February 13, 2023 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Walden Room
Helen Phelan Gardiner Playhouse
79 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario


On 13 February 2023, the CDTPS will host its third colloquium of this academic year! Dr. Christine Balt and Dr. Douglas Eacho will present their research projects. We invite the CDTPS community and interested friends to join us. Light refreshments will be provided.   

Minor Desires and Urban Feelings: Exploring Toronto Youth’s ‘Right to the City’ through a Drama-Based Research Methodology
Christine Balt

This presentation explores the affordances of harnessing drama-based research methods in examining youth’s ‘right to the city’ during the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency (Lefebvre 1996). Using ‘auto-topography’ (Heddon 2007) as a performance-oriented methodological prompt, the research considers how a right to the city was summoned, imagined and articulated by youth in three Toronto District School Board classrooms amid the alienation and isolation of Ontario’s second COVID lockdown. Specifically, the presentation attends to how auto-topography brought the ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ city into the virtual classroom, via Deleuze and Guattari’s (1985) concept of ‘the minor,’ to contest majoritarian constructions of ‘nature,’ ‘culture’, and urban citizenship in Toronto. In particular, such ‘minor’ imaginings of the city, made appreciable by the speculative and affective capacities of theatre and performance genres, formed part of a broader politics of co-flourishing desired by the youth, in which their perceived right to the city rested on feelings of enchantment, generosity, gratitude, strangeness, surprise and hilarity– and, crucially, obligation and reciprocity – in these times of pandemic and ecological instability.

Theatre Without Workers: Automatic Performance after 2008 
Douglas Eacho

How should we understand the relationship between “algorithmic” performance, robot performance, and large-scale postdramatic “theatres without actors”? And why have all three genres erupted into wide practice and commentary over the past decade? Where previous scholars have pointed either to technical development or to theoretical concerns with posthuman agencies, I argue that we should historically situate these cases of automatic performance in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Recognition of structural weakness in global capitalism has become widespread. Our labour produces less in the world than we think it should, and new technologies have not supplemented that lack. This stagnation is of central concern to performance, a form in which labour is put on view. In this talk, I contend that celebrated ‘nonhuman’ works by artists like Heiner Goebbels, Rimini Protokoll, and Annie Dorsen are concerned with problems of capital rather than problems of the species. Together, this curious trend illustrates a general social drive towards automaticity as desperate, fantastical, and nevertheless pervasive in its embodied effects: a condition that constitutes our present. 


79 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario