Performance and Religion

Profile of the official working group "Performance and Religion" under the auspices of International Federation for Theatre Research. Get active membership here: https://www.firt-if

Members: 34
Latest Activity: Feb 2, 2018

Statement of Purpose

Performance and Religion

Working group of the IFTR (approved in Osaka, August 2011) 



Mission Statement


This working group seeks to examine the interconnection between the forms, institutions, practices, traditions and impulses of religion and theatrical performance. We seek ways of examining how performance and religion have come into conversation, cooperation and conflict, both historically and in the present.


We wish to place our work at the intersection of the scholarly traditions of theatre studies and the study of religion. Both are committed to the critical inquiry of their material, and both are committed the joint participation of scholars from all corners of the world. This group is open to members from all national and cultural backgrounds, and it interests itself in the world’s religious, spiritual, and performative traditions.


Both religion and performance are, in our view, sets of social and cultural practices that have a profound and long-lasting importance to those involved in them. Because these practices are so important, we are committed to a nonsectarian inquiry of them. We assume no particular faith or religious affiliation for our members or our work.


Topics of interest might include (but are not limited to):


• The use of performance within religious practices (i.e., ritual or spirituality) and its relationships to secular performance

• The interactions between structures of religious institutions and theatres, politically, economically, or legally

• Traditions of religious antipathy towards the theatre, and vice versa

• The secularity of performative aesthetics and ways in which this has been challenged

• Attempts to bridge religious divisions by means of performance

• The nature of the theatrical spectator compared to the religious worshipper or congregant, as well as the theatrical performer as compared to the religious practitioner or celebrant

• The transcendent or supernatural in performance

• A comparative analysis of religion and theatre as phenomenological and/or epistemological systems

• Religious performances, including as an ecological engagement or as a “theatre” of the oppressed

Those who are interested in more information or possibly joining the IFTR working group for active membership should contact the converners: Joshua Edelman and Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen at

Discussion Forum

This group does not have any discussions yet.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Performance and Religion to add comments!

Comment by Babel Studio on June 9, 2015 at 5:32am

Form of Soul – Motimaru Dance Company 10days intensive butoh workshop , 24th of August- 2nd of September, Santorini island, Greece

About the Workshop:
 100,000years ago, when Homo sapiens emerged on this planet, the first human art has emerged in the dark cave, where eyes cannot see. What they were seeing with the eyes of the body-mind is the depth of our unconscious. Times change, but this must be a fundamental principle of human art.   
 Our everyday life passes, eating, working, or dancing, within a limited cage, burying rich nature within us. Educations, traditions, or even learning dance could mold various forms of cages. Free improvisation could also end up struggling in the same cage. But when we observe forests carefully, so many varieties of forms and qualities of plants, flowers, stones, winds, and sounds astonish us. This workshop is an invitation for diving into the unknown forest of our body-mind, discovering unlimited movements and qualities within us, and transforming the personal journey into universal poems.

YouTube link:

(The scenes in the video with view to the sea have taken place at Babel Studio, the place where the workshop will be done)

Workshop menu:

① Whitening (Returning to a neutral body-mind) 

- Yoga asana

- Body-scanning
- Joint[ing]
- Space-capturing
② Basic movements

- Standing
- Walking

- Twisting
- Standing and sinking
- Falling and re-standing
- Creation of body parts (hands, eyes, back, arms, legs)

③ Metamorphose
③-1 Physical Level
- Different textures and qualities of body

③-2 Meta-physical Level
- Embodying visual images (paintings, video arts, natural elements)
- Embodying sounds

④ Creating performance

- Duo-group play
- Object play
- Relationship with music, objects, and costumes
- Coming into the space, disappearing from the space
- Composition and structured improvisation

During 10days workshops, there will be talking and in-edit video from direct fieldwork researches on traditional and ritual dances of Bali, south India, Nepal as well as butoh.

Duration of the workshop: 24th of August - 2nd  of September , 10 days, 5 hours a day, total 50 hours

(There is the possibility to participate for a shorter period of time.For more info please contact us at the e mail listed below)

Cost of the workshop: 370 euro (early birds - for reservations until 1st of July)
Cost for accommodation and food: 370 euro
The participants will stay in traditional architecture studios just above the main practice hall, where the workshop will take place. Accommodation will be shared. The rooms have view to the sea and the beach is just one minute by foot under the studio :-) The food package contains of one rich breakfast, one full meal and cold herbs and fruits during the day.We will cook Greek cuisine together by turns with fresh vegetables from the island.

(For reservations after the  1st of July the price will change. It will be 420 euro for the workshop and 400 euro for accommodation and food)
To reserve your seat a pre-pay amount (non refundable) of 80 euro is required.

Limited number of participants.

Information - Entries: Tel. 0030 6933475651, 0030 6936842856

facebook: Motimaru

Comment by Neil Ellis Orts on June 27, 2014 at 12:36pm
Comment by Luke Jordan on June 3, 2014 at 4:45am

Comment by Neil Ellis Orts on February 1, 2014 at 7:39pm

despite the inactivity of this group, I'll go ahead and post my vimeo page. I just uploaded, in two parts, a video of a short performance i directed last summer, based upon writings by Christian mystics.

Comment by Neil Ellis Orts on September 21, 2013 at 8:13pm

notes from an informal presentation i gave on theological aesthetics and performance/live art:

Comment by Neil Ellis Orts on June 25, 2013 at 10:03am
Comment by Neil Ellis Orts on March 5, 2013 at 11:44am

This seems to be an inacctive group. Still, if there are any people here at all, I'd like to draw your attention to my work here in Houston which has roots in faith and religion. My performance company blog is a good place to start:

Comment by Grace Exhibition Space on May 6, 2011 at 1:34pm
The LUOTAIN comment sound very beautiful. AABier are sisters who collaborate and explore the mystery of connected souls.
I hope to see 'Girl in a Bathtub'
Comment by Grace Exhibition Space on May 6, 2011 at 1:31pm

From Jill McDermid:

I just made a performance in the Transmuted Festival in Mexico City where I carried a cross on my back from the Zocolo main square to the X-Teresa Contemporary Art Musem. I had two angel assistants helping.

Inside the museum, I stood on the cross, put a metal crown of thorns on my head and pierced a bag of black blood to drip down my face and body. I climbed down from the cross to the front of a stage and drowned myself 3 times.

I walked under a frescoe of God and Angels and all and had a conversation with God, asking him why he had a son and not a daughter. I climed a ladder to be closer to God, took a long red ribbon from inside of me, and used the ribbon to tie a nun to a cross and held it over a light shining to God. I placed the cross & nun on the light and left.

It was very emotional and I was crying while talking to God. I didn't expect to cry, it just came out. 

Religion is such a powerful concept when you have been raised in a religious household. It hits our cores so deeply, and it's so personal as to how each of us relates to our religions. 


Comment by LUOTAIN-CrossArtsCompany on December 14, 2010 at 6:50am

Currently working with a project 'The Girl in the Bathtub' which is inspired by the art of Butoh. It is a sensorial examination of 'twin'souls (dont know if the right expression for the word). The piece is based on a story and thesis which were made by our company's member, writer Essi Kummu. She created it during the rehealsals, through watching us dancing butoh midst all the old scenic elements.

It has been very interesting to deal with these matters of soles connected to each other. As a dancer and an interpretator of them I somethimes felt like they really existed, these characters, souls, I felt strongly connected to them.

Something I considered very normal and natural.




Sponsors & Partners


© 2019   Created by Caden Manson (Network Curator).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service