Gyllian Raby: Papers


Teaching Philosophy

Studio Teaching

My teaching philosophy integrates my workaday experience of group dynamics with Theatre Artists, Boards of Directors and Planning Committees with a hands on approach to art, accompanied by a theoretical interest in joining theory to practice.
Rather than emphasizing a singular process, I work to create an environment where theatrical form and theory can be explored using a synaesthetic vocabulary of tools which students should eventually claim. I encourage interaction with artists of the "real world" in order for them to gauge the real usefulness of the skills they are learning.

My first objective is for students to obtain a grasp of the approaches and tools available to them. I assume that people vary: that some can become good "all-rounders" while others work best in a particular style. [Download entire "Teaching Philosophy", pdf ]

Theory and Dramaturgy

"Through the Looking Glass: The Relationship between Theory and Practice"

What is the state of dramaturgy within the academic community?

1. A loose theory
When I or other workers talk & write about dramaturgy we tend to focus on
anecdotal specifics about particular projects and their inherent challenges,
sharing the techniques and strategies and research sources that we
used to create the territories and to navigate through them.
[Download entire "Theory and Dramaturgy" paper, pdf ]

Seneca's Trojan women

Identity and Survival in the Aftermath of War

Everybody knows somebody who has been directly affected by war, and has thoughts about the radical ways in which one's sense of one's place in the world is affected by war. My mise en scene for Trojan Women (Seneca, 1996) grew from the proemise that Troy represents any decimated culture whose woemn face butchery and assimilation. The Cheyenne nation has a saying that sums it up ... [Download entire Trojan Women paper, pdf ]

Experiment with an air pump

From Pre-Luddites to the Human Genome Project: Smashing Frames in Shelagh Stephenson's An Experiment With an Air Pump

Shelagh Stephenson's millenial play An Experiment With an Air Pump tests the Enlightenment meta-narrative of Science by taking a multiplicity of points of view and setting them in dialogue. In the process, numerous theatrical frameworks are contrasted or dismantled: frames of stage convention, dramatic time, theatrical metaphor, social imaginary and dramatic metonym.... [Download entire Air Pump paper, pdf ]

hip hop zip zop

The Creativity of Improvisers

The creativity of improvisers is regarded with awe by people who believe themselves less witty, spontaneous, charismatic, less able to tell tales, shape shift, collaborate in teams and inspire others with imagination.

On the other hand, many dismiss improvisation as trivial, formulaic entertainment that panders to the lowest common denominator. After all, everyone can do it, and it isn't far elevated above child's play.

Both views are right, because improvisation is exercise for human being, as surely as a nautilus machine works out muscles...[Download entire Hip Hop paper, pdf ]

Looping the Loop

Making Knowledge and Performance into One Culture

Separation of knowledge and performance
There is an artificial separation between academic and production staff in university theatre departments, and between theatre policy-makers and artists in the profession. The separation of knowers from performers generates a sort of "bewildered anxiety" about the ability of theatre to survive. I want to address the source of this anxiety, and to propose that certain measures can help allay it.

Uncertainty about the relevance of both theory and practice to our modern situation seems to be triggered variously by the funding cutbacks, the decline in audience, the franchise concept of theatre or the approach of virtual entertainment...[Download entire Looping the Loop paper, pdf ]

Pourquoi Le Theatre?

Abstract for “Knowledge and Performance are One Culture”

This paper attaches a theoretical framework to a series of convictions I developed during twelve years of practice as an artistic director, playwright, director, administrator, impresario and grass-roots collaborator.

I want to draw some parallels between these different areas of practise, but I don't intend to unveil any "secret" that will improve performance in all these areas. In company with contemporary philosophers such as Dewey and Rorty, who reject the modernist drive to create a Summae, to create a world embracing system which comprehends all areas of experience, I am sceptical that a single theory of practise could encompass the different relationships to artists, government and public implied by the different roles I have experienced.

[Download entire Abstract paper, pdf ]