A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology


The Secret Art of the Performer

by Eugenio Barba and Nicola Savarese

Edited and compiled by Richard Gough

The first edition, published by CPR and Routledge, 1991

SKU: 9780415053082 Category:


The first edition of the Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology, brought into existence by CPR as described by Eugenio Barba inside the cover: “Without the insight, determination and courage of the Centre for Performance Research…this book would not have come about”.

It  is a totally unique, lavishly illustrated sourcebook on Western and non-Western theatre. Most research in the west is concerned with naturalism and psychological realism in acting, this book focuses on the craft of the actor. It examines action in any heightened context – from combat to religion and ritual. The result of ten years’ research by Eugenio Barba and the International School of Theatre Anthropology in Denmark, the Dictionary aims to expand our knowledge of the possibilities of the scenic body, and of the spectator’s response to the dynamics of performance. It includes practical sections on balance, opposition and energy, and discusses such issues as, The Text and the Stage, The Dilated Body, and Energetic Language. The visual essay of photographs, drawings and diagrams which runs parallel to the text is skilfully constructed to complement the textual argument. Vital reading for students of contemporary theatre theory.

A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology subtly juxtaposes visual demonstrations of the performer’s craft, from a wealth of Oriental and Occidental sources, to uncover knowledge of action in the heightened context of performance – from combat to religion and ritual. Whereas most Western research is concerned with naturalism and psychological realism in acting, the Dictionary focuses on the actor’s arduous and eclectic craft. More than just a dictionary, however, this is a handbook for theatre practitioners and a guide for students and scholars of transcultural performance.

Additional information

Weight 1.277 kg