I am a performance artist, writer, director, and activist. My research interests include live art, solo performance, feminist and lesbian theatre, ageing, performance and human rights and the relationships between performance and public engagement.
Through my experiments with performance as a means of public engagement, I have developed a number of methods and strategies including the Long Table, Porch Sitting, Care Café, Public Studios, the Library of Performing Rights, the FeMUSEm, and my performance persona Tammy WhyNot. I was a partner in Staging Human Rights, a People's Palace Project that uses performance practice to explore human rights in women’s prisons in Brazil and the UK, and Director for PSi#12: Performing Rights, an international conference and festival on performance and human rights held at Queen Mary in 2006.
I continue to curate inclusive public debate at conferences and institutions internationally through the use of these initiatives. More information can be found on my website, Public Address Systems.
Together with my long-time collaborator Peggy Shaw, I create and tour Split Britches’ productions. Prior to Covid-19, our latest performance Last Gasp was set to premiere at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City April 2020, and at the Barbican in London June 2020. Set against a back drop of climate catastrophe and political heartbreak, Last Gasp is a call and response to the precarities of aging and of our age. Last Gasp is two separate but interdependent solo performances, woven together through the timeless pairing of Echo and Narcissus. Last Gasp is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts. Research residencies for development of Last Gasp were completed with the Guthrie Theatre, Metal Culture, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, the Barbican, and Artec at University 8 Paris.
Other recent performances include Retro(pe)rspective, and Unexploded Ordnances (UXO). Retro(per)spective is a medley of 40 years of Split Britches’ performances that made the politics of gender and sexuality and the humor of human relations accessible to all ages and persuasions. The performance uses excerpts from Split Britches performance history to dovetail and challenge current public discourses. UXO uses unexploded ordnances as a metaphor for unexplored potential in elders, and public performance as a platform for public conversation in a fraught political landscape. UXO premiered at La Mama (NYC) and enjoyed a tour throughout the UK including a showcase at the Barbican. UXO continues to tour throughout the UK and internationally.
I co-wrote and directed Peggy Shaw’s Ruff, an exploration of Shaw’s experience of surviving a stroke. Commissioned by PS122 (NYC) and Out North (Alaska), Ruff unpacks Shaw’s ageing, lesbian body, exploring issues of memory, personal response to extreme circumstance and the place of the imagination in the neuroscience of memory loss and structural damage. Ruff visually and verbally translates Shaw’s internal experience of illness and ageing into an external assemblage of her multifaceted, creatively capable, ageing brain. In the development of Ruff, we began experimenting with Green Screening technology in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science at QMUL, and discovered it was a therapeutic, rehabilitative technique for people recovering from strokes. Through a collective performance workshop format and Chroma-key technologies the project encourages Stroke Survivors to use embodied enactment of fantasy worlds as a tool for therapeutic rehabilitation and well-being in front of an audience to produce a shared experience.
I have explored ageing and stage fright in Performing in Agony (2009), a solo performance based on Miroslav Krleza’s Behind the Mask, created through an international collaboration with Croatian academic, Dr. Lada C Feldman, and British director and QMUL Lecturer in Performance, Julia Bardsley. I developed Getting On, a back stage tour, a workshop guide for dealing with elders on issues of ‘agefright’ created in collaboration with Leslie Hill and Helen Paris at Stanford University.
My latest solo performance What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex, marked the practical exploration of my current research on ageing. This is a practice-based project that collaborates with older adults through interviews, performance workshops and public presentations in order to research the effects of ageing upon people’s desire for, and ability to, obtain sexual pleasure and intimacy. So far, the project has conducted workshops with community groups in London, Croatia, Poland and New York and utilised my persona, Tammy WhyNot, to facilitate engagement and to encourage performance as means of dissemination. Tammy took part in a series of performances, workshops and public interventions as part of the Institute of Sexology, a Wellcome Trust initiative (2015) and has established her own YouTube channel for people over 55.
I have been a Hunt Scammon Distinguished Artist at William and Mary College, a Penny Stamps Distinguished Lecturer as part of her Martin Luther King, Jr.-Cesar Chavez -Rosa Parks Visiting Professorship at the University of Michigan and visiting artist at universities including Harvard, Wellesley, UCLA and Universities of Texas and Tasmania. I have performed and lectured extensively throughout the US and UK as well as China, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and Argentina. In 2014, I was made a Guggenheim Fellow and a major publication dedicated of my work and life, co-authored with Jen Harvie and in conjunction with Intellect Live and the Live Art Development Agency, was published in 2015.
I was a 2016-2019 Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Fellow. As a company, Split Britches won the Innovative Theatre Awards (USA) Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in 2017, and I was awarded the WOW Women in Creative Industries ‘Fighting the Good Fight’ award in 2018. In 2019 I was awarded an International Chair at Artec Paris 8 University at the National Institute for the History of Art, Paris, and the Queen Mary Centre for Public Engagement Hawking Award for Developed Understanding of Public Engagement.
Image captions from top:
Promotional image for Last Gasp, taken by Christa Holka (19 June 2019)
Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, NY NY; photo taken by Theo Cote (5 January 2018)
I am in post for 6 months each year and teach 2 practice-based modules such as DRA310 Performance Composition (undergraduate) and DRA7701 Independent Practical Project (postgraduate). These modules require students to develop a line of inquiry, methodologies and a project outcome based on modes of contemporary performance while also setting up and running a performance space for their work. The modules also:
- require a commitment to collaborate with and offer support for colleagues
- explore ways to innovate in line with contemporary performance practices and artist survival strategies
- strengthen professional skills and increased employability, providing professional skills and preparing students for employment in the industry
I also develop extracurricular initiatives that focus on innovative means of livelihood for independent artists and scholars. This has led to the development of Air Supply, a creative professional development scheme for finalists and recent graduates which provides training and experience in events management and production.
- Live art
- Solo performance
- Feminist and lesbian theatre
- Performance and human rights
- Relationships between performance and public engagement
My on-going research on New Methodologies for Public Conversation involves experimenting with creating comfortable spaces for public discussion, such as Long Tables, Care Cafes, Public Studios, and Porch Sittings, which resist hierarchies, foster inclusion, and value lived experience as expertise. Using the unbuilt architecture of domestic space, often considered a ‘feminized’ realm, Weaver intersects and interrupts stilted modes of conversation and intimidating institutions. These research interests are housed within my project called Public Address Systems. With the performance project Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) I am exploring the ways performance can facilitate public conversation, creating a new protocol called the Situation Room. I am currently developing ‘Care Radio’ which uses radio as a format for podcasts, audio segments and live events to interrogate issues of care. Originally created for HANDLE WITH CARE, a Wellcome Collection Late Night Extravaganza, July 2018 and now adapted for Radio Local in collaboration with artists, Hunt and Darton, (Manchester and St Helens) and as podcasts on the Tammy WhyNot YouTube Channel.
Connected to Public Address Systems, my project Know How uses the ethics of care as a theoretical basis for dialogic work and is a series of performance based research projects that seek to research the nature of embodied knowledge and lived experience in relation to academic research. This research is applied to develop egalitarian dialogue frameworks in order to democratize and enhance cross-class and cross disciplinary communication.
My project Performance as a Tool for Stroke Recovery couples participatory performance methods with interactive technology to help stroke survivors explore physical and social identities, allowing them to imagine new ways of being. The project frames disability as a source for technological and performative innovation, an ethos which has wide-ranging applications for radical technological and therapeutic advancement, and shifted paradigms around neurodiversity.
This project began in 2011, employing the loss of memory and experience incurred from a stroke by Peggy Shaw, Weaver’s collaborator, as an aesthetic framework to create a new performance work, Ruff (2011-present). In 2017, serious development and application of a workshop structure and interactive scenography began, approaching the project with the intention to merge interaction design, cognitive science, performance practices, and qualitative research. The project seeks to help Stroke Survivors envisage and enact their future after their stroke through movement and expressive, performative therapy assisted by live motion capture, using Chroma-key technologies. Abstract representation in scenography is used to boost active imagination. Interactive digital scenography was used as a real-time adaptive tool for interactive performance. This works to physically and mentally engage stroke survivors in enacting fantasy scenes of new possible worlds for their lives after a stroke.
In 2014 I submitted two projects to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), Democratising Technology and Public Address Systems:
Democratising Technology (2007-2009)
Research Project Description
Interdisciplinary collaboration involving performance artist, Lois Weaver; cognitive scientist, Prof. Pat Healey (School of Engineering and Computer Science QMUL; media arts strategist, Gini Simpson; and interaction design researcher, Dr. Ann Light (Visiting Research Fellow, School of Engineering and Computer Science QMUL), examining the effectiveness of performance techniques in (1) enabling people outside the design world to envision alternative social arrangements made possible by technological developments and (2) producing new techniques in design.
To investigate how performance methodology can: facilitate elder engagement with transformations engendered by technology; contribute to methodologies of participatory design.
Peer Assessment/Quality Indicators and Research Impact
Awarded £183,000 from AHRC/EPSRC and £40,000 from Arts Council England.
Research Team’s thedissemination of findings through a DVD, conference papers, peer-reviewed chapters and articles.
Awarded ACM Creativity & Cognition Award for best paper promoting social creativity (2009).
Continued performance collaborations with Association of Greater London Older Women resulting in a Community Cohesion Award from the London Health Commission (2010).
Continuation of arts-led engineering project with Loraine Leeson and The Geezers that tests effectiveness of tidal turbines in the Thames www.active-energylondon.org (2008-2013).
Workshops with: Elder Groups including Bow Women’s Choir, Geezers, S-AGE, Sundial Centre, AGLOW; interactive design students and professionals; Participatory Design Conference attendees (2007-09)
Conference Paper: ‘Geezers, Turbines, Fantasy Personas: Making the Everyday into the Future’, ACM Creativity & Cognition Conference (October 2009).
Workshop: Performance Methods for Engaging in Design, Participatory Design Conference (October 2008).
Long Table on Technology and Democracy, The Not Quite Yet Exhibit, London (2008) and Participatory Design Conference (October 2008).
The Not Quite Yet Exhibit, Space, London (January 2008).
Website: http://www.thenotquiteyet.net (January 2008) archived at http://www.spacestudios.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/the-not-quite-yet
The Not Quite Yet Symposium (February 2008).
The Not Quite Yet DVD (resource for designers, activists, policy makers) (September 2008).
Public Address Systems (2008-2013)
Research Project Description
A project that experiments with the use of performance methodologies as a mean of
facilitating public engagement through three interlocking spheres of inquiry:
Performance – development of practices addressing political issues, exploring identity through persona and cultivating methodologies for public dialogue.
Place – transformation of recognizable institutional forms into sites where a multiplicity of voices can be collected and deployed as forms of art and activism.
Everyday – development of practices associated with the domestic and the marginal to create new and more inclusive formats for public discourse.
To identify, develop and disseminate performance based methods for effective public engagement and knowledge exchange.
To develop public enquiry into age, gender, sexuality, urban redevelopment and participatory democracy.
Peer Assessment/Quality Indicators
Edwin Booth Award for contribution to American Theatre and Performance (2012).
Awarded Rockefeller Map grant ($20,000) and £30,000 from Wellcome Trust for development/tour of Ruff (2013).
Awarded $42,000 for Lost Lounge (2010).
What Tammy Needs To Know about Getting Old and Having Sex commissioned by Chelsea Theatre (2008); profiled in Extravagant Age Exhibition, Zagreb (2013).
Library of Performing Rights redeveloped and installed in Study Room of Live Art Development Agency (2008-2010).
FeMUSEum commissioned by the AHRC-funded Performance Matters (2011).
Alternative conferencing consultancies: PSi (2009); ASTR (2012).
Awarded £10,000 to develop templates for public engagement (2011).
- org(this website is no longer in use)
47 public performances (2008-2013).
Keynotes for two national theatre conferences: USA (2011); Australia (2012).
Miss America published in Texts for Post-Dramatic Performance, ed. Anna Furse (London: Methuen, 2011).
Long Table installed in 26 locations, 8 countries (2008-2013).
Open source templates for Long Table (2011), Card Game (2010) and Creative Hosting (2012).
Development of Latin-American edition of Library of Performing Rights (2012-2013).
Exhibition of FeMUSEum (2011).
Galindo, Rosella & Healey, Patrick & Weaver, Lois & Delbridge, Matthew. (2018). Augmented Embodiment: Developing Interactive Technology for Stroke Survivors. 1-4.
Shaw, Peggy, and Lois Weaver. “Ruff.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, vol. 40, no. 02, 2018, pp. 108–132.
Weaver, Lois; Maxwell, Hannah. ‘Care Café, a Chronology and a Protocol’. Art of Care Special Issue, Scottish Journal of Performance. Ed. Laura Bissell, Laura Gonzalez, Aby Watson. April 2018.
Harvie, Jen; Weaver, Lois. The Only Way Home is Through the Show: Performance Works of Lois Weaver. Ed. Jen Harvie. London: Intellect Ltd, 2016.
Weaver, Lois. ‘Doing Time: a Personal and Practical Account of Making Performance Work in Prisons’. The Applied Theatre Reader. Ed. Prentki and Preston. New York: Routledge, 2009.
with Peggy Shaw ‘Miss America’, in Texts for Post-Dramatic Performance, ed. A. Furse (Methuen, 2011)
‘Still Counting’, in Femmes of Power: Exploding Queer Femininities, ed. U. Dahl (Serpents Tail, 2008)
‘Doing Time’, in The Applied Theatre Reader, ed. T. Prentki and S. Preston (Routledge, 2008)
with H. Freshwater, ‘Foreword’, in Theatre and Audience, ed. Jen Harvie and Dan Rebellato (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
‘A Manifesto for Making Performance About Making Change’, in Staging International Feminisms, ed. S. E. Case and E. Aston (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
Split Britches: Feminist Performance/Lesbian Practice a collection of seven plays written and performed by the Split Britches Company, edited and introduced by Sue Ellen Case (London and New York: Routledge 1997)
Book Cover for The Only Way Home is Through the Show, edited by Jen Harvie and Lois Weaver, photography by Eva Weiss.
My ½ time contract necessitates co-supervisory roles with individual PhD candidates. However I organise other forms of support for the cohort as a whole, including: practice based research workshops and training; artist mentorship opportunities; direct access to artist studios and practice; archives and resources; one-to-one project collaborations with artists and organisations such as Bobby Baker, ArtsAdmin and Live Art Development Agency.
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research. I co-supervised the following successful dissertations:
- Catherine McNamara, ‘The Constitution of Transgender Masculinities through Performance: A Study of Theatre and the Everyday’ (2009)
- Brian Lobel, ‘Playing the Cancer Card: Illness, Performance and Spectatorship’ (2012)
- Mojisola Adebayo, ‘Afri-Queer Theatre: Challenging Homophobia, Re/presenting Black Lesbians and Creating Performance Spaces for Black Queer Togetherness’
- Additional co-supervision includes: Elyssa Livergant, Sarah Jane Mullan, and Melissa Bliss.
Talks, Keynotes, and Conference Contributions (selected)
- Know How, everyday recipes for public conversation graduate seminar as part of commitments as International Chair, ArTeC, Paris 8 University at the National Institute for the History of Art, Paris, 25 Oct 2019
- The Ruff Story, Keynote performance for Story Telling for Health Conference, University of South Wales and at Swansea Bay Health Board Swansea June 27-29 2019
- In Her Own Words, a talk on queer pedagogy, Outburst Queer Arts Festival, Trinity College, Belfast UK Nov 17, 2018
- Artists Talk, University of Sussex, 1 Nov 2017.
- Practice, Participation Politics event and launch at the Live Art Development Agency, March 2017.
- With, For and About Art, Activism and Community, a one day symposium produced by heart of Glass in St Helens, UK of Glass, May 2017.
- This is Not My Beautiful House II, a seminar exploring choice, participation and rights in relation to older people, and exploring the design of social and built communities. This seminar was organised by the Bealtaine Festival and Age and Opportunity, Dublin, May 2017.
- Public Studio: HIV and AIDS, Wellcome Collection, 3 November 2017.
- Sharing the Learning: Artists Residencies in Care Homes at Rich Mix, London Symposium, 5 April 2017.
- Retro(per)spective University of Richmond, December 2017.
- Survival Skills for Desperate Times, ‘How to Talk to People’ with Lois Weaver, Sydney Australia, 7 Oct 2017.
- Ageing in Public: Visibility, Performance and Ritual, Conway Hall, 26 March, 2015 http://cubittartists.org.uk/2015/02/16/public-wisdom-2015-aging-creativity-and-the-public-realm/
- Various panels, roundtables and long tables for Just Like a Woman Festivalcurated by the Live art Development Agency and presented at Abrons Arts Center In NYC, October 23, 24, 25, 2015 and the Chelsea Theatre, London November 13, 14 15, 2015.
- Curated and produced the Peopling the Palaces Festival held in June 2015. This was an excellent opportunity for staff to share research with the rest of the department, students and the public. Utilising our own Drama spaces, the festival rooted public engagement with Drama Research literally within the department while also providing a manageable framework for AiR Supply training.
- Curated Peopling the Palace Projects, a two week festival of public engagement with Drama research and emerging arts practice at QMUL, June 2014
- Presentation on Public Address systems for Symposium of Panorama Festival, Rio di Janeiro, November, 2013
‘Call and Response’ Tour
In 2019 Split Britches undertook a ‘Call and Response Tour’ as a direct reaction to the call from people throughout England for further touring of Split Britches work, and a desire to bridge social chasms in an increasingly divided, disparate landscape. Using UXO to facilitate conversation on Global Movement and Brexit, and Retro(per)spective to aid discussion of gender and feminism, Split Britches embarked on a period of touring using the model of Call and Response, housing sustained conversation in connected engagement activities, like workshops, Porch Sittings, Long Tables, and meet and greets. The legacy and impact of this work is sustained through digital conversation platforms, like a Council of Elders Facebook group, a digital Situation Room, and the Tammy WhyNot YouTube page.
Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Fellowship
I am a 2016-2019 Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Fellow. With this fellowship I experiment with and create comfortable spaces for public discussion, such as Long Tables and Porch Sittings, which resist hierarchies, foster inclusion and value lived experience as expertise. I engage with the public and create hospitable and interpersonal infrastructures that model alternatives for public discourse. Institutional spaces are appropriated to host conversations around gender, sexuality, human rights, urban planning and other crucial flash points for public activism. New public spaces are enacted for egalitarian participation, political action, and to question ingrained institutional boundaries. Using the scaffolding of familiar places coupled with clear protocols for engagement, a recognized framework for social (inter)action is enacted to lend a sense of comfort and safety for those who choose to engage. I create open source protocols for each project, which serve as guidelines for how space is setup and conversation unfolds. I designed the protocols starting from a place of perceived need, looking at public discourse, public gathering, and public space. The projects manipulate the experiential expectation provided by known places to both play into and subvert the ways participants assume they will act. I used the unbuilt architecture of domestic space, often considered a ‘feminized’ realm, to intersect and interrupt stilted modes of conversation and intimidating institutions.
PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
Public Address Systems collects a series of projects including Long Tables, Porch Sittings, Care Cafes, Public Studios, and Situation Rooms. Each of these projects is at its core an engagement with the public. In a period when the nature of ‘the public’ is increasingly contested, Public Address Systems create spaces that are hospitable and open so that alternatives can be modelled and critical questions staged. From broad questions Public Address Systems asks how it is possible to think, and feel, publicly. LONG TABLES, the most widely used of these formats, are performance installations that experiment with using the private form of a dinner party as a structure for public debate. They have engaged artists, activists, academics, advocates and general audiences on subjects such as women in prison, the arts and human rights, and the nature of family. Other Public Address Systems include: Porch Sitting, Care Café, Public Studio, and Care Radio.
Additional Selected Public Engagement Projects Include: FeMUSEum (creator, curator and performer), COMMIT AN ACT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM, HANG LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC, (creator), AIR PROJECT (Artistic Director), DEMOCRATISING TECHNOLOGY (principle investigator, curator, performer), PERFORMING RIGHTS (Artistic Director and co curator), LIBRARY OF PERFORMING RIGHTS (creator and curator).
- Patron and Board of advisors for Live Art Development Agency (LADA)
- Served on board of Chelsea Theatre
- Consultant for live programmes, Wellcome Collection
- Advised National Trust on Public Engagement Activities
Director, writer and performer with Split Britches. The Split Britches archive can be viewed on the Split Britches website, the Hemispheric Institute’s Digital Video Library, and at NYU’s Fales Library. Selected projects written and performed by the company include:
Last Gasp (2020) Last Gasp was set to premiere at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City April 2020, and at the Barbican in London June 2020. Set against a back drop of climate catastrophe and political heartbreak, Last Gasp is a call and response to the precarities of aging and of our age. Last Gasp is two separate but interdependent solo performances, woven together through the timeless pairing of Echo and Narcissus. Last Gasp is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts. Research residencies for development of Last Gasp were completed with the Guthrie Theatre, Metal Culture, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, the Barbican, and Artec at University 8 Paris.
Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), (2018-Present) Combining a Dr. Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring forum for public conversation, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) explores ageing, anxiety, hidden desires and how to look forward when the future is uncertain. Supported by Arts Council England, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Wellcome Trust, University of Richmond, University of Sussex, the Doris Duke Foundation, the Barbican Centre, and Queen Mary University of London. Made in collaboration with an international group of elders through extensive engagement work and workshops, UXO presented work in progress performances at La Mama Theatre, NYC (2016) and the Skirball Center, Los Angeles (2017). Finished performances presented at The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, La Mama Theatre, NYC (January, 2018); Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (March 2018); Live Collision Festival, Dublin Ireland (April 2018); Sligo and Galway Ireland (April 2018); Barbican Centre, London (May 2018); Take Me Somewhere Festival, Glasgow Scotland (May 2018); Time Based Arts Festival, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland Oregon (September 2018).
Retro(per)spective, (2007-Present) (writer and performer) a performed compilation of 30 years of work with Split Britches. Presented at Michigan Women’s Music Festival, Grand Rapids, Michigan (August 2009); Theatre Department, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY (September 2009); Cousins Theatre, University of Richmond, Richmond Virginia (November 2009); UCLA (October 2010), Augsburg College, (November 2010), Swarthmore College, (October 2012) and as the keynote performance for American Association of Theatre Researcher, Nashville (November 2012). Batterseae Arts Centre, London (May 2018), Warehouse9, Copenhagen (June 2018)
Lost Lounge, (2009) (writer, director, performer) a collaboration with Peggy Shaw that is an investigation of what is lost and found when memory and identity are confronted with progress. Commissioned by Dixon Place’s Mono Cane Commission. Funded by New York State Council on the Arts and supported by an Artist Residency at the University of Richmond, funded by University of Richmond Tucker-Boatwright Fine Arts Lecture Fund, The Cultural Affairs Committee and the Modlin Center for the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Further support provided by an Artist Residency at the Hemispheric Institute, New York University, NY. Presented at Dixon Place (December 2009); Outside AiR Festival, People’s Palace, QMUL, London (March 2010); Under the Radar theatre Festival, NYC, (January 2011); Vision and Voices, University of Southern California (September 2011) and as the 25th Anniversary Keynote performance for the American Theatre in Higher Education Conference, Chicago (August, 2011) and the keynote performance for Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies in Brisbane, Australia (July 2012)
Miss America, (2008) (writer, director, performer) a performance co-created and performed with Peggy Shaw that examines the dissolution of the American dream in the context of 1950’s beauty pageant and the 2005 disaster of Hurricane Katrina presented at La Mama ETC, NYC (June 2008); Out on the Edge Festival, Boston (October 2008); Open Eye Figure Theatre, Minneapolis (November 2008); The People’s Place, Queen Mary University of London, London (March 2009); Performance Studies international#15, Zagreb (June 2009). Funded by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant.
Selected PAST PERFORMANCES
SPLIT BRITCHES, THE TRUE STORY (1980); BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1982); UPWARDLY MOBILE HOME (1984); LITTLE WOMEN, THE TRAGEDY (1988); ANNIVERSARY WALTZ (1989) and LESBIANS WHO KILL (1992) (writer, director, performer) This early repertoire of Split Britches performances created with Deb Margolin and Peggy Shaw has toured throughout US, UK and Europe in venues such as PS122, La Mama Etc, Women’s Interart, Dixon Place in NYC; Alice B Theatre in Seattle; Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago; Boston Centre for the Arts; the Drill Hall, ICA and Oval House in London; the Museum Theatre in Belfast; Universities of Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and California and in festivals in Amsterdam; Rome; Edinburgh; Copenhagen; Bremen, Germany; Hong Kong; Taipei; Wellington, NZ; and Rio De Janeiro. An anthology of these scripts, Split Britches, Feminist Performance/Lesbian Practice, edited by Sue Ellen Case, was published by Routledge in 1997 and won the 1997 Lambda Literary Award.
Solo performance projects (1996-date) include:
What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex, (2015-Present). Part performance, part chat show, all comeback tour, What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex was developed in collaboration with elders in Croatia, New York and the UK, drawing on their stories and experiences. This project initiates dialogue and workshops with women over sixty in order to create an interactive performance that addresses sex and the ageing woman. This work has been supported by Arts Council England, the Wellcome Trust, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and Queen Mary University of London.
What Tammy Found Out, (2012-2013) (creator and performer) Described as a front line report from the back porch, school yard and dinner table, this project is a lecture performance in which the country western persona presents the findings from her research on education and class; high art and popular culture; performance and human rights. Presented as an Inaugural lecture at Queen Mary University of London (March 2012); the Australsian Society for the Study of Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies Conference (August 2012), the Sexuality Summer School, Manchester University (May 2013) and at the Performance Studies international Conference, Stanford University (June 2013)
What Tammy Needs to Know, (2004) (creator and performer) a solo performance installation and intervention that explores agency and authenticity in a celebrity-based representation of hyper-femininity and promotes understanding of ‘high art’ through popular culture parody. Public Performances include: Dixon Place, NYC (2004); Drill Hall, London (2005-06); Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (2006); Glasgay!, Glasgow, Scotland (2006); Warsaw Theatre Institute, Warsaw, Poland, (2006). Funded by a Research and Development Grant from the Arts Council of England (2002) and the New York Council on the Arts (2003-on-going).
Commit an Act of Domestic Terrorism, Hang your Laundry in Public, (2001) an interventionist performance using the hanging of laundry in public places as a means of generating conversation on the meaning of public and private
Faith and Dancing, (1996) (writer and performer) autobiographical solo performance that investigates the relationship between religion and representations of femininity in Southern Baptist Virginia. Commissioned by Queer up North and presented at the Green Room, Manchester and Midlands Art Center, Birmingham in the UK; Chapter Arts Center, Cardiff, Wales (1996); Drill Hall, London (1996); La Mama Etc, NY (1997); Duke, University (2004) University of Virginia (2011)
Collaborations include (1987-date):
Ruff (2013-present) co-written and directed by Lois Weaver, and starring Peggy Shaw, uses performance to investigate Shaw’s experience of having had a stroke. Winner of 2011 Ethyl Eichelberger Award and commissioned by PS 122 in NYC and presented at the Coil Festival, Dixon Place (January, 2012); Chelsea Theatre, London (April 4-5, 2013) and Behaviour Festival, The Arches, Glasgow (April 11, 2013), La Mama, NYC (2014); Wellcome Collection, UK (2014); Mayfest, Bristol (2014); Contact Theatre, Manchester (2014); Barbican Centre, London (2016).
On the Scent (2003) an investigation of the relationship between smell and memory and Lost and Found, a human portrait of urban regeneration, collaboration with Leslie Hill and Helen Paris of Curious.
It’s a Small House and We’ve Lived in it Always (2000), a collaboration with the Clod Ensemble, performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, directed by Suzy Willson, music by Paul Clark, commissioned by the Purcell Room, South Bank, London 2000
Salad of the Bad Café (2000), written in collaboration with Stacy Makishi, performed by Lois Weaver, Stacy Makishi and Peggy Shaw, 1999. Presented at Drill Hall (1999) and Queen Mary University of London (2000); La Mama Etc, NYC (2000); World Theatre Festival, Amherst Mass (2000); Wellesley College (2000).
Lust and Comfort (1994), co-created with James Neale Kennerley of Gay Sweatshop, performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, 1994. Presented at Drill Hall, London and UK tour (1994); LaMama Etc, NYC (1995); American Theatre in Higher Education Conference, San Francisco (1995); Department of Theatre, UC Irvine (1996).
Belle Reprieve (1990), co-created with the Bloolips, performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, Bette Bourne and Paul Shaw, 1991. Presented at Drill Hall, London (1990 and 1991); LaMama Etc, NYC (1990); On The Boards, Seattle (1991); Rhinoceros Theatre, San Francisco (1991); Out of the Edge Festival, Boston (1991) CCA, Glasgow and Green Room, Manchester, UK (1991); Obie Award for Ensemble Performance (1991).
Dress Suits for Hire (1987 & 2005), written by Holly Hughes in collaboration with Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, 1987 and 2005 Presented at the Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster University (2006) and Dartington College of Arts (2007); The Drill Hall, London (February 2005); The Off-Center Austin, TX, (May 2005); LaMama, Etc NY (June 2005); PSi#11 Brown University (2005); Throws Like A Girl Festival, Austin Texas (2005) Taipei, Taiwan (May 2004), Theatre Exile, Santa Fe, NM and the Edinburgh Festival (1998), Performance Space 122, Sushi Performance Gallery, Life on the Water Theater, Women’s Interart Center, NYC (1988); Obie Award for performance (1988).