The main focus of Liesbeth’s PhD project is the concept of nomadic theatre. In contemporary European performance there is a tendency towards mobility in theatre, examples of which are moving events outside the theatre into public areas or creating fluid performer/spectator spaces either inside or outside traditional theatre buildings in which spectators are not seated but move around. These fluid borders often find a twin in flexible performer/audience interfaces. The dynamic relationships between space, performer and spectator can be understood as a shift in relative positions or a shift of borders between positions. Mobility not only concerns actual movement of the spectator, but the movement of these shifting borders as well. These phenomena are studied through the concept of ‘nomadic theatre’, which is a way of staging an encounter between the nomadic, mainly as has been theorized by Deleuze and Guattari, and the theatre, as it manifest itself as movement.
Nomadic theatre is not a genre, but a concept. Deleuze’s and Guattari’s approach to nomadism offers a tool for understanding these fluid performer/spectator relationships as acts of de- and reterritorialization. In a wider context, these acts might be seen as examples of the way theatre is ‘contaminated’ by a global, capitalist society in which mobility and free choice are central issues. Contamination is not intended as an evaluation, but as a description of a certain kind of movement. Theatre re-territorializes this contamination by using mobility (and nomadic prosthetics such as mobile phones, maps or guides) and aspects of consumerism (including performativity) as theatrical tools.
On the 15th of April 2015, Liesbeth Groot Nibbelink successfully defended her PhD Thesis Nomadic Theatre: Staging Movement and Mobility in Contemporary Performance, for which she earned a cum laude distinction! TheaterMaker, a Dutch theatre journal, wrote a review about Liesbeth’s PhD Thesis, which you can find here.