Pedro Manuel

Pedro Manuel is a Portuguese theatre maker and PhD researcher at the Theatre Studies department of Utrecht University, with a scholarship by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Portugal). Pedro studied Philosophy at the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of New University of Lisbon, his final thesis focused on the theme of dramatic illusion and research on the notion of mimesis. Followed by an MA in Theatre Studies at the University of Lisbon, he developed his work around the notion of “death” from Tadeusz Kantor’s suggestion of an historical lineage of this concept which, in the end, proposes the withdrawal of the actor from the stage. His PhD research continues this investigation, as he is currently studying performances where the actor is replaced by spectators, non-actors or technology, proposing the possibility to address a “theatre without actors” and exploring its influence on theatre discourse and practice.
As an artist, Pedro created performances that reflect these theoretical developments, through an experimental theatre making concerned with the actor’s presence and modes of theatrical representation. Recently he has travelled through Mozambique and The Netherlands, developing specific research projects: “Localisms” on Community Art in The Netherlands, and “Teatro Moçambicano”, mapping the field of theatre artists of Mozambique.

PhD research
Pedro’s PhD dissertation aims to research theatre without actors, contemporary performances where the actor is substituted by non-actors, by spectators, or where the human physical presence is completely removed and substituted by technology. Focusing on the ways the actor is replaced or removed, this research aims to consider the ‘absence of the actor’ in the 19th and 20th century, the ideas that have emerged from these practices and the way they influence contemporary theatre: how do these performances invite a reconsideration of our very understanding of what theatre is?

Project: Localisms
The Localisms project is an introductory research on Community Art/ Art in the Community in The Netherlands. Scoping from Cascoland to Theatre Embassy, Platform 21, Mediamatic or StadsSpelen, it aims to present projects and institutions that provide a wider look to multiple Communty Art practices, trying to understand motifs, means and reflections. Being developed for a Portuguese target group of the same field, it was supported by Centro Nacional de Cultura. See

Project: Teatro Moçambicano
This research is based on interviews with Mozambican theatre artists and directors, mostly from the capital city Maputo. In an editing phase, the project aims to provide a possible portrait of the present situation in the Mozambican performance arts field, conditions and ambitions of artistic work. Supported by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

Project: PaperPedro
An archive and index of theoretical texts on theatre by Pedro, including articles, research papers written during the MA, and reviews published, among others, on Revista Obscena, magazine of performance arts of which Pedro was a regular collaborator (in Portuguese). See

(2009) “um outro o mesmo.” Teatro O Bando, Afectos e Reflexos de um trajecto. Teatro o Bando (ed.), Palmela.

(2006) “Memento Mori.” Sinais de Cena 05. Theatre Studies Department of Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa (FLUL) and National Association of Theatre Critics.

(2006) “Teatro Anatómico.” Textos e Pretextos nº8, Comparative Studies Department of FLUL.

(2005-2010) Texts/ Reviews published on weblog O Melhor Anjo and performance arts magazine Obscena, on: André Amálio, Cristina Carvalhal, Joaquim Benite, Jorge Andrade, Luís Castro, John Romão, Teatro Meridional, João Mota, Patrícia Portela, Circolando, Aldara Bizarro, Teatro O Bando; as well Denis Marleau, Carlos Martinez, Carmelo Bene, Mark Ravenhill, Tim Crouch, Bernard Sobel, Pierre Boulay, Giorgio Strehler, Jan Lauwers, Pina Bausch, RabihMroue, Forced Entertainment, Romeo Castelluci, RoseLee Goldberg, Peter Brook, Dood Paard.