Samuel Beckett’s Dramaturgy Workshops

I should prefer the text not to appear in any form before production and not in book form until I have seen some rehearsals in London. It can’t be definitive without actual work in the theatre.

Samuel Beckett to Grove Press, May 18, 1961.
Samuel Beckett rehearsing Endgame, with Walter Asmus, Riverside Studios Theatre in London, May 1980.

In Lent term 2020, I shall be convening a weekly workshop in the Judith E. Wilson drama studio at the University of Cambridge to explore Samuel Beckett’s dramaturgy. This series of workshops aims to examine the spatial and theatrical dynamics inscribed in Beckett’s play texts, and to explore the productive force of modernist anti-theatricality in the performance of his work. It draws on extensive archival sources to consider Beckett’s own staging of the plays, while also engaging with the potentiality of Beckettian drama in different performance contexts. In so doing, the workshops aim to explore the relation between Beckett’s texts, his theatrical notebooks, and the staging of his plays, and to reflect on the degree to which his meticulous stage directions inscribe a particular relation to the theatre space that influenced post-Beckettian playwrights. These workshops give students the opportunity to spend time with Beckett’s theatre texts and notebooks in a drama studio, thinking about the space and structure of performance. 

“The workshops introduced me to new ways of approaching archival materials, which was useful for exam preparation as well as my own personal interest”

“Before taking these classes I didn’t know very much about Beckett. I can’t exaggerate how much I learned: I’m now going on to do further studies on Beckett”