Isolated Acts: Theatre in Aylums and Hospitals

Research Network

Project Team:

Principal Investigator:

Dr Anna Harpin, University of Exeter

Research Network Members: 

Dr Jehanine Austin, University of British Columbia

Dr Carina Bartleet, Oxford Brookes University

Professor Susan Cox, University of British Columbia

Professor Paul Crawford, University of Nottingham

Mr Mark Davis, High Royds Asylum Archive

Dr Bridget Escolme, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Juliet Foster, University of Cambridge

Mr David Granirer, Stand Up for Mental Health

Dr Alice Hall, University of York

Mr Steve Hennessy, Stepping Out Theatre Company

Mrs Dorinda Hulton, University of Exeter

Mr Liam Jarvis, Royal Holloway, University of London / Analogue Productions

Professor Ellen Kaplan, Smith University

Mr Chris Loveless, Stepping Out Theatre Company

Dr Rebecca Loukes, University of Exeter

Ms Julie McNamara, VitalXposure

Mr Keith Palmer, The Comedy School London

Professor Kay Redfield Jamison, The Johns Hopkins University

Dr Sarah Rudolph, Marathon, University of Wisconsin

Mr Richard Stern, Queen Mary, University of London

Mr Dylan Tighe, Freelance Theatre Artist

Ms Erin Walcon, University of Exeter

Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith, Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Carla Yanni, Rutgers University

Award Information:

This research network addresses the interrelationship between psychiatric care and performance practice. In its attention to different forms of knowledge, with respect to arts and mental health, the network supports the highlight’s concern to investigate interactions between sciences and humanities. This network is a timely and urgent investigation into the practice of theatre in controlled psychiatric environments. The network will investigate how and why theatre was used in mental health settings in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. It will explore the changes and developments in theatre practice within mental health care settings as care moved from asylums to community based contexts. By placing historical asylum experiences alongside the more contemporary political movement towards community spaces, the network will explore how notions of space, care, ideology, and medicine have interacted with the forms of theatre and performance work taking place at these sites. In short, this network is concerned to document the history of theatre in asylums and hospitals and to thereby rethink contemporary performance practice in this field.

Project dates: February- August 2014