Fishing in Puddles: Place and Space in Performance Research


  • Shelley Piasecka

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior lecturer in drama and theatre studies at the University of Chester with an expertise in devised and scripted theatre production.
    • Contact address: University of Chester, Drama and Theatre Studies, Kingsway Buildings, Kingsway, Chester CH2 2LB, UK. Email:

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This article examines the significance of place and space from a Performance Studies and Social Studies perspective. In terms of the social sciences, I draw upon the formal, symbolic and marginal articulation of place. Hetherington suggests that certain places act as focal point for the establishment of social identities, citing city-centre landmarks and shopping malls. Similarly, children attach all kinds of values to the formal spaces they occupy. As one example of this point, I examine the child's relationship to the school hall. From the perspective of performance, I examine a project under taken at a junior school in Stoke-on-Trent, inspired by the site work of Wrights & Sites. As a critical lens, I adopt Boal's understanding of the oneiric dimension. The oneiric dimension is particularly relevant in performance work as these are the moments when we (as performers and spectators) are pulled into the action. In these instances, the physical space simply disappears, imagination replaces actuality and the desire to believe outweighs the reality of the present.