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Biography

Dr Marianne Sharp is Senior Lecturer in Drama. Prior to working in academia, she worked as an actor primarily in touring theatre in the UK and continental Europe, and as a director of youth theatre and applied theatre projects (including 3 years directing/devising/writing theatre pieces with young people at Theatre Royal Winchester; and directing Timberlake Wertenbaker's 'Our Country's Good' for Playing for Time Theatre in Winchester Prison). Completing her practice-based PhD: ‘Being a Woman Twice: Knowledge, Subjectivity and the Autonomous Actress’ at Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2010, she continues to perform, direct and is in the process of publishing a series of articles developed from her thesis. Since the beginning of 2011, she has been travelling to Los Angeles as often as possible to research on and train with Rachel Rosenthal and her company (Extreme Theater Ensemble), who create completely improvised 'total theatre' performances called 'TOHUBOHU!' This work is ongoing... She welcomes research applications in the areas of contemporary theatre practice and feminisms and theatre.

Areas of expertise

  • Contemporary theatre practice (performing, directing, devising) 
  • Performance and autobiography 
  • Feminisms and theatre 
  • Performance and identity politics.

Publications

  • "Acting Operatically: Body, Voice and the Actress in Beckett's Theater". Gestures of Musical Theater: The Performativity of Song and Dance.  Eds. Dominic Symonds and Millie Taylor. Oxford University Press, 2013, pp.191 – 207, 2013.
  • "Whose Fantasy? Five Perspectives on The Rachel Rosenthal Company's TOHUBOHU!", Encountering Ensemble. Ed. John Britton.  Methuen/Bloomsbury, 2013.
  • "Acting Ethically? Subjectivity and the Actress in Geddy Aniksdal's No Doctor for the Dead", in 'Beyond Postmodernisms' Special Edition of Contemporary Theatre Review 18.3, 2008, pp. 370-382.

Conference papers

  • “Resisting Repeatability: mindfulness, ethics and the Failure of Production in Rachel Rosenthal’s TOHUBOHU!” TaPRA: Performance, Identity, Community Working Group. Kingston University, UK, September 2011. 
  • “Acting Authentically? The construction of presence and identity in Nora and I and The Twice-Removed.”  TaPRA: Performance, Identity, Community Working Group. Cardiff University, UK, September 2010.
  • “Acting Operatically: ‘Fiona Shaw finds her voice ‘after God died and nobody knew who they were talking to anymore.’” Song, Stage and Screen V (Interdisciplinary Approaches to Voice International conference).  University of Winchester, UK, September 2010.
  • “Repetition, Knowledge and the Actor.”  Paper and workshop. Performance-as-Research Working Group at International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) Annual Conference, Munich, July 2010.
  • “Nakedly Democratic Hanky Panky with Ursula Martinez.” Performance, Identity, Community Working Group at Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Annual Conference, University of Plymouth, UK, September 2009.
  • “Ghosting Myself: Character, Memory and Presence in Nora and I.” Paper on my solo show, delivered as an artist dialogue with Dr Cathy Turner at the Performing Presence International Conference, Exeter University, UK, March 2009. 
  • “Conceptualising Performer Intuition”, delivered through 20th-21st Century Performer Training Group at TaPRA Annual Conference, Birmingham University, UK, September, 2007.
  • “Writing Strangers and Sel/f/ves: the actress as foreigner within and without her own words”, at the Women’s Writing for Performance International Symposium, Lancaster University, UK, April 2006.
  • “INSecure Institutions: Prison Theatre: subversive or normative activity?” Joint paper and presentation with Annie McKean, at Performance and Possibility Conference, Liverpool Hope University, UK, September 2005.

Performances

  • Director, Our Country's Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker. Playing for Time Theatre, HMP Winchester, March - May 2013.  Large cast (30) of prisoners and undergraduate students from the University of Winchester. For notes on the process see: http://www.playingfortime.org.uk/ourcountry13.html​​
  • ‘Memory is a Strange thing’ (with Doug Hammett) and ‘This Way Up’ (with Leigh Grode) – short pieces devised as part of a 10 week intensive with Rachel Rosenthal for ‘Internal Bleeding’, at Espace DbD, Los Angeles, April 2012.
  • And Yet It Moves. Devised Production project exploring questions of mobility and motion, extending the explorations about ‘keeping the space moving’ made during the process of San Diego (below). 2011.
  • David Greig’s San Diego. Production Project with undergraduate theatre students, University of Winchester. Collaboration with Marilena Zaroulia (Dramaturg). The production explored questions of travelling and globalisation in relation to Jill  Dolan’s notion of the ‘utopian performative’ and worked with ensemble practices, to discover ways of ‘keeping the space moving’ throughout the production. Partly funded by a Learning and Teaching Fellowship Award from the University. 2010.
  • Failing Chekhov. Devised production project exploring the relationship between nature and theatricality.  Responding to Chekhov’s The Seagull. With 2nd year theatre undergraduates (University of Winchester). 2010.
  • The Twice Removed. Guest direction/dramaturgy for Anna Fenemore/Pigeon Theatre (Manchester) on solo theatre project exploring Lacan’s notion of ‘extimacy’ in ‘biographical’ performance. Funded by Arts Council England and supported by GreenRoom, Manchester.  2010, UK tour 2012.
  • Alone Among Mortals. Devised project utilising post-Grotowskian ensemble physical theatre practices. Layering of bodywork, text and song in response to Sophocles Antigone. With 2nd year theatre undergraduates (University of Winchester). 2009.
  • Nora and I. Solo theatre piece (SharpTheatre). Responding to Ibsen’s Nora, this devised, solo project explores the relationship between autobiography and the performance of dramatic character. Project development involved workshops with local women aged 23-82, comparing Nora’s story with contemporary experiences and stories. In this way the autobiographical slant of the work also engages with the relationship between identity and community. R&D funding: Arts Council England. 2008-2009 (+ re-development in 2013).
  • Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, Playing for Time Theatre Company, HMP West Hill Winchester (cast of prisoners from Winchester prison and undergraduates from University of Winchester); funded by Arts Council England and Ernest Cook Trust; Producer: Annie McKean.  2005
  • Juliet’s Dream III (Direction and performance. Devised work, SharpTheatre, short tour); PaR physical theatre project exploring different levels of ‘performer sel/f/ves’ from ‘not-acting’ to ‘heightened-acting’. Developed from earlier Juliet’s Dream pieces. Funded by HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund) grant. 2003. 
  • Sarah Kane’s Crave (Direction), Pendfringe at the Gateway Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival (3, 4 and 5 star reviews), following performances at Theatre Royal Winchester. 2002-2003).
  • Juliet’s Dream and Juliet’s Dream II (devised/physical works, SharpTheatre, Theatre Royal Winchester). Project utilising actor-led post-Grotowskian ensemble physical theatre approaches in conjunction with Cixousian notions of writing-the-body.  Working with text from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. 2002-2003.
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