Sharing Stories: PhD Research

I am currently working towards a PhD at the University of Sheffield, funded by the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH). My research project is practice-led and is investigating how family histories can be shared through performance experiences. I am asking: how can performance be used to articulate relationships between public, private, personal and professional histories?

Gérard Genette’s theory of transtextuality is my chosen analytical tool. Genette’s framework offers a useful set of terms that can help to unpick the relationships between and within texts.

As a researcher, I am developing performances that make use of my own family history and I am inviting audience participants to reflect on theirs. I am analysing the process of developing and sharing new performances that weave multiple texts into hypertexts. Some of these texts may have physical presence in the performance work, in the form of objects, whilst other texts may be integrated into spoken narrative or may be revealed through action.

Increasingly the method of play is becoming significant in my research and in September 2017 I presented at the TaPRA conference on this topic. In the gallery at the conference, I invited delegates to play with a pack cards illustrated with photographs representing family history and performance. The intention was that every game played with the cards provided a new version of the performance hypertext and the cards become both document and performance experience.

My research has led to the development of a micro-audience performance game, Lines And Ladders. This is a storytelling board game played in a café, or similar place, that gives people an opportunity to share their family histories in a public space. I’m writing a blog about this and there is information about where the game is being played here.



Photograph taken by Shane Surgey

For information about papers and presentations that I have given, please visit:

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