Feature in Issue 15-1 | Spring 2003

Design or scenography, that is the question... At the recent Total Theatre Talks (report in this issue from Mitch Mitchelson) we looked at design in physical and visual performance, and many of the panel members reflected the view expressed by Pamela Howard in her book What is Scenography? (Routledge, 2002) that the actors are the scenography – to separate performers from set and set from costume is a nonsense; all are part of one whole vision. She also says: Scenography is the seamless synthesis of space, text, research, art, actors, directors and spectators that contributes to an original creation. Aha, sounds like a definition of 'total theatre' to me – which brings us to John Keefe and his exploration of granddaddy of scenography Edward Gordon Craig's relationship to the notion of total theatre – realisable concept or mythical beast? And still with design and scenography, Edward Taylor from Whalley Range All Stars shares some of that company's way of working in their visual arts/design-led street theatre shows.

Moving from the visual to embrace the physical – we have a very entertaining exchange between Richard Cuming and Rob Conkie on the subject of Shakespeare's physicality. Elsewhere, we take a peek at Stan's Cafe's new film and performance project at the Croydon Clocktower and sit in on High Spin's devising sessions with Rose English. Fran Barbe discusses the benefits of Butoh training for western performers and Jess Dawson writes on her experiences of working with Clown Through Mask teacher Sue Morrison in Toronto.

In the reviews section you'll find plenty from this year's London International Mime Festival, and there is also a report by Anne Dennis on COS – Catalonia's festival of mime and physical theatre.

From next issue, Circus Arts News will no longer be in the centre of the magazine. We are sorry to say that this circus-dedicated free newsletter is ceasing production. Total Theatre Magazine will continue (as always) to carry features on interesting new developments in circus, and circus practitioners are urged to use the Circus Arts Forum website at www.circusarts.org.uk to share news and views.

As I write, we are approaching the Equinox (a point of balance and harmony) and still the world (or parts of it) seems to be intent on war. Who knows what will be happening by the time you read this – but the sun is shining today and I have hope in my heart and a spring in my step. So I wish you plenty of sunshine and joy and leave you with the words of Edwin Starr: 'War? Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.'

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-1
p. 4