The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Director and Directing: Craft, Process and Aesthetic in Contemporary Theatre is the first monograph to deal exclusively with contemporary directors and directing. The book’s chapters develop an arc of enquiry into the artistry of the director, covering work with the actor, in rehearsal and devising, and on design. Furthering the turn to cognitive models, the book fosters an original enquiry through adopting neuroaesthetic theory (principally that of Semir Zeki), creative process models, and the theory of Patrice Pavis and Erika Fischer-Lichte, to offer a new means to discuss what the director does, how they know it is done well, and the affect of their choices in performance.

In terms of directing, the monograph harnesses neuroaesthetics as a means to assess how the brain seeks knowledge or reward, both as an experience and, crucially, in the realisation of artworks. In particular, the neuroaesthetics of emotion, sympathy and empathy, the Theory of Mind, brain structures and concepts, as well as the appreciation of the body in performance, offer original means to assess the materiality of directing. It develops new understandings of, for example, the playing of intentions as a concept (Zeki), and the body as a percept amid a theatrical 'totality’ (van Hove); rather than linear, it considers devising as a process ‘unfolding’ from key ideas and central personnel, often deemed ‘catalytic’ in creative process models, and proposes a new taxonomy for scenography as a fundamental directorial Gestus.

The Director and Directing is international in scope, drawing on several years’ ‘fieldwork’ of experiencing theatre in performance, to offer a wide-ranging, first-hand analysis of contemporary approaches. Significantly, the author also draws on extensive rehearsal observation, greatly augmenting a neglected area in scholarship. It considers directing as a practice/ise driven by creative dissatisfaction and a determining expertise toward ‘resonant experience’ (G. Gabrielle Starr).

Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages275
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-40767-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-40766-5
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2019


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