Antonin Artaud – Rhinegold Publishing

Antonin Artaud


Any study of Artaud is problematic. He emerges from his own writing and that of others about him as an enigmatic figure, troubled and tormented, yet highly creative; very much a product of his age but also very much at odds with it. This is what sometimes makes him so difficult to teach to students. The irony is, of course, that much of his thinking influences the very essence of drama as we know it today. The fundamentals of drama teaching all owe a debt to Artaud and his ground-breaking visions of how theatre could be.

The following elements are all influenced by his work:

  • Creativity
  • Experimentation with performance space
  • Technical considerations (sound, lighting, ICT)
  • Mask-making
  • Puppetry
  • Allowing students the opportunity to use props ‘laterally’
  • Developing an understanding of experience
  • Creating ‘happenings’
  • Learning how to be the audience
  • Learning how to affect an audience

Artaud raises more questions and provides fewer answers than any of the practitioners available to study on the AQA AS course. There are many stimulating ideas in his writings but so much of it seems intangible. The following approaches aim to help students key in to Artaud’s ideas.

Scheme sections:

  • Context
  • An introduction to audience
  • Artaud’s attitude to madness
  • Gothic Romanticism: introducing ‘the double’
  • Surrealism and film in the 1920s
  • Experimenting with music and sound
  • Cruelty and comedy
  • Dance/drama
  • To have done with the judgement of God (1947)
  • Artaud and hallucinogens
  • Unit 1: devising an original piece of drama
  • Important developments in 20th Century drama
  • Research projects

Number of schemes: n/a

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