How may theatre, ritual, and other staged events facilitate participant experiences of becoming part of that which is larger than the self? Why are these experiences of transcendence important to us? And how do we make sense of them? These are some of the questions that this PhD thesis attempts to answer by giving examples from Sweden, Denmark and Aotearoa New Zealand.
The thesis develops an apparatus of theory and method for performance analysis, the purpose of which is to analyse potentials for experiences of transcendence. These experiences are contextualised in terms of the metaphysical, the religious, and the spiritual. Theoretically it combines Erika Fisher-Lichte’s the aesthetics of the performative and Dorthe Jørgensen’s metaphysics of experience. In the development of a practical model for analysis, a variety of experiences are explored in the context of contemporary theatre, ritual, and installation art in Sweden, Denmark, and Aotearoa New Zealand. The thesis contributes to the methodology of performance analysis, as it emphasises experience as research, and to the interdisciplinary research field of performance, religion, and spirituality, with its interdisciplinary scope.
Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen prior to his PhD, studied theatre at University of Copenhagen. Founding member of the International Federation for Theatre Research working group Performance,
Religion, and Spirituality, and founding co-editor of the journal PRS.
This is a Doctoral Thesis in Theatre Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden 2018