Train Tracks and Rooftops

Rea Dennis, Miranda Magda

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


I conceived and led this performance as research project on devising and memory. Central areas of investigation included the intersection of improvisation and remembering; collaboration as dramaturgy; and non-narrative storytelling. Research questions included: How might memory be investigated in performance terms? How might artists restory narrative memory as visual, visual memory as kinesthetic and muscle memory as emotion? What strategies develop “translation palettes” so narrative memory is disrupted as the singular organising structure within the creative process of writing and choreographing for live performance? What are the implications for dramaturgy when making autobiographical performance outside of narrative languages? The project investigated making processes in relation to ‘embodiment as Intercorporeality’ (Weiss) and collaborative dramaturgy (Ranciere, Williams) through the lens of Antonio Damasio’s notion of autobiographical memory.The research was informed by collaboration with performance companies from Brazil and Australia, and through interactive experiments with community partners – Valleyskids (Wales) and Artsync (Australia). Collaborators contributed to shaping the work under my overall direction. I led workshops and seminars for artists, facilitated audience interactive experiences and post-show discussions. The research findings were disseminated in conference papers in 2008 (Performing the World, New York); 2010 (Australasian Drama Studies Association Annual Conference, Australian National University, Canberra & Theatre and Performance Research Association Annual Conference, Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries), and 2012 (Australasian Drama Studies Association Annual Conference, Queensland University of Technology) and through an online peer- reviewed chapter, ‘Landscapes of making: Autobiography, memory & devised performance’ in an e-book arising from this conference, ‘Compass Points: The Locations, Landscapes and Coordinates of Identities’B. Hadley and C Heim (eds.) available at:
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2008


  • autobiographical performance
  • performed memory
  • improvisation and collaboration


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