Kemp Publishes “Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science”

Posted on 10/17/2018 1:07:55 PM

Professor Rick Kemp (Department of Theater and Dance) has just published The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science.

Cover, "The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science"Routledge “Companions” are internationally distributed prestige reference works that comprehensively and authoritatively address a significant topic in a field or discipline. Embodied Cognition in Theatre and Performance is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field which dynamically advances critical and theoretical knowledge, as well as driving innovation in practice.

Kemp has been curating, writing, and editing the content of the book over the last two years. Collaborating with Bruce McConachie (emeritus professor at the University of Pittsburgh), he commissioned contributions from leading practitioners, teachers, and scholars worldwide as well as writing two chapters (“Devising – embodied creativity in distributed systems” and “Acting technique, Jacques Lecoq and embodied meaning”) and introductory material.

Of particular interest to the IUP community is a third chapter that Kemp co-authored with IUP colleague Rachel DeSoto-Jackson (Department of Theater and Dance), titled “The performance of caring: theatre, empathetic communication and healthcare.” This chapter describes the innovative work of the Department of Theater and Dance in applying practical theatrical expertise to the development of empathetic communication skills in student nurses.

The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science integrates key findings from the cognitive sciences (cognitive psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary studies, and relevant social sciences) with insights from theater and performance studies. The anthology includes 30 specially commissioned chapters, many written by authors who have been at the cutting-edge of research and practice in the field over the last 15 years. These authors offer many evidence-based answers to four significant questions:

  • How can performances in theater, dance, and other media achieve more emotional and social impact?
  • How can we become more adept teachers and learners of performance both within and outside of classrooms? 
  • What can the cognitive sciences reveal about the nature of drama and human nature in general? 
  • How can knowledge transfer, from a synthesis of science and performance, assist professionals such as nurses, care-givers, therapists, and emergency workers in their jobs?

A wide-ranging and authoritative guide, The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance and Cognitive Science is an accessible tool not only for students, but also for practitioners and researchers in the arts and sciences.