It wasn’t so long ago that we negotiated the city as self-organising citizens, free from security fencing, stanchions, fluoro-orange traffic cones, and proliferating signage, all designed to regulate our individual and collective movement. This new normal, which signals impending catastrophe and therefore a precarious existence, not only limits how we engage with the urban environment but curtails spontaneous self expression and risk taking while disregarding the city’s multiple histories, cultural mythologies, and socio-political realities. And yet, recent incidents on the highly mediatised global stage have revealed a hyper-theatricalisation of everyday life, blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction. This is accompanied by a tendency for theatre to leave the ‘dead air’ of its designated buildings, seeking ‘the real’ in all its manifestations.
Dorita Hannah presents a range of urban performance projects, including her own collaborative dance-architecture events, to consider how challenging established binaries—safety and danger, myth and materiality, theatre and city—can inform urban development, particularly in Wellington, Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Hannah's lecture is the keynote address for What if the City Was a Theatre? In this three-day symposium, the city features as both a space of performance and a space performing itself. Participants discuss topics as varied as housing, post-humanism, city performance, urban architectures, poetry, and kaitiakitanga, while engaging with What if the City Was a Theatre? performances throughout Wellington. RSVPs appreciated. For further information about the symposium, click here.