The Wooster Group and Its Traditions

by Johan Callens (Volume editor)
©2004 Edited Collection 294 Pages
Series: Dramaturgies, Volume 13


This is the first collection of critical essays to appear about the Wooster Group. Since the 1970s this groundbreaking, New York-based performance company has led the way in crystallizing the conditions of contemporary stage practice at the intersection of several cultural and artistic traditions. As demonstrated by the assembled critics, each of them an authority in the field, these traditions extend into the past as well as into the future, through the Wooster Group’s impact on the latest generation of performance artists. The company’s consequent institutionalization is posited and challenged in the essays constituting Part I of the collection. Part II tackles the work-in-progress, mapping its idiomatic stage vocabulary and providing case studies, ranging from Frank Dell’s The Temptation of St. Antony to To You, The Birdie! (Phèdre). Part III presents productions by kindred artists such as Elevator Repair Service, the Builders Association, Cannon Company, and Richard Maxwell. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, this collection should prove invaluable to anyone with an interest in the current theatrical scene and its place in the wider institutional, artistic, and historical contexts.


ISBN (Softcover)
New York (NY) Wooster Group Kongress Brüssel (2002) theatre avant-garde visual art reception study performing art deconstruction canon-intermediality
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004. 294 pp., 32 ill.

Biographical notes

Johan Callens (Volume editor)

The Editor: Johan Callens teaches at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and is the author of Double Binds: Existentialist Inspiration and Generic Experimentation in the Early Work of Jack Richardson (1993), Acte(s) de Présence (1996), and From Middleton and Rowley’s «Changeling» to Sam Shepard’s «Bodyguard»: A Contemporary Appropriation of a Renaissance Drama (1997). More recently he has edited special issues of Contemporary Theatre Review on Sam Shepard (1998) and of Degrés on intermediality (2000).


Title: The Wooster Group and Its Traditions