Theatre Studies

Lecturer: Yvon Bonenfant, PhD
Department: Department of Theatre, School of Film, Music and Theatre.
Module: DR6001 Collaborative Theatre and Performance Practices.


The MA Theatre and Performative Practices integrates theory, practice and artistic thinking to ask advanced students of theatre to find ways to challenge and extend established aesthetic, sociocultural and political values in theatre and performance in order to allow what we call ‘outsider knowledges’ to teach us how challenging performance can influence, transform, and ultimately question, problematise and challenge culture.

As part of our collaboration with Praxis Theatre Studies have planned to pilot its GCDE for the 2021-22 academic year with a focus on masters module: DR6001 Collaborative Theatre and Performance Practices.

We propose that within this curriculum, and the first list of ‘topics’ we explore in the module, we draw from the praxis model to enhance our already reflective and socially critical module with far deepened engagement with intercultural perspectives, world perspectives, and an emphasis on translating aesthetic values into actions that engender active citizenship. This will mean that we will need to find much better ways to link the topic of audience behaviour and reception studies, a new and burgeoning field in theatre, with issues of community, citizenship, development engagement, and above all world and intercultural perspective, and work much harder to link the personal, and the local, with the global.

We foresee that we will have to link engagement with the dynamics of selected case study performative practices around the world and across cultures to local actions for change and transformations in the kinds of messages embodied and sent by our theatre students’ creative projects to their audiences. We will also attend to the aesthetic challenges posed by GCDE perspectives and how these can help audiences learn other ways that performance can be made manifest and encourage social reflection and sometimes action.

A full description of our plan can be found in the document below.



Praxis plan

Bonenfant, Yvon_case-study-Praxis-Plan (PDF opens in a new tab/window)



Yvon Bonenfant, PhD

Yvon Bonenfant, PhD joined the Department of Theatre at UCC as Head in September 2018. He is also Visiting Professor of Research at the University of Winchester.

Bonenfant is an artist-researcher. His work focuses on the voice, on sensation, and on tactility, and on questions of inclusion of different kinds of voices and bodies in culture. He is involved in the emerging field of interdisciplinary voice studies and is a recognised innovator in research methods and transdisciplinary collaboration.

He explores questions around the human voice and its creative power, at the intersection of theatre, performance/live art, installation, and music/sound; often leading interdisciplinary research teams. A former laureate of the Wellcome Trust Large Arts Awards, he also collaborates with researchers from speech and language science, voice and speech medicine, and vibration, materials and textile engineering, and with an array of visual and design thinkers.

He has a burgeoning interest in vibro-tactile performance and is key contributor to thinking about the ways the queer voice works performance and in participatory artistic processes. In collaboration with coders, visual, design, and digital artists, he develops voice-celebrating experiences for both the general public (such as We Wink, We Wink, our Voices Blink) and for hard-to-reach audiences, like children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (such as Resonant Tails).

He is also an expert on innovative approaches to practice-inclusive research methodologies in artistic research: especially where the voice, or interdisciplinary collaboration, are concerned.
Bonenfant produces journal articles and book chapters, but of course also makes artworks, and experiments with new forms of vocalic and tactile writing. The artworks range from performances, to participatory installations, to interactive environments, to textile ‘books’, and even an iPad app. His works often undergo long R+D processes and audience testing before being shown; Bonenfant has a particular interest in how non-professional ‘users’ of art experiences become willing to make daring vocal choices in the public sphere.

A striking aspect of his work involves the range of its users, and of the interest it generates. In 2018, he delivered a keynote to the British Voice Association’s Voice Clinics Forum – the UK’s primary voice medicine and rehabilitation conference; while in 2017 he was invited by Edinburgh’s Children’s Festival to deliver a keynote and delegate talk about queered voicing in performance for children. In 2017-18, his works as an individual artist and with his spin-off charity Tract and Touch reached more than 220K users across different registers of the senses: sometimes visually, sometimes through sound, and sometimes through touch.

His work has been funded by: Irish Research Council, Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, Youth Music (with Tract and Touch), Postcode Community Trust (with Tract and Touch), and many other supporters.

Personal website

Tract and Touch (artistic director)

Work for children


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