Personal profile


P.A. Skantze has been teaching across the disciplines of theatre history, theatre practice, writing and performance since her postgraduate experience at Columbia University. Her method has always been one of engaged translation between practice, practitioners and theorists influenced by her traditional training in an English department that required study from 1600 to contemporary performance, from Dante to Angela Carter. Setting the history of print and sound in the early modern period against current conversations about the live and the virtual, she has explored the characteristics of stillness and motion throughout the forms and practices of performances: Shakespeare, dance, European drama in translation, sound art and radio, adaptation and the performance score. Making and watching theatre across Europe forms the basis for her most recent book which explores the practice of spectating using a methodology based on the writing of W. G. Sebald.

With her performance group Four Second Decay she has performed internationally works across spoken oratorio and animated chamber operas, performance works by poet Ann Carson, audible montages.  Her musical Stacks follows mixed-race herione Lili as she is called by the New York Public Library to enter books in order to save NYC from becoming two-dimensional as its inhabitants no longer experience the city in real time.  She invented alongside partners at the National Theatre of Croatia a form of operatic intervention called 'lexiturgy' -- using surtitles to invite audiences to plunge into the act of interpretation via sonic/visual prompts.

Her first book Stillness in Motion in the Seventeenth Century (Routledge 2003) explores the aesthetics of the collaboration of stillness and motion in performance historic and contemporary, and her second book Itinerant Spectator/Itinerant Spectacle suggests thinking of being a spectator as a practice which the work offers through a methodology of suggestion.

Her articles include examinations of national identity, the choreography of Bill T. Jones, surtitles and contemporary theatrical performance, gift exchange and creative generosity, Shakespeare and Mabou Mines, gender and motion, and the epistemology of practice as research. She has done workshops in the UK, the US and Italy.

She has supervised and examined dissertations about the 'stage life of props,' voice and gender in early modern theatre, dreams and dreaming on stage from Calderon to Strindberg, female masochism in film and performance art, practice as research project on a queer method for playwriting, the afterlife of still life in performance practice, the 'vocal female body in performance space and time,' 'image and the Italian post avantguard,' dance, Deleuze and the unschooled body,' and performance as political intervention in movements for racial justice.

She welcomes projects that seek to work through the epistemology of practice as research as well as other modes of creative research such as writing, black studies, the dismantling of white supremacist and heteronormative systems informing both the research and the financing of the University, becoming an Undercommons practitioner, early modern practice; the history of sound and sound in performance; transnational identities; new and old and east and west European drama; reception and cognition; questions of spectating; writing for performance; dance; the gender making performance and in the making of performance; gift theory and inventive methods of scholarly circulation; stillness and motion and performance; creating flexible modes of academic exploration of performance, historical and contemporary.

Currently she is developing workshohps on speak/singing, workshops on Shakespeare and R$B, and is in the midst of a project about the practice of spectating in a time of Pandemic.


MA, MPhil, PhD

Research interests

Voice, revolution and poltical intervention; lyric theory or writing theoretically in different lyric modes; the epistemology of practice as research; gender and race and sexuality in corporeal and aesthetic acts of performance, the practice of spectating.

Research projects

Four-Second Decay Performance Group:

All that Fell a radio play written by P.A. Skantze, staged as an 'experiment in physical radio'

First staged 20 May 2006 GilmorehillG12 Theatre, Glasgow

20 June 2011 London; 6 December 2011 Live Recording London

Küssen/Beißen/Kissing/Biting a German/English adapted by P. A. Skantze from Kleist's Penthesilea choreographed by butoh performance artist Vanessa Skantze

Work in Progress Glasgow May 2007 (Clips on []

National Service with Leibniz

Copenhagen August 2009, London October 2009

Cassandra Float Can an evening of performance based on a new text by Anne Carson

London 25 February 2009

Audible Montage; or Eurydice's Footfall Four-Second Decay production

Providence, Rhode Island April 2009

And as part of "Shifting Shift" curated by P. A. Skantze Zagreb June 2009

Eating Our Pictures Pompidou Centre Paris October 2010

A Methodology of Locks performance with Ella Finer and Emily Orley based on the works of Luce Irigaray for Sexuate Subjects Conference, UCL, London December 2010;

Telegraph of Santa Lucia Four-Second Decay, text by Matthew Fink 23 May 2011 London

Gaps in Memory: Pop up Performance 27 May 2011 Utrecht Psi Camillo

afterKleist Oratorio performance of a selection of poems from afterKleist by M. Fink

17 April 2012 London

Moving Home Hayward Gallery London June 2012

Stacksa musical: music, book and lyrics P. A. Skantze New York work in progress February 2014

After the Smash: The Humpty Notebooks a Chamber Opera after the graphic novel by M. Fink

Get Thee to a Gallery durational performance of The Winter's Tale London 2014

New Ressearch Project: Voicing Revolutions

New Research Group: The Epistemology of Practice as Research.