Social Studies: Epic Theatre aims to interrogate the concept of theatre as a performative space for public forum, as well as a site for the physical assembly of artists, performers, participants and spectators. In this project, I propose to use the theatrical notion of assembly as a metaphor for democratic participation in order to deconstruct the politics of race, gender and sexuality. The idea of assembly also presents a need for organisation principles unto the bodies and a production of space, which conventionally configure the binaries of stage/seats, director/performers, command/obedience, performers/spectators, and producer/receiver of meaning. The objective of the performance is to produce a queer space and expand the threshold between these binaries by blurring virtuosity and pedestrianism, performance and the theatrics of everyday, trained and untrained performers and etc. My practice so far has consistently questioned this network of power relations in performance.

Social Studies: Epic Theatre takes on the historical theatre style and analyses its relationship to the politics of our time. The investigation will ultimately seek to bend the confines of theatrical practice to voice current political concerns with the operation of democracy, and thus calling upon a re-invention of the form.



Venue: Dancehouse (Sylvia Staehli Theatre)
Date/Time: FRIDAY AUGUST 12, 7.00pm
Duration: Approximately 30 minutes (with a facilitated post-showing discussion)
Bookings: FREE (bookings essential)



SHIAN LAW is a Melbourne-based performance artist. He received formal training in dance at The Victorian College of the Arts and regularly works as a performer, collaborator and choreographer in the context of dance, live art intervention and hybrid art performance.

Law's investigation expands across many artistic platforms such as choreography, spatial practice, participatory art and screen-based art through a collaborative practice with his artistic team. His works utilise hybrid forms to assign new discursive frameworks investigating the representation of body and the experience of dance simultaneously. Grandeur, intimacy, spectatorship and historicity are the recurring motifs in his body of works.

Law has worked closely with choreographer/mentor Jo Lloyd, Phillip Adams, Deanne Butterworth, Mikala Dwyer, Brooke Amity Stamp, Lara Thoms and Liz Dunn. Law has performed and presented works in International Symposium of Electronic Art, Melbourne International Festival, Dance Massive Festival, Melbourne Now, MONA FOMA, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Next Wave Festival, Pieces for Small Spaces Lucy Guerin Inc and Critical Path.

Law received Melbourne Fringe Best Dance for Proximate Edifice, Dance Australia Best New Work and the award for Innovation in Dance (Judith Wright Centre) for Body Obscure Object respectively. He was also named 'Dancer to Watch' by Chris Boyd in Dance Australia, Time Out and Triple R SmartArts. His most recent work, Personal Mythologies was premiered in Next Wave Festival 2014. Personal Mythologies received a Green Room Awards nomination for Outstanding Work in Contemporary Performance. His performance in Jo Lloyd's Future Perfect was nominated for Best Ensemble in the Green Room Awards. Law has been supported by The Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip, Next Wave Kickstart, JUMP National Mentoring Program, Performance Space Stephen Cummins residency and Lucy Guerin Inc residency.

More recently, Law has returned from his research trip from Berlin and New York with the support of Tanja Liedtke Foundation and Ian Potter Travel Grant. He will embark on two new projects, a multidisciplinary performance work titled Vanishing Point to be premiered in 2017 and Social Studies. In late 2016, Law will re-locate to Paris for a collaborative project with Europe-based dancer Justin Kennedy under the mentorship of Jennifer Lacey at Cité Internationale Des Art with the support of Australia Council for the Art.

PHILIPA ROTHFIELD is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy program, La Trobe University. She is a dance reviewer for RealTime arts magazine and Momm magazine, Korea. She is co-convenor of the Choreography and Corporeality working group, International Federation of Theatre Research. She has been dancing on and off for some decades. As a philosopher, she writes on French philosophy, political philosophy, feminism and postmodernism, specialising in philosophy of the body. She is currently writing a book on dance and philosophy. She has published on dance in relation to Merleau-Ponty, Whitehead, Nietzsche, Klossowski and Ravaisson. She is Dancehouse's Creative Advisor


ROOM TO MOVE provides choreographers with an opportunity to share works-in-progress with a live audience and, post-showing, to receive constructive critical feedback facilitated by a dramaturg/creative advisor. An exercise in criticality rather than criticism, these free monthly evenings are a stimulating site for audience members to engage more deeply with processes of creation and spectatorship. Read more about Room to Move