Jason Anthony Benson


A Study of Volcano Theatre Company: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Approach

Supervisors: Dr. Karoline Gritzner & Dr. Roger Owen

Volcano theatre company formed in 1987, and have remained one of Wales’ foremost experimental theatre companies. However, to date, there has been no sustained in-depth study of the company. Consequently, this research seeks to address this gap with regard to detailed, comprehensive analysis of a significant Welsh theatre group which can add value to the discourse on Welsh theatre as well as contemporary performance practices.

Volcano were at the forefront of the emergence of physical theatre in Britain in the 1990s, contributing to what Gareth Somers terms a ‘poetics’ of British Physical Theatre. But their work is not easily categorised as their aesthetic does not stand still and shifts between productions. The work of the company and this study examines intersections between aesthetics, philosophy, politics and performance theory.

Drawing on interviews with company members, analysis of live performance, and existing theoretical discourse, this study applies a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006), whereby the study seeks to generate theories that emerge from the multiple voices in the research.

I would love to hear from anyone who has any recollections of Volcano performances, or contributions to the debates on philosophy and performance theory. please e-mail: jab154@aber.ac.uk