The Punchdrunk encyclopaedia

Machon, Josephine ORCID logoORCID:, ed. (2018) The Punchdrunk encyclopaedia. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781138556782, pbk-ISBN 9781138556799, e-ISBN 9781315150352. [Book] (doi:10.4324/9781315150352)


The Punchdrunk Encyclopaedia is the definitive book on the company’s work to date, marking eighteen years of Punchdrunk’s existence. It provides the first full-scale, historical account of Punchdrunk’s work, drawn from unrivalled access to the collective memory and archives of the core team, incorporating reflections from Felix Barrett, Stephen Dobbie, Maxine Doyle, Peter Higgin, Beatrice Minns, Colin Nightingale and Livi Vaughan.

Following encyclopaedic convention, entries are alphabetised and refer to terms that define, illustrate or examine Punchdrunk’s approach to practice. In style and content, each entry falls between anecdote, reflection and critical analysis. From A to Z, the playful format invites readers to create their own journey through the ideas, aesthetics, contexts and practices that underpin Punchdrunk’s work in a manner that resonates with the multitudinous and progressively layered ‘piecing-together’ experiences available with a Punchdrunk masked show. The reader is encouraged to identify the depths and details that exist across entries via a cross-referencing system indicated by the ‘see also’ guide, parenthesised at the head of each entry.
Entries such as ‘architecture’, ‘costume’, ‘dance’, ‘design’, ‘Enrichment’, ‘lighting’, or ‘soundscape’ offer a unique insight to Punchdrunk’s approach including exercises for studio and site-based practice, supported further by sections on ‘abstract/abstraction’, ‘caretaking’, ‘installation’, ‘journeying’, ‘research’ or ‘text’. More nuanced entries, for example, ‘atmosphere’, ‘darkness’, ‘dreams’, ‘mazes’ or ‘senses’, take you further into the inspiration, concept and forms that combine to establish Punchdrunk worlds and further examine the company’s unique aesthetic. Substantial entries are included which record the influential theories, practices and productions that coloured Barrett’s vision, inspired from an early age. ‘Act 1’, ‘Act, 2’ and ‘Act 3’ chart Punchdrunk’s rise from the fringe to the mainstream, supported by an accompanying diagrammatic timeline. These, along with entries by production, chronicle the founding principles and mission of the company, documenting its diverse creative experimentations and development of operational structures required for large scale interactive productions.

Original interview material with core and longstanding company members cover key areas including applied practice, scenography and designing for site-based work, producing, and production and stage management. The evolution of Punchdrunk Enrichment, its process and extensive practice, is documented in depth by Higgin and team and celebrated by practitioners from the fields of education, social care and the creative industries. Contributions from leading figures from the arts, including Adam Curtis, Lyn Gardner, Nicholas Hytner, Maria Oshodi, Tom Morris, Tina Bicât, Alex Poots, Jonathan Reekie, Joana Seguro and Jack White offer a range of perspectives on productions, including Sleep No More, The Firebird Ball, Faust, The Masque of the Red Death, and The Borough, offering broader opinion on Punchdrunk’s contribution to British theatre and 21st century stagecraft.

Item Type: Book
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Theatre Arts group
Item ID: 27854
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Josephine Machon
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2019 17:27
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2020 21:00

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