In this talk, artist, activist, cultural producer and teacher Elyssa Livergant considers the complex, sometimes ambiguous relationship between concepts and practices of industry and community in the independent performing arts sector.
Using workshops as a metaphor, Livergant explores ideas of work, one’s practice, and precarity and how they relate to the sector, its infrastructure, and its workers in London. Inviting audience members to participate in activities throughout the talk, Livergant offers the idea that workshops are the independent sector’s ‘common sense’ and wonders aloud about forms of exploitation and avenues for solidarity and resistance this common sense promotes.
Elyssa Livergant’s research centres on contemporary cultural production and its relationship to urban transformation and social inequity. She received her PhD from Queen Mary University, where her research focused on the labour economies of theatre and performance workshops since the 1960s, and their relationship to the labour conditions of the new work sector in London and wider shifts within capitalism.
Elyssa has worked in live performance since childhood, across commercial and experimental sectors, in North America, the UK and Europe. She is an active member of various activist groups and spaces in London. She has taught theatre, performance and movement at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Goldsmiths University of London. Her final contribution as part of the editorial team for Contemporary Theatre Review’s online Interventions is an issue focused on collaboration.
Adapted from bio published in 2017