Fields of Research (FoR)Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
I am Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW Sydney.
I specialise in modern and contemporary German theatre as well as socially engaged performance. Currently I am researching Bertolt Brecht's approach to comedy and ageing as well as engagements with elderly bodies in Theatre of Real People. My research focuses on the way in which theatre responds to socio-historical contexts, ...view more
I am Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies in the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW Sydney.
I specialise in modern and contemporary German theatre as well as socially engaged performance. Currently I am researching Bertolt Brecht's approach to comedy and ageing as well as engagements with elderly bodies in Theatre of Real People. My research focuses on the way in which theatre responds to socio-historical contexts, ideologies and habitual modes of perception. This focus underpins my work on the following topics: the theory and practice of German playwright-director Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956); sex-gender ideology and intercultural encounter in German drama, performance and dance theatre since the early twentieth century; and the engagement with cultural diversity and ageing bodies within innovative Theatre of Real People from both German- and English-language countries. My research advances disciplinary understanding of theatre’s capacities and strategies for engaging with social inequity, complex cultural identities and vulnerability.
My key publications include the award-winning book Bertolt Brecht in the Routledge Performance Practitioners series. I am co-author (with Ulrike Garde) of the monograph Theatre of Real People: Diverse Encounters from Berlin's Hebbel am Ufer and Beyond (Bloomsbury, 2016) and co-editor (with Garde and Johannes Birgfeld) of Rimini Protokoll Close-Up: Lektüren (Wehrhahn, 2015). These two books address a current fascination with people presenting aspects of their own lives on stage, and explore how innovative documentary theatre seeks to offer fresh ways of perceiving diverse and unfamiliar people.
My contributions to research include my research training work as School Postgraduate Research Convener, and as supervisor for over 17 and examiner for over 9 Higher Degree Research students. I have also acted as Asia-Pacific Book Reviews Editor for Theatre Research International, and am currently a member of the editorial board for The Brecht Yearbook / Das Brecht Jahrbuch.
ARC LIEF Grant: LE140100024 AusStage, Phase 5: researching Australian live performance – national culture, global markets, aesthetic transmission: four interviews with Australia-based theatre-makers involved in Rimini Protokoll & the City of Melbourne Arts and Participation Program’s 100% Melbourne and Rimini Protokoll’s 100% Darwin, 2015-16.
Goethe Institut, Sydney, for Ta(l)king Pleasure in German Culture symposium, October 2007
Goethe Institut, Glasgow, for ‘Brecht Fest’ 1998 and Purgatory in Ingolstadt 1999
BA Hons (First Class, U.N.E.); PhD (Bristol, UK)
Bertolt Brecht (London and New York: Routledge, 2009) was included in Choice magazine's international list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009. A revised version was re-issued 2018.
Overseas Research Students Award, Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, UK, 1992
Keith and Dorothy Mackay Travelling Scholarship, University of New England, Australia, 1991
University Medal in Theatre, University of New England, Australia, 1991
My Research Activities
Garde, Ulrike & Meg Mumford, Theatre of Real People: Diverse Encounters from Berlin's Hebbel am Ufer and Beyond (London: Bloomsbury, 2016).
Birgfeld, Johannes, Ulrike Garde & Meg Mumford (eds), Rimini Protokoll Close-Up: Lektüren (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2015).
Mumford, Meg, Bertolt Brecht (London and New York: Routledge, 2009). [Included in Choice magazine's list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009. Revised edition re-issued 2018.]
Mumford, Meg & Ulrike Garde, 'Staging Real People: On the Arts and Effects of Non-Professional Theatre Performers', Performance Paradigm, 11 (2015): 5-15, http://www.performanceparadigm.net/index.php/journal/article/view/167
‘Rimini Protokoll's Reality Theatre and Intercultural Encounter: Towards an Ethical Art of Partial Proximity’, Contemporary Theatre Review, 23.3 (2013): 153-65.
‘Pina Bausch Choreographs Blaubart: A Transgressive or Regressive Act?’, German Life and Letters, LVII, 1 (2004): 44-57.
‘Barthes on Brecht’s Tableau: Fetish meets Flux’, Communications from the International Brecht Society, 32 (June 2003): 42-7.
Mumford, Meg & Alison Phipps, ‘Translating the Strange, Performing the Peculiar: Marieluise Fleißer's Fegefeuer in Ingolstadt’, Studies in Theatre and Performance, 22, 2 (2002): 69-81.
‘Gestic Masks in Brecht’s Theatre: A Testimony to the Contradictions and Parameters of a Realist Aesthetic’, The Brecht Yearbook, 26 (2001): 143-71.
‘Brecht on Acting for the 21st Century: Interrogating and Re-Inscribing the Fixed’, Communications from the International Brecht Society, 29, 1 & 2 (June 2000): 44-9.
‘Brecht Studies Stanislavski: Just a Tactical Move?’, New Theatre Quarterly, 11, 43 (1995): 241-58.
Mumford, Meg, ‘Valentin, Brecht and Comical Inelasticity: Ridiculing Rigidity as an Impediment to Change’, in Josephine Gray and Lisa Trahair (eds), Second Nature: Comic Performance and Philosophy (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2023), pp. 89-112.
Mumford, Meg, ‘Models for Epic Theatre from the Munich Years: Wedekind and Valentin’, in Stephen Brockmann (ed.), Bertolt Brecht in Context (Cambridge: C.U.P., 2021), pp. 26-33.
Mumford, Meg, ‘Models for Epic Theatre from the Munich Years: Wedekind and Valentin’, in Stephen Brockmann (ed.), Bertolt Brecht in Context (Cambridge: C.U.P., forthcoming).
Mumford, Meg, "Brecht's Perspectives, Then and Now: Class, Gender and the Social Stakes of Performance", in David Barnett (ed.), The Great Stage Directors, vol. 2 (Meyerhold, Piscator, Brecht) (London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2018).
Mumford, Meg, '100% City and Popular Factual Television: A New Game Plan for Managing Proximity to People?', in Johannes Birgfeld, Ulrike Garde & Meg Mumford (eds), Rimini Protokoll Close-Up: Lektüren (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2015), pp. 278-301.
Birgfeld, Johannes, Ulrike Garde & Meg Mumford, 'Introduction: Diverse and Close-Up Navigations of Rimini Protokoll's Theatre', in Johannes Birgfeld, Ulrike Garde & Meg Mumford (eds), Rimini Protokoll Close-Up: Lektüren (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2015), pp. ix-xxv.
Mumford, Meg, 'Toward Transculturality in Reality Theatre from Berlin and Sydney: A Study of the Nomad in Rimini Protokoll's Cargo Sofia-X and the "Spiritual Medium" in Fast Cars and Tractor Engines by Urban Theatre Projects', in Alan Corkhill and Alison Lewis (eds), Intercultural Encounters in German Studies (St. Ingbert: Röhrig, 2014), pp. 181-196.
Garde, Ulrike & Meg Mumford, ‘Postdramatic Reality Theatre and Productive Insecurity: Destabilising Encounters with the Unfamiliar in Theatre from Sydney and Berlin’, in Jerome Carroll, Steve Giles and Karen Jürs-Munby (eds), Postdramatic Theatre and the Political: International Perspectives on Contemporary Performance (London: Bloomsbury (Methuen Drama), 2013), pp. 157-64.
‘Fluid Collectives of Friendly Strangers: The Creative Politics of Difference in the Reality Theatre of Rimini Protokoll and Urban Theatre Projects’, in Gerhard Fischer & Florian Vaßen (eds), Collective Creativity: Collaborative Work in the Sciences, Literature and the Arts (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2010), pp. 329-43.
‘Aftershocks: Voices from a Shaken Community', in Paul Brown (ed.), Verbatim: Staging Memory and Community (Currency Press: Sydney, 2010), pp. 37-48.
Wake, Caroline, Meg Mumford & Ulrike Garde, ‘A Short History of Verbatim Theatre', in Paul Brown (ed.), Verbatim: Staging Memory and Community (Currency Press: Sydney, 2010), pp. 9-17.
Mumford, Meg & Alison Phipps, ‘Encountering Stories from Contemporary German Theatre’, Contemporary German Cultural Studies (London: Arnold, 2002), pp. 219-40.
“Dragging” Brecht’s Gestus Onwards: A Feminist Challenge’, in Steve Giles and Rodney Livingstone (eds), Bertolt Brecht: Centenary Essays (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1998), pp. 240-57.
Panel Discussion Transcripts
Mumford, Meg & John Severn (eds.), 'Putting Real People on Stage: Helgard Haug (Rimini Protokoll) in Conversation with Australian Practitioners and Academics', Performance Paradigm, 11 (2015): 101-15, http://www.performanceparadigm.net/index.php/journal/article/view/165
Mumford, Meg (ed.), panel discussion transcript, 'Panel Discussion 100% Melbourne: Contemporary Documentary Performance that Puts "Real Melbournians" on the Stage', in Johannes Birgfeld, Ulrike Garde and Meg Mumford (eds), Rimini Protokoll Close-Up: Lektüren (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2015), pp. 302-17.
‘Polykulturelle Akteure im “Reality Theater” von Rimini Protokoll und Urban Theatre Projects', in Ortrud Gutjahr, Deniz Göktürk, Alexander Honold (eds), Interkulturalität als Herausforderung und Forschungsparadigma der Literatur- und Medienwissenschaft, section 21 in Franciszek Grucza (ed.), Akten des XII. internationalen Germanistenkongresses Warschau 2010. Vielheit und Einheit der Germanistik weltweit, vol. 12 (Frankfurt am Main et al.: Peter Lang, 2012), pp. 191-5.
Entries on ‘agitprop’, ‘bourgeois theatre’, ‘illusionism’, and ‘Verfremdung’, in Dennis Kennedy (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance, vols. 1 & 2 (Oxford: O.U.P., 2003).
Mumford, Meg, film review of The Threepenny Opera, director Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Nero-Film/ Tobis /Warner Bros., 1931, in Michelle Langford (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Germany 2 (Bristol: Intellect, 2013), pp. 210-12.
Garde, Ulrike & Meg Mumford, ‘Rimini Protokoll Presents “Real” Experts: 100% Melbourne and Radio Muezzin’, Kultur, Magazine of the Goethe-Institut in Australia, 23 (2012): 16-17. See also: http://issuu.com/goetheaustralia/docs/gi_kultur23_sep12/1 [accessed September 2012]
Garde, Ulrike & Meg Mumford, performance review of Radio Muezzin, by Rimini Protokoll, Everest Theatre, Sydney Festival, January 2012, in ‘Experts of the Everyday: Rimini Protokoll’, RealTime, 108 (2012): 26. See also: http://www.realtimearts.net/article/108/10617 [accessed May 2012]
Aurin, Andreas & Meg Mumford, performance review of Baal, director Simon Stone, a co-production of Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Melbourne, Wharf 1, Sydney Theatre Company, May 2011, in Communications from the International Brecht Society, 40 (2011): 58-62.
Insecurity: Perils and Products of Theatres of the Real. By Jenn Stephenson (Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press, 2019). In Theatre Research in Canada, 42, 2 (2021): 320-322.
Contemporary Theatres in Europe: A Critical Companion. Edited by Joe Kelleher and Nicholas Ridout (London & New York: Routledge, 2006). Review in http://performanceparadigm.net/journal/issue-4/bookreviews/ [Issue 4, 2008]
Women and German Drama: Playwrights and Their Texts, 1860-194. By Sarah Colvin (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2003). Review in Theatre Research International, (Summer 2005).
Brecht Sourcebook. Edited by Carol Martin & Henry Bial. London & New York: Routledge, 2000. Review in Theatre Research International (Autumn, 2000).
Schauspielerinnen im Europa des 18. Jahrhunderts: Ihr Leben, Ihre Schriften und Ihr Publikum. By Ruth Emde (Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, 1997). In Theatre Research International (Summer, 2000).
German Expressionist Theatre: The Actor and the Stage. By David F. Kuhns (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Review in Theatre Research International (Autumn, 1998).
German Theatre: A Bibliography from the Beginning to 1995. By Michael Patterson (Leicester: Motley Press, 1996). Review in Theatre Research International (Winter, 1997).
The Shocking Ballad Picture Show. By Tom Cheesman (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 1994). Review in Theatre Research International (Autumn, 1997).
Dr Barbara Panse, ‘Censorship in Nazi Germany: The Influence of the Reich’s Ministry of Propaganda on German Theatre and Drama, 1933-45’ in Günter Berghaus (ed.), Fascism and Theatre: Comparative Studies on the Aesthetics and Politics of Performance in Europe 1925-1945 (Providence US and Oxford UK: Berghahn Books, 1996), pp. 140-56.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
German theatre and dance theatre; theories of acting and performing; politics and theatre, particularly gender, class and age politics; cultural and feminist materialist approaches to theatre; theatre history and historiography; theatre of real people and documentary performance; theatre and ageing.
I HAVE SUPERVISED SUCCESSFUL MA THESES ON:
Representations of violent women in 1990s British drama and theatre
I HAVE SUPERVISED SUCCESSFUL PhD THESES ON:
Multimedia Theatre in the Virtual Age.
Performing Witness: Testimonial Theatre in the Age of Asylum Australia 2000-2005.
The Politics of 'New' Community-based Guerrilla Performance in Australia.
Walking in Sydney Looking for Dancing: An Autoethnographic Mapping of the Place of Independent Dance.
'What is the cause of thunder?': A Study of the Storm in King Lear.
Dialectical Music and the Lehrstück.
Shakespeare and Jukebox Musical.
The Choreography of the Gaze: Looking Back at Spectators in Works by Pina Bausch and Jacques Tati.
Performing the Demos: Contemporary Performance Practices in Post-Democratic Sydney, 2011-2017
Strategies for Enhancing Presence in Theatre Today: An Actor-Director's Perspective
Critical Theatre: An Analysis of Plays Representing Violence, Injustice, and the nature of Imperialism in regard to the War (1987-2006) in Northern Uganda
Resisting Closure: Tragic Experience and ‘Participatory Drama’ in Contemporary Theatre and Performance
Community Storytelling: The Role of the Co-Writer within Ethnographic Theatre
Editorial board member for The Brecht Yearbook / Das Brecht Jahrbuch 2016-
Asia-Pacific Book Reviews Editor for Theatre Research International 2016-7
Symposium Ta(l)king Pleasure in German Culture: A Day in the Dialectical Playground organised by Dr Meg Mumford and Dr Michelle Langford, 20 October 2007, Webster Building and Io Myers Studio, UNSW.
Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies
International Brecht Society
International Federation for Theatre Research
Performance Studies International
7 PhD theses and 1 MA.
UNDERGRADUATE CONVENORSHIP IN 2021
ARTS2122 Performance Production
ARTS2127 Great Plays
ARTS2125 Acting and Performing
UNDERGRADUATE TUTORING IN 2021
ARTS1120 Experiencing Theatre
ARTS2121 Theatre in Our Times