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Jack Belloli

Jack Belloli

Department: English

Supervisor: Steven Connor

College: Queens'

AHRC Subject Area: Languages and literature

Title of Thesis: Constructions of skill in experimental theatre since Beckett


Biography:

I studied BA English at Christ's College, Cambridge from 2009-12. After graduating, I spent a year at Harvard University as a Kennedy Memorial Scholar, taking courses in a range of humanities disciplines. From 2013-14, I took the MA in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I was funded by the AHRC and wrote a dissertation on John Ashbery's long poems.

My PhD project investigates the importance of skill - the embodied, repeatable, perfectible, but often inarticulable processes through which we negotiate our lived environment - to contemporary theatre. Why have theatremakers become increasingly invested in telegraphing performers' and audiences' (in)capacity to get better at the practices they are involved in? Does this concern constitute a new model for theatrical politics, or a new way of understanding how performances influence or allude to each other?  

My main areas of focus are: Samuel Beckett in performance; the use of post-dramatic techniques by recent British playwrights (Martin Crimp, Tim Crouch, David Greig); Forced Entertainment, and their influence; the rise of "immersive theatre" as a genre. My approach is informed by (among others) Tim Ingold's notion of the "taskscape", Richard Sennett's work on the craftsman, and Peter Sloterdijk's "anthropotechnics". 

Other academic interests

My interests extend more broadly into the history and theory of drama and performance - I am currently preparing an essay on Renaissance tragicomedy for journal consideration - and into contemporary literature. I am particularly interested in how practices of contemplation and self-attention, as revived recently by "the New Stoicism" and New Monasticism, influence contemporary writers and theorists; I am currently exploring these ideas in my reviews for a number of journals and magazines.