Interview with Laura Levin, conducted by Mark Matusoff. This interview is a part of a series curated by the Hemispheric Institute, articulated around thequestion 'What is Performance Studies?' The series aims to provide a multifaceted approach to the often difficult task of defining the coordinates of both a field of academic study as well as a lens through which to assess and document cultural practice and embodied behavior. The contingent definitions documented in this series are based on the groundbreaking experiences and the scholarly endeavors of renowned figures in contemporary performance studies and practice.
Laura Levin is a performance theorist whose research focuses on contemporary theatre and performance art, performing gender and sexuality, site-specific and urban performance, and intermediality in performance. She is Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Theatre Review and has edited a number of collections: an issue of Theatre Research in Canada on Space and Subjectivity in Performance; a CTR issue on Performance Art; an issue of Performance Research on Performing Publics, Conversations Across Borders (Seagull Books, 2011); and Theatre and Performance in Toronto (Playwrights Canada Press, 2011). Her current research, which focuses on gender, performance, and space, appears in several edited volumes including Judith Thompson (ed. Ric Knowles) and Space and the Geographies of Canadian Theatre (ed. Michael McKinnie), and Performance and the City (eds. Kim Solga, DJ Hopkins, and Shelley Orr). She has worked as a director and dramaturg on a number of productions in North America and several practice-based research projects that investigate intersections of performance, geography, and digital technologies. In 2008, Laura Levin was awarded a SSHRC Standard Grant for ‘The Canadian Performance Studies Project,’ the first major research study to theorize and map the field of performance studies as it has emerged in Canada. As part of this project, she chaired the annual Performance Studies International conference, which was held in Canada for the first time in June 2010. She is currently a co-investigator for the Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas, a SSHRC-funded partnership between NYU’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and a network of performance researchers from Canadian universities.