Let’s make this clear first of all. We’re not talking about performance poetry here. This is different. Performance poetry is written to be performed, much like a play, and so only has a secondary existence on the page. ReAuthored Performance is work that has a valid existence on the page first of all. It is the reinterpretation of ‘on-the-page’ work for a live context.
We call it ‘ReAuthoring’ because that’s what it involves: a writer remaking their written work for a different audience, one that will largely experience it as a public, audio-visual happening rather than as a private, text-centric event. It’s the same work, but it’s not. Not better, not worse. Just different in a way that’s right for the context and the audience.
This is our manifesto.
- The author is at the centre of ReAuthored performance, delivering their own work. They do not have to pretend to be an actor.
- ReAuthoring keeps the audience in mind. It seeks to entertain, inspire, bemuse and generate emotion.
- ReAuthoring is a valid offering to the audience in and of itself. You do not have to have read the book to ‘get it’; neither do you have to read the book afterwards. It stands alone.
- ReAuthoring enriches the text from which it emerges, but is independent to it. It seeks to offer something new for a live context.
- Re:uthored performance is collaborative. It emerges from a dialogue between a writer and their producer. It is ‘staged’, rehearsed, deliberate. It draws on the high production values of theatre and performance art.
- ReAuthored Performance is portable. It should be able to fit comfortably into a Lit Fest slot, a library or a small venue. It should not have high technical requirements.
- ReAuthored Performance is immersive and interactive. It opens up a conversation with the audience – even if that conversation goes no further than asking them to think in a different way.
- ReAuthored Performance is more than bolt-ons or mixed bills. It is not about cheap tricks to catch the audience’s wandering attention.
- ReAuthored Performance must be built on a bedrock of high-quality writing. It is not an excuse for a weak text.
- ReAuthored Performance is innovative and exploratory. It seeks new ways to engage new audiences, perhaps with new technologies. It acknowledges a new order in the world of writing, and revels in it.