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David Roesner : "The Sound of Theatre. Musical and Acoustemological Approaches to Contemporary Performance Practice in an International Context"

Theater Studies, LMU

Academic Year 2022/2023

In theatre, as in everyday life, we are continuously surrounded by sounds. Sounds in the foreground which we actively turn towards, such as voices, effects, music, but also background soundscapes, sonic tapestry, atmospheres, acoustics of space. What sounds in the theatre and how it sounds is of the utmost importance and has significant impact – on theatre-makers and audiences alike. Research interest in music and "sound" (in a broad sense) in theatre, however, is low and mostly disintegrates into its individual aspects (e.g. voice, sound design, acoustics, composition).

The CAS Research Group "The Sound of Theatre" therefore pursues two important goals toward a sonic aesthetic of theatre: 1) Deeping and expanding current research on theatre music in particular as a relational and performed practice. With the help of international experts, the current significant gap in research on this topic would be addressed and their findings made accessible to a broader, international public through the joint publication of a carefully curated volume. 2) Furthermore, however, the topic will be considered in the context of a more holistic perspective: going beyond the study of theatre music, the group will consider a more comprehensive aesthetics of "sound" in theatre. How do artists and audiences sound, hear and listen? What constitutes the sonic signature of a theatre, an ensemble, a directorial team? These new, explorative approaches will be presented and discussed in a conference that analyses the acoustic, epistemic, performative, phenomenological and social conditions, effects, and meanings of "sound" in theatre practice across all genres.