Index // People Projects Recent Publications Events & Symposia
VAN DEN DRIES Luk
PEOPLE //

Luk Van den Dries studied Germanic Philology at the University of Brussels and started his academic career in 1980 with a research fellowship at the University of Brussels. In 1991 he got his PhD on The Performance History of Heiner Muller in Belgium and was appointed as an assistant Professor at the University of Antwerp. Currently he is Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) and head of the department of Literature.

He was editor of the theatre magazine Etcetera, organiser of the Flemish-Dutch Theatrefestival and president of the Flemish Arts Council. Book publications include Performance, transformance, informance. New Concepts in Theatre (together with Henk Oosterling, CFK, Rotterdam), Body Check (Rodopi, 2001), Omtrent de opvoering. Heiner Müller en drie decennia theater in Vlaanderen (KANTL, 2001), Verspeelde werkelijkheid. Verkenningen van theatraliteit (with Steven De Belder and Koen Tachelet, Van Halewyck, 2002), Tussen de dronkaerd en het kouwe kind. 150 jaar Nationael Tooneel, KNS, Het Toneelhuis, (with Toon Brouwers e.a., Ludion, 2003).

His major work on the Flemish artist Corpus Jan Fabre (Imschoot, 2004), has been translated in seven languages. He is the author of several books and articles investigating the development of theatre in Flanders and the Netherlands. Together with Jan Fabre he founded Aisthesis, a research centre on the representation of the body in today's theatre. He works as a freelance dramaturg for Jan Fabre (a.o. Tannhäuser, Requiem für eine Metamorphose). Together with Louise Chardon he founded the theatre company AndWhatBesidesDeath and created Ay¨n- La Biagnoire du diable (2008) , Sensorama (2009). and Fenestra Ovalis (2011).

 

A full bibliography can be found on my University of Antwerp home page.

 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

 

Creative Processes in Contemporary Theatre (Body, Text, Stage)

 

My major line of research is on the representation of the body in contemporary theatre. More than a pure ideological marker of meaning I analyse the body as an energetic and esthetical subject within phenomenological lines of thinking. It resulted in edited books and articles for (inter)national journals and organisation and participation on many conferences.

A more specific line of research has its roots in a collaboration with the Belgian artist and director Jan Fabre with whom I created the research Centre Aisthesis. I followed his work very closely, was invited as an academic to join the research and creation process which resulted in the monograph Corpus Jan Fabre, Observations of a Creation Process, a book which has been translated in six languages. Symbolic confirmation of this close collaboration between academic and artistic fields was the title of doctor honoris causa given by the University of Antwerp to Jan Fabre on my proposal and public defence in 2009.


Another line of research resulted from my work on my PhD on the performances of Heiner Müller in Flanders. I studied the way classic and contemporary drama was being performed in a ‘post-dramatic’ context. The current PhD research of Ciska Hoet on debates on canon-repertoire debates is part of this research line. Next to that I also initiated a research project on Mass Theatre, a highly ideologically affected genre in which catholic, communist and fascist regimes meet each other. A book edition is in the last phase of preparation with Kadoc, Leuven. Currently I am working on the ‘Performer of the 21st Century’, a big European research project on new acting methods for contemporary theatre, focusing on the Biological Acting Method of Jan Fabre. Together with a team of neurobiologists and physicists and a specialist in audience research we want to see if we can ‘measure’ expressivity and ‘presence’ on stage. We organised a first international conference in April 2011 and we will continue our research for the next two years.


For the future I am preparing a new monograph on Jan Fabre, a collection of older and new essays on Fabre (2013, Meulenhof); I am planning a new handbook for theatre history, in which Flemish and Dutch theatre history will be discussed alongside European theatre history. Next to myself the editors-in-chief are Frank Peeters (UA), Thomas Crombez (UA), Bart Ramakers (University of Groningen) and Karel Vanhaesebrouck (University of Maastricht). This project should be finished by 2014. And I would like to find the time to write a history on Flemish theatre since 1945. I hope to take a sabbatical leave after my next term as a Chair of the Department (2012-2015) to focus on this project.

 

As part of my academic career I found it always important and necessary to take up responsibility within the organisation of the arts. During my career I was co-founder and editor of a new theatre journal Etcetera, co-founder of the Flemish Theatre Institute and co-founder of Thersites, the Association of Theatre Critics. From 1991 until 1994 I organised the Flemish-Dutch Theatre Festival in Antwerp (deSingel) and in that same period I became a member, later president of the Flemish Council for Theatre Subventions (Beoordelingscommissie Nederlandstalige Dramatische Kunst t.b.v. de Vlaamse Regering (1994-2000). Together with Monty, deSingel, Troubleyn and University of Antwerp I created the theatre workplace for young theatre artists detheatermaker (Antwerp, 2008). Together with Louise Chardon I created in 2008 AndWhatBesidesDeath, a company doing research in performance and dance.

Built and designed by indianen.