Performance as Philosophy — the universal language of the theatre revisited


  • Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe Lincoln School of Performing Arts, University of Lincoln
  • Anita S. Hammer Queen Maud University College in Trondheim



Performance philosophy, holistic, energy-paradigm, immediate experience, sensuous experience, imagination, consciousness studies.


The history of philosophy is widely considered as the history of exercises in speculation. However, it is also possible to understand philosophy not as the outcome of speculation, but at the attempt by philosophers to explain, make sense of, and ultimately share, their own experiences of a very subtle, powerful and spiritual nature. The growing field of performance philosophy begins to acknowledge the potential of considering philosophy as an expression of immediate experience rather than distant speculation. This acknowledgement can take the shape of employing performance to express philosophy — in more immediately experienced ways than verbal language is ever able to convey. Writing about this non-verbal dimension is difficult, and the result limited by its very nature, but in this article, we discuss the principle, and provide an example in the performance philosophy, captured under the term of body thinking, of German philosopher and dancer Aurelia Baumgartner.

Author Biographies

Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Lincoln School of Performing Arts, University of Lincoln

Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe studied English and Philosophy at the Universität Düsseldorf. In 1994 he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of London.  From 1994 to 2007, he was Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University of Wales Aberystwyth. Since October 2007 he has been Professor of Drama at the Lincoln School of Performing Arts, University of Lincoln. He has numerous publications on the topic of Theatre and Consciousness to his credit, and is founding editor of the peer-reviewed web-journal Consciousness, Literature and the Arts and the book series of the same title with Brill | Rodopi.

Anita S. Hammer, Queen Maud University College in Trondheim

Anita S. Hammer studied Theatre, Literature and Nordic Language at the Universities of Trondheim and Bergen. She has worked with mythology, creative writing, acting and storytelling in Norway and New Zealand. Her Ph. D, in Theatre Studies was obtained from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2001. She was a Professor/associate Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Oslo from 2002 to 2011. Since 2011 she has been a Professor at the Queen Maud University College in Trondheim. She works actively to combine aesthetic academic approaches with holistic practices. She has published books and articles on the topic of theatre and spirituality, and has a special interest in ritual practice and theory, and performance theory. She has been connected to the network of Consciousness, Literature and the Arts since 2006.


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How to Cite

Meyer-Dinkgräfe, D., & Hammer, A. S. (2017). Performance as Philosophy — the universal language of the theatre revisited. Nordic Theatre Studies, 28(2), 97–118.



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