Bring me a Souvenir: Performing Herstory on Ayr beach
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Bianchi, V. (2022) 'Bring me a Souvenir: Performing Herstory on Ayr beach', Studies in Theatre and Performance, 42(1), pp. 47-67.
This article employs Massey’s conceptualisation of gendered space to explore the ways in which the unrepresented narratives of women in heritage sites can be promoted through site-specific performance practice. It focuses on the development and creation of Souvenir, a site-specific play performed at Ayr beach in South Ayrshire, Scotland in 2017. The project involved the development of a public performance work inspired by stories shared by local women at reminiscence workshops. Implementing a practice-as-research (PaR) methodology, this performance was created to celebrate the narratives of ‘ordinary’ women so often unrepresented in heritage spaces. The aim of this study was to extrapolate principles of feminist performance practice that can be used to respond to the lack of women’s stories, termed ‘Herstory’, in such sites. This article delineates the development process of Souvenir, noting the particular frameworks and methods employed to foreground Herstory. The performance process drew upon Smith’s mythogeography and Berger’s hydrological dramaturgy in order to explore how creative practice could highlight the feminist possibilities of the space. The combination of practice and theory serves to interrogate the performance methods used in representing marginalised narratives of women, while simultaneously exploring how personal conceptualisations of space can be altered through such work.