The path to CauseWay: Developing a feminist site-specific performance practice at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
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Bianchi, V. (2015) The path to CauseWay: Developing a feminist site-specific performance practice at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Platform, 9(2), pp. 55-78.
This article analyses CauseWay (2014), a feminist site-specific performance work created for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and Cottage (RBBM) in Alloway, South Ayrshire. The performance, which explored the history of two suffragettes who attempted to blow up the cottage in 1914, challenged the dominant, androcentric heritage narrative of the RBBM by exploring the hidden female history of the space. Drawing on Doreen Massey’s concept of gendered spaces, this article applies a feminist lens to the relationship between performance and space. Beginn–ing with an exploration of the gendered nature of heritage tourism, the narrative of the suffragette attack is discussed. The development of CauseWay is then analysed by employing a theoretical framework of performance studies, human geography and heritage studies. Practical discussions of intertwining feminist theory with site-specific performance are offered with a view to further exploring the relationship between heritage, site, gender and performance. The article concludes by considering the relationship between gender and heritage and proposing live performance as a potential tool for the development of a more representative heritage sector.