Antonin Artaud: What Does 'Theatre of Cruelty' Look Like?

Date of Graduation

Summer 1998


Master of Arts


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Odai Johnson


Antonin Artaud created a major body of theatrical theory he entitled 'Theatre of Cruelty'. This thesis sets out to examine what Artaud's theories look like, how they were formed, and whether they can be implemented. Artaud's experience with a Balinese dance troupe in 1931 helped provide him with a concrete example of what his theatre of cruelty could be. However, it is unknown whether Artaud saw a true Balinese performance, or a highly stylized Western copy. Several major attempts have been made by theatrical practitioners to fulfill Artaud's theories, and this study will investigate their efforts. The purpose of this study is to examine the foundations of Artaud's cruelty movement, and to consider whether or not it can be implemented: What does 'Theatre of Cruelty' look like?

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


© David Robert Fields