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It's All Allowed
The Performances of Adrian Howells
Now Available
Price £20, $28.50
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ISBN 9781783205899
Paperback 336 pages
Published June 2016
Imprint: Intellect
Books by Deirdre Heddon
Books by Dominic Johnson
Books in Performing Arts
Other books in this series
Reviews     |      Comments
Adrian Howells (1962–2014) was one of the world’s leading figures in the field of one-to-one performance practice - the act of staging an event for one audience participant at a time. Developed over more than a decade, Howells’s award-winning work demonstrated not only his enduring commitment to this genre of performance, but also his determination to find new challenges and innovations in performance art, “intimate theatre,” and socially engaged art.
Its All Allowed, edited by Deirdre Heddon and Dominic Johnson, is the first book devoted to Howells’s remarkable achievements and legacy. Contributors here testify to the methodological, thematic, and historiographical challenges posed by Howells’s performances. Citing his permissive mantra as its title, ItAll Allowed includes new writing from leading scholars and artists, as well as writing by Howells himself, an extensive interview, scores, and visual materials, which together offer new insight into Howells’s ground-breaking process.

Deirdre Heddon is professor of contemporary performance practice at the University of Glasgow and the author of numerous books, including Autobiography and Performance. Dominic Johnson is a senior lecturer in the Department of Drama at Queen Mary University of London and the editor of Pleading in the Blood: The Art and Performances of Ron Athey, also published by Intellect.

'The publication is a not just equally fascinating and important; for those wanting to engage in acts of intimate performance, it’s possibly the most comprehensive reference book available.' – Jo Verrent, The Huffington Post

'It is not just a celebration of an extraordinary body of work but also a handbook for those working in the tricky, ethically fraught area of intimate performance.' – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

'This is an informative and engaging introduction and a thorough survey of the life and work of this important British performer and artist, who was one of the leading, internationally-recognised figures in one-to-one performance practice. While this is a significant contribution to the field of theatre and performance studies due to the accomplished documentation of this most ephemeral and fleeting performance practice, it is also an invaluable resource for practitioners, researchers, and students interested in performance art, Live Art, intimate and immersive theatre, autobiographical performance, and socially engaged and participatory art. The book offers fascinating new insights into Howells’s creative working practices and artistic processes and is thus particularly interesting for those seeking expert knowledge on the particular methodologies, pedagogies, and issues surrounding one-to-one work. It is therefore both a legacy project and a comprehensive handbook for anyone interested in creating intimate performance, and will be equally attractive to readers familiar with Howells’s work and those who are encountering it for the first time.' – Antje Hildebrandt, Contemporary Theatre Review

'Copiously illustrated with colour photographs, the book is leavened with personal accounts and tributes to Howells, my favourite being that of Marcia Farquhar, whose pyjamas were turned into a muddy-coloured mess during a performance of Adrienne’s Dirty Laundry Experience (2005). Johnson and Heddon also include scholarly articles that address the structure and psychological impact of one-to-one performances (Heddon, Helen Iball and Rachel Zerihan), the documentation of the intimate encounter (Jon Cairnes), the implications of Howells’s affective labour in a neo-liberal economy (Stephen Greer), and a compelling discussion of the medieval and Christological history of the foot/sole in Howells’s best-known performance, Footwashing for the Sole (Kathleen Gough). The entire book is framed by an excellent introduction that situates Howells’s work in relationship with relational aesthetics, immersive performance, dialogical aesthetics and the politics of feminine/queer labour. Mindful of the audience that would not be familiar with Howells’s work, the editors included a biographical survey of Howells’s oeuvre that spanned his beginning in high school to his final performance, Lifeguard.' – Jennie Klein, Theatre Research International

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