Performance Ethnography

Performance ethnography employs theatre and performance—as collaborative, multisensorial, and transdisciplinary modalities— at the level of ethnographic process, analysis, and representation. Our group members work at the intersection of humanistic anthropology, theatre and performance studies, and visual anthropology. We initiate dialogues about how ethnographic performance-creation might help us reconceptualize public engagement, activism, collaboration, reflexivity, and representation.


Becky Gold

Becky is a community arts facilitator, artist support worker, and emerging scholar currently pursuing her PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. She holds a BA Honours in Drama and English from Queen’s University and a MA in Theatre Studies from the University of British Columbia. Becky’s research interests include: disability theatre, interdependence and care politics in performance, performance ethnography, and imagining futures of disability through performance. This upcoming year, Becky will be facilitating a musical theatre program as well as a speakers bureau for neurodiverse self-advocates in Toronto.

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston

Magdalena is an anthropologist, performance theorist, theatre director and playwright. She is Associate Professor of Theatre, and has graduate appointments in Theatre & Performance Studies and Social Anthropology at York University. Her research interests include performance ethnography, ethnographic storytelling, ethnographic (non)fiction, multimodal ethnography, physical and political theatre and performance. She has collaborated on imaginative ethnography projects with Romani people and Nazi-Holocaust survivors in Poland and Canada, and residents from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her book, Staging Strife (2010), was awarded the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Outstanding Qualitative Book Award and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize (2011). Her article, “quiet Theatre: The Radical Politics of Silence,” was awarded the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR) 2019 Richard Plant Prize, granted annually to the best English-language article on a Canadian theatre or performance topic. She is a Co-Curator of the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography (CIE).

Shawn Kazubowski-Houston

Shawn is a thespian, theatre director, playwright, photographer, editor and poet. He has worked as ethnographer and co-artistic director (Teatr Korzenie) on various projects in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Poland. Shawn is also a registrar’s assistant at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.


Rajat Nayyar

Rajat is a visual anthropologist and a PhD student at the Department of Theatre, York University. His research interests are: everyday forms of resistance, verbal performative traditions, community archives, fiction and performance as a practice in producing collaborative audio-visual ethnography. Rajat is the founder of Espírito Kashi, a media project working on finding new embodied and critical ways of engaging with Intangible Heritage of rural India. His recent film, Kashi Labh, on the social aesthetics of dying in Kashi, India’s holy city, continues to reach newer audiences, conferences, film festivals, as well as private institutions.

Please stay tuned as we use this blog to document, archive, and offer reflections and findings from our rehearsal and creation processes.