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The first 10 years of a company known for its creative collaborations and daring innovations

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Copyright © 2011, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.


The theater company Mabou Mines has for the past forty years created pathbreaking new theater by combining the latest concepts in music, visual arts, and technology with traditional forms of creative expression: puppetry, text, movement, theater design. From the beginning, the evanescence of performance and the dynamics of group work attracted the group. Most of their early pieces were never recorded, leaving little documentation of their foundational productions. Mabou Mines: Making Avant-Garde Theater in the 1970s provides this missing history, attempting to capture and describe the explorations of a group who set out to create indescribable performance. Iris Smith Fischer makes visible once again the celebrated company's least documented work, and offers accounts of the decisions and events that defined Mabou Mines' ideas and methods, particularly their creative collaborations with visual artists, musicians, writers, and dancers. Focusing on the heady days of the company's founding and first ten years, the book traces Mabou Mines' intellectual and artistic roots, frames them within the 1970s avant-garde, and outlines their significance in contemporary performance.

Iris Smith Fischer is Associate Professor of English at the University of Kansas.