Performance artists and scholars increasingly engage in interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration to explore how the brain and body experience and engage in performance. Cognitive perspectives have been used to theorise audience engagement and spectatorship, analysis of theatre texts and performance, approaches to actor training and discussion of applied theatre and performance. Concepts such as cognitive blending, embodiment, entrainment, theory of mind and kinesthetic empathy are changing our understanding of performance processes, practices and reception. This roundtable involves neuroscientists, performance scholars and practitioners engaging in dialogue about their experiences of interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange.  The discussion will address a series of questions and debates within the field:

How can science benefit performance practice and scholarship?

What can theatre and performance offer to scientific research?

What methodologies are being used in interdisciplinary work and what new paradigms are being created from these interactions?

How do cognitive perspectives engage with traditional approaches to performance?

How do our bodies and brains engage with performance? What processes are involved in being in theatre?

Contributors include neuroscience professors Nicola Clayton (Cambridge), Francesca Happe (Kings) and Vincent Walsh (UCL), together with performance experts Rhonda Blair (USA/SMU), Anna Furse (Goldsmiths/Athletes of the Heart, UK) and Arti Prashar (Spare Tyre, UK) as well as representatives from two AHRC funded projects involving science/arts collaborations: Imagining Autism (University of Kent) and the Watching Dance Project (Universities of Manchester, Glasgow, Imperial College and York St John).