Dr Rachel Hann

Research Interests

  • Scenography
  • Architecture
  • Costume
  • Practice Research
  • Digital Humanities (virtual archeology) 
  • Modernist Performance
  • Performing Technologies


Executive Officer: Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)

Co-Founder: Critical Costume

Associate Member: Society of British Theatre Designers

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Contact Me

Phone: 01483 68 2585

Find me on campus
Room: 04 NC 00


Journal articles

  • Hann R . (2017) 'Debating critical costume: Negotiating ideologies of appearance, performance, and disciplinarity'. Taylor & Francis Studies in Theatre and Performance,


    In this article I present an argument for a proposed focus of ‘critical costume’. Critical Costume, as a research platform, was founded in 2013 to promote new debate and scholarship on the status of costume in contemporary art and culture. We have now hosted two biennial conferences and exhibitions (Edge Hill University 2013, Aalto University 2015). These events have exposed an international appetite for a renewed look at how costume is studied, practiced and theorized. Significantly, Critical Costume is focused on an inclusive remit that is interdisciplinary and supports a range of 'voices': from theatre and anthropology scholars to working artists. In that regard, I offer an initial argument for how we might collectively navigate this interdisciplinary 'pocket of practice' with reference to other self-identified critical approaches to art practice. By focusing on an interdisciplinary perspective on costume, my intention is to invite new readings and connections between popular practices, such as Halloween and cosplay, with the refined crafts of theatrical and film professionals. I argue that costume is a vital element of performance practice, as well as an extra-daily component of our social lives, that affords distinct methods for critiquing how appearance is sustained, disciplined and regulated. I conclude by offering a position on the provocation of critical costume and a word of caution on the argument for disciplinarity.

  • Hann R, Bech S. (2014) 'Critical Costume'. Scene, 2 (1), pp. 3-8.
  • Hann R. (2012) 'Blurred Architecture: Duration and Performance in the work of Diller Scofidio + Renfro'. Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 17 (5), pp. 9-18.
  • Hann R. (2012) 'Dwelling in Light and Sound: An Intermedial Site for Digital Opera'. International Journal of Digital Media and Performance Arts, 8 (1), pp. 61-78.

Book chapters

  • Hann R. (2016) 'Costume Politics'. in Zupauc Lotker S, Kuburović B (eds.) SharedSpace: Music, Weather, Politics Prague : Arts and Theatre Institute , pp. 112-131.


    Costume is subversive. It subverts the rules of a fashion system and exposes the theatricality of dress. Accordingly, the politics of costume are arguably a politics of ‘othering’: how the conscious subversion of appearance serves as an act of bodily estrangement. Yet, as evident in the Prague Quadrennial (PQ) tribes in June 2015, this othering is an active process that is undertaken equally by those engaged in the event of costuming and those who witness this act. Devised by exhibition curator Sodja Lotker, each PQ tribe was commissioned with an expected minimum of four individuals that were masked or costumed. Importantly, the group would take on a shared behavioural trait or characteristic when traversing a predetermined route through the centre of Prague, which included an underground train station and busy public squares. Each tribe would also interact directly with the inhabitants of Prague by spending 50Kč. Based on this broad outline, the PQ tribes were suitably diverse and focused on a range of different concerns. Some, such as Hideki Seo’s Jump!, evoked the logic and context of the fashion catwalk. Others, as exemplified by Simona Rybáková Swans, adorned costumes originally designed for theatrical performances. There were, however, a number of PQ tribes that aimed to enact or provoke an overtly political intervention: where the enactment of a tribe was a conscious act of rupture within the everyday flow of the city. Lotker’s call focused on this attribute most explicitly by noting that the PQ tribes ‘will install healing tribes on the weak points of the city of Prague to question everything’ (Lotker 2014). These ‘weak points’ included the exchange of money, the physical dimensions of the underground system, and the way public space is policed (whether formally or informally). Consequently, this interventionist quality of the PQ tribes invites a distinct focus on how the subversive qualities of costuming expose how appearance is recognised, understood and regulated.


Hann, R. (2018) Beyond Scenography: Cultures of Performance Design, London: Routledge (forthcoming)


Short Articles  

Hann, R. and Ladron de Guevara, V. (2015) 'Addressing Practice: Introducing a new section for STP', Studies in Theatre and Performance 35.1: 3-6

Hann, R. (2012) ‘Theatre has Left the Building: Theatre and Performance Architecture in the 21st Century’, Australasian Drama Studies 61.1: 159-161

Hann, R. (2011) ‘Hellerau Returned’, ERA21 (Czech Journal of Architecture) 10.2: 50-51 [translated into Czech]

Page Owner: rh0033
Page Created: Monday 21 November 2016 13:50:37 by rxserver
Last Modified: Monday 23 January 2017 14:09:42 by pj0010
Expiry Date: Saturday 18 June 2016 10:11:06
Assembly date: Tue Jan 23 00:54:39 GMT 2018
Content ID: 168427
Revision: 3
Community: 1198

Rhythmyx folder: //Sites/surrey.ac.uk/GSA/People
Content type: rx:StaffProfile