In Search of Duende – Exhibition and Performance

6th Mar 2015, 7:30pm - 11:00pm

The Arts Centre

Friday 6th March 7.30pm
The duende….Where is the duende?
Sandra Philip

“Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.”  Theory and Play of The Duende, Lorca, 1922

The great Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca gave a famous lecture on La Teoria y Juego del Duende, The Theory and Function of Duende, where he quotes Geothe describing duende as: ‘this mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained’. Duende, like trauma, defies language, it is buried deeply in the soul, and when we encounter it, so the legend goes, we too can become transformed.

My research positions itself at the very edges of the traumatic abyss; it is a leap into the unknown; a point of both departure and return, played out through acts of calculated critical risk. The aim of this sharing event is to investigate the potential of the Traumaturgical system, both as a dramaturgical approach to autobiographical performance, and critically, a unique approach to the challenges of addressing the damaging psychic legacy of autobiographical trauma, with the aim of facilitating in the performer, a transformational encounter, with life changing effect.

Your role tonight as guest at this transformational sharing event, is that of critical witness. The autobiographical and cultural trauma narratives should not over-determine how you encounter the creative artefacts, or judge the value of the research. Their strategic purpose is not to arouse your sympathies, but to ignite academic debate. Your task is to navigate the `narrative folds’ (Duggan  ., 2013) of the traumatic landscape as presented here, mapped and punctuated through the exhibited materials; photographs, documents, journals and video installations, along ley-lines of traumatic crisis, mirrored and contextualized through the events of The Spanish Civil War, the destructive, compromising legacy of trauma personified through the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, and the plight of the ` niños robados ; the tragedy of Spain’s stolen children.

Further information is available here


  • 7.30-8.00pm – Spanish Buffet
  • 8.00-8.30pm – Exhibition opens
  • 9.00-9.45pm – Performance of Dancing for Franco
  • Followed by post performance discussion and Q&A

This exhibition will take place in the Arts Centre Red Bar and the Rose Theatre

Free admission