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Thesis Defence: WIDE: A Live, Solo, Participatory Performance

May 22 at 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Miriam Cummings, supervised by Denise Kenney, will defend their thesis titled “WIDE: A Live, Solo, Participatory Performance” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.

An abstract for Miriam Cummings’ thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


My thesis, WIDE, is a live, solo, participatory performance that asks: Where does the body end? WIDE tells the story of my dad’s sudden death while I was training to be an actor. The piece compares the performances we put on in everyday life—such as the need to perform that we’re ‘doing well’ in the face of grief—with the performances of actors on stage. ‘Wide’ refers to the wide open state of being required to connect with my dad beyond his lifetime, the same state is required of a stage actor. Grief, combined with academic and professional pressures, narrowed me. WIDE is a eulogy for my dad and an act of expansion intended to continue the relationship between him and I beyond his living body. In performance, my story becomes a metaphor for the expansion that the audience is invited to experience as well.

The methodologies used to create WIDE are improvisation and discovery, informed by Mary Overlie’s Six Viewpoints and Tectonic Theater’s Moment Work, two techniques that offer practical tools for creating performance. Five performances total took place on campus between February 1-4, 2024, in the University Theatre, a proscenium theatre with 200 seats and a large, deep stage. The audience was seated in chairs on stage, in a circle. This ‘theatre in the round’ orientation placed the audience in a relationship to each other that highlighted the shared vulnerability of being seen and implicated the audience as participants, not spectators but ‘spect-actors’, a term coined by prolific participatory theatre maker and educator Augusto Boal.

‘Wide’ also refers to the wide open shape of the circle. As audience members step into the open space, they are encouraged to explore where their own bodies end. WIDE invites participants to experiment with sending their voice, presence, and actions beyond their bodies to reach their fellow spect-actors. WIDE asks: How far does the body go?


May 22
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Creative and Critical Studies Building (CCS)
1148 Research Road
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
CCS 144
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates