Lessons from outside the classroom: performance pedagogies in Portugal, 1970–1980

Cláudia Madeira, Fernando Matos Oliveira

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In the 1970s, Portuguese performance art exhibited itself as a language of experimentation in the local artistic scene with increasing public visibility. This prominence, which led to regular festivals and live events, was, however, not accompanied by any formal education or the integration of performance into the curriculum of art schools. In this article, we argue that the Portuguese approach to a performance pedagogy occurred mainly through a double path. On the one hand, through the convergent actions of two important critic-curators with relevant international connections in the area of performance, namely Egídio Álvaro and Ernesto de Sousa. On the other, through the singular activities of an association of artists, the Círculo de Artes Plásticas de Coimbra (CAPC), which had an institutional relationship with the students’ academy (Associação Académica de Coimbra) of the University of Coimbra. The CAPC takes the pedagogical and performative utopia of an art-life relationship a step further, at a time which shared the ethos of the democratic revolution of 1974. This generation collaborated with the international performance scene, not only developing projects with Wolf Vostell, in Malpartida (Spain), but also organising an important exhibition of Portuguese performance at the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris (1984).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-205
Number of pages21
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • alternative art education
  • curating performance
  • performance pedagogy
  • Portuguese performance art


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