New Publication: Over the Threshold, Into the World: Experiences of Transcendence in the Context of Staged Events by Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen

13 October, 2018 by Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen | 0 comments

New Publication: Over the Threshold, Into the World: Experiences of Transcendence in the Context of Staged Event by Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen

This doctoral thesis is a contribution to the development of performance analysis and the field of performance, religion, and spirituality. Published by STUTS

How may theatre, ritual, other staged events facilitate participant experiences of becoming part of that which is larger than the self? Why are these experiences of transcendence important to us? And how do we make sense of them? These are some of the questions this PhD thesis attempts to answer by giving examples from Sweden, Denmark, and Aotearoa New Zealand. 


The aim of the thesis is to develop an apparatus of theory and method for performance analysis, the purpose of which is to analyse potentials for experiences of transcendence. These experiences are contextualised in terms of the metaphysical, the religious, and the spiritual. The theoretical basis is a combination of Erika Fischer-Lichte’s the aesthetics of the performative and Dorthe Jørgensen’s metaphysics of experience. In the development of the theoretical discussion, a variety of experiences is explored in the context of contemporary theatre, ritual, and installation art in Sweden, Denmark, and Aotearoa New Zealand. The dissertation contributes to the methodology of performance analysis as it emphasises experience as research, and to the interdisciplinary research field of performance, religion, and spirituality, as it draws on theatre and performance studies, philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of religion, theology, sociology, and anthropology.


The result is a practical model that allows the analysis of experiences of transcendence as created in the staged event through the complex interplay of material properties of staging and cognitive capacities for experience in the spectator’s or congregant’s process of reception – all of which are conditioned by the event’s contexts.


The publication is available for free as an Open Access e-book at:


Published and distributed by STUTS – Stiftelsen för utgivning av teatervetenskapliga studier

in collaboration with Stockholm University Library


Theatrion Series


ISSN 0348-2448

ISBN 978-91-86434-54-0 printed

ISBN 978-91-86434-55-7 pdf

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