Christopher D. Innes

Canada Research Chair in Performance and Culture

Tier 1 - 2001-01-01
Renewed: 2009-01-01
York University
Social Sciences and Humanities


Research involves

Conducting interdisciplinary research related to 20th century theatre to establish a theoretical basis for dealing with the interconnections between theatre, culture and society in the future; analyzing how performances can contribute to our understanding of social history and behaviour; and demonstrating the practical value of the performing arts to society at large.

Research relevance

This research will provide valuable insight and resources needed to expand the field of cultural studies related to the performing arts. Additionally, it will aid governments at all levels in making informed policy decisions with respect to cultural funding, and further economic growth among the arts industries.

Improving the Value of Canada's Performing Arts

The arts, particularly live theatre, are very important to Canadian society. In addition to their entertainment value, these performances can serve as powerful educational and political tools. But despite their impact, far less scholarly attention has been paid to the field of live performance than in other areas of the arts and humanities. Canada's leading theatre scholar, Professor Christropher D. Innes is committed to raising the focus of performance studies to the level it deserves.

Professor Innes is an outstanding and innovative authority in drama and theatre studies whose significant contributions continue to be well-received and highly-cited by top scholars worldwide. His most far-reaching research, a series of volumes entitled "Directors in Perspective," has been instrumental in shifting the critical focus of drama studies from text to production. As a result, the study of directing and its 20th century history are now standard curriculum elements in theatre departments throughout England and North America.

As Chair in Performance and Culture, Professor Innes is combining his vast experience with existing strengths at the university to create Ontario's first laboratory specifically designed for performance study. This unique facility, which houses state-of-the-art recording, computer-based editing, and archiving tools as well as a Web server, facilitates research focused on the interconnections between performance and culture. Key elements of Professor Innes' work include exploring social behaviour, creating a database for educational theory and performance analysis, and providing a more current basis for drama research. To further advance his vision of an international network for performance study, Professor Innes is also developing an interactive website of research resources, which scholars worldwide may draw from or contribute to.

Through this ambitious project, Dr. Innes is positioning York University as a world class resource centre that governments, scholars, and the Arts and Culture industry can turn to for cultural scholarship and policy development.