"Theatre phenomenology" and Ibsen's The Master Builder

Daniel Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
435 Downloads (Pure)


How might an actor find inspiration from philosophy to build a world on stage? This article examines how phenomenology can offer a framework for creating performance and a vocabulary for action in rehearsal. Taking Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder as a case-study, a number of exercises and approaches are suggested for exploring the text while drawing on Martin Heidegger's lecture, "Building, Dwelling, Thinking" which ponders the nature of "building". Far from merely "constructing" an environment, essentially, building is "dwelling". As the characters in Ibsen's drama go about their dwelling, actors must build a world by bridging the gap between the stage, the ensemble, and the audience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-140
Number of pages17
JournalNordic Theatre Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) and Publisher. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Phenomenology
  • Ibsen
  • The Master Builder
  • Heidegger
  • Building
  • Dwelling
  • Thinking
  • The Fourfold
  • Being
  • Rehearsal
  • The master builder


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