Exploring a feminist reclamation of Medea through percussion theatre

Author Identifier

Mercedes Slack-Smith


Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Performing Arts)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Lindsay Vickery

Second Supervisor

Renee Newman

Third Supervisor

Tim White


This research project sought to create an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea in the music art form of Percussion theatre. This is realised through a musical work for an electronic musical accompaniment known as a backing track and solo percussionist that combines a feminist revisioning of Medea and Percussion Theatre. This research project utilises practice-led research methodology – including the analysis of the Euripides play and the surrounding mythology of Medea and informed by a range of intersectional feminist theoretical frameworks.

The research was partly inspired by Donna Haraway’s notion of “situated knowledges” taken up by Estelle Barrett (2006) and Roisin O’Gorman’s application of Haraway’s “tentacular entanglements” (2018). Using intersectional feminist frameworks, the textual analysis underpinning the research led to three central concepts: gender normativity focusing on Medea's womanhood, institutions of power and the more-than-human.

The live percussion aspect of the research was created using many methods including: video and audio capture of the creative and reflective process which allowed for real time reflection and exploration of musical concept, journaling inside and outside of the studio and studio improvisation based on the concept of the “Grid” which is the manipulation of constants and variables in both audio and physical frameworks. Real time video journaling allowed for movements, ideas, and music to be explored with the body and its expression of situated knowledge to be at the centre. The culmination of this creative process is an adaptation of Medea; a conceptual and physical embodiment of intersectional feminism through the somatic practice of Percussion Theatre.



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