TED is a nonprofit organisation which aims to spread ideas – usually in the form of short (18 minutes or less) and powerful TED Talks. When TED started it mainly covered Tech and Design, but now includes thousands of talks on a myriad of different subjects – including theatre.
There are numerous TED Talks about theatre and the stage, from theatre practitioners to academics, and it is a rich source of information and inspiration about the world of theatre.
Here are a few choice theatre TED talks.
Director of The Lion King, Julie Taymor
One of the most popular theatre TED Talks has been from US director Julie Taymor (main picture). In her talk “Spider-Man, The Lion King and life on the creative edge”, she shows some specular show clips, and talks about her life spent immersed in theatre and the movies. Website
Creator of the War Horse puppets, Adrian Kohler
Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company, who created the War Horse horses, talks about the fascinating process of bringing puppets to life on stage. Website
Playwright of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler
In her TED Talk “Happiness in body and soul”, Eve Ensler, creator of “The Vagina Monologues,” shares how a discussion about menopause with her friends led to talking about all sorts of sexual acts onstage! Website
Theatre director Jude Kelly
One of the UK’s most prominent directors on “Why women should tell the stories of humanity” – a passionate talk calling on artists – women and men – to paint, draw, write about, film and imagine a gender-equal society. Website
Actor Wendall Pearce
The Wire actor Wendall Pearce, currently on Broadway with the West End production of Death of a Salesman, talks about how “Theatre healed my community after Hurricane Katrina”, in a passionate TED Talk about his performance of “Waiting for Godot” in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Website
Artistic Director Oskar Eustis
Artistic director of New York’s Public Theater on “Why theater is essential to democracy”, demonstrating that theatre plays an essential role in showing us that truth. Website
Set Designer David Korins
The set designer of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen looks at “3 ways to create a space that moves you”, arguing that you can be the set designer of any space in your life, and offers a three-step process to start creating the world you want to live in. Website
Artist and Designer Es Devlin
Moving seamlessly from designing an Adele concert to Hamlet, or U2 to the Almeida, Es Devlin is an acclaimed designer of theatrical experiences. In Es Devlin’s TED talk “Mind-blowing stage sculptures that fuse music and technology”, she takes us on a visual tour of her work. Website
Also see: TED Talks Theatre for Geeks playlist