Transmission in Motion


18 November 2020
15:00 - 17:00
Microsoft Teams

Transmission in Motion Seminar (2020-2021): “Plant-based Dramaturgy” – Manuela Infante (theatre director, Santiago de Chile)

Manuela Infante in conversation with Liesbeth Groot Nibbelink

In this session on design thinking, we will meet with Manuela Infante, who is a Chilean theatre director, scriptwriter and musician, with an MA in Cultural Analysis. We will discuss the artistic creation process of Estado Vegetal (Vegetative State), in which Infante explores how plant-based logics inspires the dramaturgy of the show. Estado Vegetal is an intelligent and also witty piece about plant life and living with plants, about a variety of vegetative states and plant-based perspectives, and how we as humans imagine how plants think. We will discuss how Infante drew inspiration from plant neurology and new materialism, and arrived at a series of plant-based principles like branching out, deep time, morphing and ramification. Such design principles inform the dramaturgy e.g. the content and the structure of the work. Infante also taps into geological principles of layering and sedimentation, by means of ingenious use of a voice looping pedal, playing with polyphonic multitudes. 

Estado Vegetal is also a great example of how theatre can function as a laboratory for exploring (new materialist) thought and could be regarded as, in words of Infante, an ‘undomesticated form of philosophizing’. We will talk about Infante’s take on making processes as a kind of choreographic and also speculative thinking, a moving around an issue or idea that instigates processes of gaining knowledge through thinking by doing. 

This session will be moderated by Liesbeth Groot Nibbelink

Suggested viewing 

Manuela Infante has been very generous in sharing a registration of Estado Vegetal. You are kindly requested to watch the registration prior to this session. You can find the registration here. If you wish to attend the session, please send an email to or register through the link above, and you will receive the details necessary to log in.  

Manuela Infante is a Chilean theater director, playwright, scriptwriter and musician. She has received her MA in Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. She is well known for offering scenic articulations of contemporary theoretical issues. With her group Teatro de Chile (2002-2016) she wrote and directed work with the permanent support of the Chilean Funds for the Arts. Four of her plays have been published and translated into English, Italian and Portuguese. Her work has toured U.S.A, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy, France, Switzerland, Singapore, Korea and Japan. She has produced work with HAU (Germany), Festival de Modena (Italy), The Watermill Center (New York), FIBA (Buenos Aires), FITAM (Santiago), KVS (Belgium), La Rose De Vents (France), TheaterWorks (Singapore). She is currently producing future work with Schauspielhaus Bochum (Germany), Teatro Nacional de Cataluña (Spain), Theater Basel (Switzerland), MalaVoadora (Portugal) and M100 (Chile). In 2015 she was the first woman to be appointed director of The National Festival for Dramaturgy in Chile. In 2019 she was the first Chilean theater maker to be invited to the Venice Biennale 2019 with her plays Estado Vegetal and Realismo and won the Stükemarkt First Prize at the 2019 Theaterreffen Festival in Berlin. As a musician, she has composed, written and produced two albums with her band “Bahía Inútil: “Stand Scared” (2011) and “Bahía Inútil” (2015). She has also been in charge of the sound design of most of her works. As a scriptwriter, he has worked with renowned Chilean film directors such as Cristián Jiménez, Alicia Scherson, Marialy Rivas and Sebastian Lelio. 

*Image credits: Miguel Lecaros