Antonin Artaud and the “Theatre of Cruelty”
The second, better known example is the “Theatre of Cruelty”, which was developed partly in parallel with the “Grand-Guignol” and the Surrealist movement. Antonin Artaud started testing the realisation of his theories in the “Théâtre Alfred Jarry”, which was managed by him and Roger Vitrac. After separating from Vitrac he founded the “Theatre of Cruelty” in 1935, in which terror and pain were integrated as vital parts of the concept. Cruelty, to Artaud the most important part of every play, meant in this relation the strain of the audience during the performance, which should be aesthetically shocked with the cooperation of different parts like light and details on the stage:

Artaud points to a significant work of art, which demanded from the audience sensibility and readiness for exertions on a very high level. It is a theatre of suggestion and corporality, which should lead to a mysterious, affect-charged spectacle. Artauds attempt is therefore not only deeply related to the horror films of his time – he was also important for the further development of the whole genre towards a “Cinema of Cruelty”:

by Thomas Ballhausen