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The cultural value of Shakespeare in twenty-first-century publicly-funded theatre in England

Linnemann, Emily Caroline Louise (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis argues that in the plural cultural context of the twenty-first century the value of Shakespeare resides in his identity as a free and flexible resource. This adaptable Shakespeare is valuable to theatres because they are dialectical spaces. Free-resource Shakespeare is able to contain a range of different cultural values and theatres provide a space for producers and consumers of culture to negotiate between them. It has been established that tensions of cultural value, for example innovation/tradition or commercial/non-commercial govern the production, dissemination and critique of culture. Building on this idea, this work shows that when tensions are dealt with as negotiations rather than confrontations, new cultural value is generated. It identifies Shakespeare as a site for the debate of value tensions and contends that he can be simultaneously commercial and non-commercial, traditional and innovative. Cultural value is thus created because Shakespeare is reinvigorated and redefined through a process which negotiates between tensions. In publicly-funded theatre this process manifests itself in an ambiguous relationship to the market, myriad adaptations and a move towards event-theatre. The cultural value of Shakespeare in publicly-funded theatre mirrors the continual redefinition of the Shakespearean object and, rather than being a concrete ‘thing’, is better defined as a constant process.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):McLuskie, Kathleen and Rumbold, Kate
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:The Shakespeare Institute, School of English
Subjects:PN0080 Criticism
PN0441 Literary History
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1355
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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