Tan Cheong Kheng, Alvin (1999)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis investigates collaboration as a creation method that contests the assumptions behind traditional theatre’s hierarchical structure. Traditionally, the playwright occupies the primary creation phase, leaving the director, designers and actors to fulfill an interpretative function. However, works primarily reliant on non-literary signifiers require a methodology that involves artists from varied disciplines earlier in the creation process.
Collaborating hierarchically gives way to co-authorship collaboration, revising the natures of artistic roles, relationships and composition. Interdisciplinary practice is adopted by practitioners interested in exploring the interactions between the literary text and the resources of other disciplines, giving rise to hybrid and semiotic-based performance texts.
The aim of this thesis is to appreciate the ways in which issue-orientated ‘60s and ‘70s social transformation theatre is contemporised to a theatre of empowerment whose object is to challenge rationalised mindsets and empower imaginations through engaging the audience as co-artist. The collaborative practices of British playwright Caryl Churchill and American’s Wooster Group are compared to examine the relationships between their processes and application of artistic strategies in organising their materials. The thesis concludes with an analysis of how a Singaporean theatre company, The Necessary Stage modifies and applies the lessons learned in its collaborative works Pillars and Galileo (I Feel The Earth Move).
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