Collaboration and ambiguity of authorship in the works of Simon Stephens

Ito, Nabi (2023). Collaboration and ambiguity of authorship in the works of Simon Stephens. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the ambiguity of the authorship of Simon Stephens through an analysis of his plays and productions, which are diverse in aesthetics and theatrical forms, and through his attempts to collaborate in creation processes. His works range from new versions of classics, formally experimental plays, and the Japanese production of Fortune (2020) to collaborative creations and productions with European-based directors. Stephens’s fascination with collaboration corresponds with a growing aesthetic debate within British theatre between British playwright’s theatre and European director’s theatre. Stephens seems to incorporate European sensibilities into British text-based aesthetics, which characterises his unique career as a British playwright working actively in the theatres of Germany and other countries. Being influenced by German-style theatre creation, Stephens emphasises collaboration and welcomes his collaborators’ interventions to change his playtexts. Moreover, because of his wide range of working styles and genres, his role as a playwright varies between his various works, and thus, his authorship appears ambiguous and changeable. However, as this thesis demonstrates, Stephens’s style of writing, which invites interventions, together with his commitment to collaborative creation processes actually identifies the reality of his authorship in the sense of conventional British theatre. Despite his apparent welcoming of collaborators’ interventions with the playtexts, Stephens’s idea of collaboration results in accentuating his authorial presence in his works. Thus, this thesis reveals that Stephens’s gesture of negating his individual authorship paradoxically reinforces his authority as a playwright.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and Creative Studies, Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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