The ‘rhetoric’ of devising: a critical study

Hannay, Zelda Franzeska (2013). The ‘rhetoric’ of devising: a critical study. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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Recent commentary has acknowledged a certain ‘rhetoric’ that has built up around the practice of devised theatre-making, and has suggested that certain aspects of it may be less relevant to current practice than they once were. This paper offers a critical analysis of three of the ideas most typically associated with devised theatre making: collaboration, the ‘creative performer’ and the move away from written text. Firstly, each idea is identified within a broader critical context and explicated with reference to the work of contemporary devising companies. Secondly, the contemporary efficacy of each idea is addressed in light of how it can be said to have informed the practical element of this practice-based research project. The paper draws on post-structuralist theories of logocentrism and authorship throughout, especially to inform an understanding of the place of hierarchy and authority within the rhetoric. It concludes by arguing that devised theatre-making cannot be understood as non-hierarchical, and therefore that a renegotiation of its relationship with authority may be now be useful.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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