‘Remember where you are’!: the use of English cathedrals as sites of theatrical performance, 1928-2015

Burg, Jason Ashmore (2017). ‘Remember where you are’!: the use of English cathedrals as sites of theatrical performance, 1928-2015. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the ways in which theatrical performances that take place within cathedrals are indelibly shaped by the space of the cathedral from the very beginning of the production process through to audience reception. Drawing on extensive archival research, the Records of Early English Drama, personal interviews, first hand experience as an audience member, and rehearsal observations, this work seeks to understand how these impacts are made and how best to understand the role of the cathedral in shaping such performances. Henri Lefebvre’s theory of the monument will be presented as a way in which one may look at cathedral performance, helping to explain how and why the space acts upon the production. Lefebvre’s theory also helps to situate the cathedral as a social identifier, showing how such performances can act to bring a community together, thereby further influencing the production. This thesis offers insights into how not only the tangible aspects of space affect performance (architecture, art, et cetera), but also how intangible qualities such as history, social identity, emotions, and spirituality/religion impact productions to the same, or similar, degree. Such performances leave indelible marks on the production including the shaping of texts, designs, staging, and the audience’s reception of the final piece; all of which are discussed in detail, with particular attention to case studies. The research concludes by demonstrating that one must not view the cathedral as a neutral vessel, but one that acts upon all aspects of the production of theatre, and in so doing unavoidably alters the performance in a way not possible in other spaces.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of Drama and Theatre Arts
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7662


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