In the shadow of Peter Brook: designing and redesigning A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1970-2000

Graybill, David Joseph (2018). In the shadow of Peter Brook: designing and redesigning A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Shakespeare Company, 1970-2000. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The Royal Shakespeare Company's 1970 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Peter Brook and designed by Sally Jacobs, is the most influential
production of Shakespeare in the twentieth century. Indeed its design licenced audiences, critics, academics, and practitioners to visualize the setting of the play as
something more than a staid palace in Athens and a sylvan forest of actual shrubbery. Incorporating a wide range of archival material including the previously unknown full-length recording of that production, I trace how the scenography for the 1970 production has shaped institutional trends of designing Dream at the Royal
Shakespeare Theatre, both visually and conceptually. In the six main stage RSC productions that followed, those directors and designers all responded to the famous
white-box design to varying degrees, highlighting trends within the institution. In 1989, an artistic movement in stage design began, as practitioners at the RSC, instead of avoiding the innovative box set, boldly appropriated the design and production concepts from the 1970 production. This history of designing Dream at the RSC and the critics and academics who write on this topic, have not only shaped the modern impression of Brook and Jacobs’s production, they have noticeably transformed it.

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, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater


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