Ireland: a designer’s theatre

O'Gorman, Siobhán (2017) Ireland: a designer’s theatre. In: Palgrave handbook of contemporary Irish theatre. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

This chapter argues that the modernization of design in Irish theatre can be linked to progressive movements towards Baugh’s conception of ‘scenography as dramaturgy of performance,’ a phrase that forms the title of the final chapter in the second edition of his seminal monograph Theatre, Performance and Technology (2013). Baugh associates this concept with contemporary ‘post-dramatic culture[s] of performance’ (224) in which ‘scenography is no longer primarily the servant of dramatic performance; it has floated free and may create from within its own practices and research’ (239). In contemporary Ireland, such approaches are epitomized in the work of companies that centralize the collaborative work of designers and directors in theatre-making processes foregrounding scenography, for example Pan Pan Theatre, founded in 1991 by designer Aedín Cosgrove and director Gavin Quinn, and Anu Productions, established in 2009 and co-directed by visual artist Owen Boss and director Louise Lowe. The works of these companies have received considerable critical and scholarly attention within contexts such as post-dramatic theatre (Pan Pan), as well as site-specific performance and community engagement (Anu).

Yet, twentieth-century Irish theatre history is punctuated by moments that indicate a gradual progression towards scenography as dramaturgy of performance. Each progression towards scenography as dramaturgy of performance helped to elevate the position of set and costume designers in particular from manifesting received interpretations towards a more collaborative inclusion within processes of theatre-making, coalescing in the 1980s with the work of designers such as Casson and Monica Frawley. In order to explore the national genealogies of the most current approaches to scenography (which also inevitably have been influenced by international practices), this chapter will home in on Casson’s and Frawley’s contributions as designers to what might be considered dramaturgies of performance.

Keywords:Theatre, scenography, theatre design, Dramaturgy, Devising
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W460 Theatre Design
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V211 Irish History
W Creative Arts and Design > W430 Producing for Theatre
W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W420 Directing for Theatre
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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ID Code:24271
Deposited On:26 Sep 2016 08:35

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