'Whether or not they are actors, they're not writers': carving up creative territories in the 'Joint Stock method'.

Bolton, Jacqueline (2012) 'Whether or not they are actors, they're not writers': carving up creative territories in the 'Joint Stock method'. In: American Society for Theatre Research, November 1-4, 2012, Nashville, Tennessee,.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Contemporary debates about the development and production of new theatre writing are characterized by a friction between practitioners who primarily engage with the production of individually-authored play-texts – ‘text-based theatre’ – and practitioners who primarily engage with the collaborative devising of non-script-led works – ‘non-text-based performance’. From current perspectives, the ‘method’ espoused by Joint Stock in the 1970s – engaging the critical efforts, creative imagination and somatic resources of actors in the creation of a work subsequently lodged as textually predicated - presents an example of a process that potentially bridges the gap between script-based and performance-led work. Yet Stafford-Clark’s continued emphasis upon the centrality of the writer – which continued during his tenure at the Royal Court and has found new expression in his company Out of Joint – serves to diminish and even occlude the contributions of the actors and designers who were active participants in the creation of original works for theatre.

This paper argues that despite its collective ambit, Joint Stock’s subscription to, and active affirmation of, the symbolic and cultural capital that accrues around individual ‘authorship’ has – despite the company’s own methods - contributed to the discursive promulgation of a 'writer-led theatre' which itself has worked to position practices of playwriting in hostile opposition to practices of devising. Through an examination of contemporary play-texts collaboratively produced but individually ‘authored’, I will consider how ‘authorship’ functions within taxonomies of contemporary theatre practice.

Additional Information:Contemporary debates about the development and production of new theatre writing are characterized by a friction between practitioners who primarily engage with the production of individually-authored play-texts – ‘text-based theatre’ – and practitioners who primarily engage with the collaborative devising of non-script-led works – ‘non-text-based performance’. From current perspectives, the ‘method’ espoused by Joint Stock in the 1970s – engaging the critical efforts, creative imagination and somatic resources of actors in the creation of a work subsequently lodged as textually predicated - presents an example of a process that potentially bridges the gap between script-based and performance-led work. Yet Stafford-Clark’s continued emphasis upon the centrality of the writer – which continued during his tenure at the Royal Court and has found new expression in his company Out of Joint – serves to diminish and even occlude the contributions of the actors and designers who were active participants in the creation of original works for theatre. This paper argues that despite its collective ambit, Joint Stock’s subscription to, and active affirmation of, the symbolic and cultural capital that accrues around individual ‘authorship’ has – despite the company’s own methods - contributed to the discursive promulgation of a 'writer-led theatre' which itself has worked to position practices of playwriting in hostile opposition to practices of devising. Through an examination of contemporary play-texts collaboratively produced but individually ‘authored’, I will consider how ‘authorship’ functions within taxonomies of contemporary theatre practice.
Keywords:Joint Stock, playwriting
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:7628
Deposited On:23 Feb 2013 21:30

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