Demarcating dramaturgy: mapping theory onto practice

Bolton, Jacqueline (2009) Demarcating dramaturgy: mapping theory onto practice. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
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Dramaturgy and its agent, the dramaturg, are terms which have entered the discourse of UK practitioners particularly over the past two decades, almost exclusively in reference to the development of new plays and playwrights. Within British theatre, understandings of dramaturgical practice continue to be shaped by the structures and objectives of literary management departments instituted within subsidized producing theatres and companies. In Germany, the dramaturgical profession dates back to the latter half of the eighteenth century, and in its twenty-first century incarnation encompasses a remit directed rather towards production and programming. In Germany, the dramaturg works without controversy at the heart of producing structures; in the UK, concepts of dramaturgy continue to be met with suspicion, subsumed under practices of literary management which contract the critical and creative scope of the profession as established in Germany and across mainland Europe.

This thesis addresses these distinctions in dramaturgical practice through a comparison of the historical, cultural, economic, political and philosophical contexts which inform UK and German theatre cultures. Following an overview and critique of the play development processes established by departments of literary management in the UK during the 1990s, this study looks to four key areas in which differences between UK and German theatre cultures are particularly manifest: arts policy and subsidy, playwright-director relations, the status of ‘theory’ within theatre practice and the interplay of text and performance. Sources of UK resistance to dramaturgy and dramaturgs are identified and explored, and the potential advantages of applying to UK theatre dramaturgical perspectives inspired by continental practice are advanced. In so doing, this thesis offers a reading of dramaturgy defined not by a list of functions but by a coherent set of attitudes and beliefs regarding the context(s) which surround theatre’s production and reception.

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:7630
Deposited On:23 Feb 2013 15:43

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