Examining the Efficacy of Popular Theatre Forms for the Contemporary Director of Didactic Performance
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Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis seeks to offer a preliminary evaluation of the efficacy of popular theatre forms for the benefit of the contemporary director of didactic performance. Chapter One provides a rationale for the study by outlining the history of popular theatre forms in twentieth-century practices, focusing specifically on those that aimed to be didactic. The chapter then addresses the state of didactic performance at the present time and questions whether the right cultural conditions currently exist to reinvigorate didactic drama with popular theatre forms. The chapter concludes with an outline of my methodology for the development of three research projects designed to analyse the efficacy of popular forms. Chapters Two, Three and Four discuss the development of the research projects specifically. In these chapters I discuss how performers were trained in the popular forms, the development of the performance texts, and, crucially, how the forms were used in performance. The conclusion to each chapter addresses the audiences’ reception to the performances. Chapter Five collates the findings from the research through practice projects and seeks to offer advice to directors of contemporary didactic performance on how popular theatre forms can be used to entertain and educate audiences about issues of concern. This thesis is accompanied by four DVDs, which feature short films of performer training workshops and the research projects. The reader will be directed to the DVDs at specific moments throughout the thesis.
PhD in Performance Practice (Drama)