The council estate: representation, space and the potential for performance
Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
The image of the archetypal housing estate is often used in popular representation, from documentary and television to music video, to symbolise the urban ‘grit’ of contemporary inner-city life. In the theatre, urban political and ‘working-class’ drama has been set on or around estates in attempts to deconstruct or expose the impact of life on these estates, or to examine what such places denote in contemporary society. The performance analysis provided in this paper has emerged from a period of study of the representation of estates in various performance practices, as a researcher, facilitator, and audience member. This article is part of a larger research project investigating the practices and processes of performances which engage with the space of the council estate. Using one specific performance event, this piece engages with the council estate in performance by drawing on Lefebvre's model of social space. By considering the various ‘fragments’ of spatial experience, and analysing the history of common narratives of estate spaces, the paper seeks to uncover potential for applied performance in the production of contested spaces. In an analysis of SPID (Specially Produced Innovatively Directed) Theatre Company's play 23176, I suggest this work as exemplifying a kind of spatialised critical resistance to the dominant narratives of the council estate, which might offer potential for alternative perceptions of existence for those who inhabit such marginalised places.
Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance on 26 August 2011, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13569783.2011.589999#abstract
Vol. 16, Iss. 3, pp. 421 - 435