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What Signifies a Theatre 3

Posted on 30/04/2012

WSAT 3: Private Theatricals and Amateur Dramatics in Britain and Abroad

A Conference and Performance

University of Notre Dame in London
1 Suffolk Street, London, SW1Y 4HG
Saturday 7 July 2012


Building on the success of the two previous conferences, WSAT 3 continued its exploration of the practice, significance and potential of non-professional theatrical performance in the long nineteenth century.

Most histories of performance focus on the commercial and metropolitan theatre, yet most drama-making is amateur, not-for-profit and takes place in a wide-variety of sites. These sites range from stately homes to bourgeois parlours, to prisons and ships, from the Home Counties to the colonies. 

As well as presenting a series of case histories, this conference addressed methodological and theoretical questions raised by the study of the amateur: questions of value, of the relation of public to private, of the interaction between audience and performer. It explored how this labour of love provided aesthetic, economic and social opportunities for its participants. And it addressed the key questions of what was the value of private theatricals to the original participants, and how can the revival of private theatricals add value to community involvement in heritage?

The event concluded with a performance of Arthur Murphy’s comedy, The Way to Keep Him, presented in the manner of private theatricals by Artifice Theatre Company, dir. Kate Napier. 

See also the What Signifies a Theatre? website

All enquiries: Prof. Judith Hawley


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