Women practitioners and the development of pedagogy in theatre­‐making (1970­‐2016)

Peck, Lisa (2017) Women practitioners and the development of pedagogy in theatre­‐making (1970­‐2016). Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis considers the relative absence of women in the lineages of actor training in order to foreground pedagogy, gender and the contribution of women in what is understood as a primarily male--‐dominated field. It maps a specific female genealogy of actor training, drawing substantially on twenty interviews with actors and teacher/directors and extensive field work, conducted over a period of four years, observing pedagogic practices in rehearsal rooms and in workshops. Combined with analysis of existing research and documentation, the thesis therefore proposes a revisionary reading of the current state of actor training and theatre--‐making inclusive of, and responsive to, these specific approaches and contributions.
Chapter One, ‘Surveying the Landscape’, situates women at the vanguard of developmental acting pedagogy. Tracing the early foundation of drama schools reveals actor training developing alongside teacher training and points to an original commitment to the critical value of pedagogy. Chapter Two in conversation with Chapter Three frames a ‘beside’ methodology, applying critical feminist theories to pedagogical approaches. ‘Feminist Interventions in Acting Pedagogy’ draws on Rosi Braidotti’s affirmative politics¹ to illustrate the potentially liberatory and critical practices of a feminist approach. ‘A Female Ontology of Acting: Being, Seeing and Feeling’, speculates that learning to act is a female domain. Adopting Gayatri Spivak’s ‘strategic essentialism’,² I consider an alternative way of thinking about acting where being female can be seen to be a positive advantage. Chapter Four, ‘Acting and the ‘Hidden Curriculum’: Women’s Training Practices’, applies these methodologies to the approaches of women working in different contexts in UK actor training: Kristine Landon--‐Smith, Vanessa Ewan and Alison Hodge. Chapter Five, ‘The Feminist Director as Pedagogue’, considers the work of UK directors Katie Mitchell and Emma Rice. To conclude, I sketch the features of a female genealogy of acting which begins to map new ways of thinking about pedagogy in its broadest context.

¹Rosi Braidotti, By Way of Nomadism (New York, Chichester, West Sussex: Colombia University Press, 1994), p.315.
²Gayatri Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ in Nelson, C and Grossberg, L, Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1988), pp.271--‐313.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2017 10:59
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67271

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