Utopia on tour: exploring a generative relationship between dramaturgy, devising, touring and utopia

Buddle, Tessa Megan Clark (2020) Utopia on tour: exploring a generative relationship between dramaturgy, devising, touring and utopia. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This practice-as-research thesis proposes a novel understanding about the relationship between utopia and theatre, by investigating it as a question of method. Via the devising and touring practices of a small ensemble, the research asks: how does, or how might utopia operate in the making of a theatre work? How might this provoke new ways of approaching the generation and composition of theatre? What does this reveal about the creation of utopia?

Through an emphasis on method, the research rejects the need for theatre-makers to predetermine rational utopian content, arguing instead that idealistic and romantic desires might be harnessed and grappled with through the generative structures of making and performing, bringing once-vague ideals to greater consciousness over the course of a production.

In Part One, chapters focus in turn on practices of dramaturgy, devising, and touring, developing utopian framings that both prompt a reconsideration of existing works and propose original generative methods. In doing so, it advocates for the value of the carnivalesque as a utopian dramaturgical tool; explores devising practice as an act of opening and closing spaces of contingency; and proposes several structuring principles and generative techniques that can mobilise ideals in touring theatre.

In Part Two, a discussion of a practical research project – Travelling Show - explores how these different approaches can work together and thus significantly expands understandings about how utopia operates in theatre practice. The interdependence of dramaturgy, devising and touring, which constitutes Travelling Show's creative method, encounters utopia in both the structural properties of the work's dramaturgy and the openness of its devising process, while subjecting ideals to continual movement and encounter over the course of a tour.

In its innovative investigation of the relationship between dramaturgy, devising, touring and utopia, the research uniquely demonstrates how utopia can be understood as at once ideal, unknown, and unfinished; operating in theatre practice as a dream of a better life that is ever-becoming.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council [grant number 1795376].
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Supervisor's Name: Heddon, Professor Deirdre and Bachmann, Dr. Michael
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Tessa Buddle
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81661
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2020 11:42
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2020 11:42
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81661
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