2 Dec 2013 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor


Pre-dramatic and Post-dramatic Theatre: Before and After the Fourth Wall

Professor Kate Newey (Porfessor of Theatre History, University of Exeter)

Dr Karen Jürs-Munby (Lecturer in Theatre Studies, University of Lancaster)

Chair: Clare Foster (Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge)

With: Actress Janie Dee (winner of two Olivier Awards, Evening Standard Award, Critics Circle Award, an Obie and a Theatre World Award)

Professor Newey proposes a critique of the standard historiography of British theatre that still tends to guide the way we think about British drama & theatre: in particular, the distorting and depoliticising influence of ‘modern drama’, associated with the darkening of the auditorium, psychological realism, and Stanislavsky. A historian of nineteenth century British literature and culture, Newey has specialised in Frankenstein, Victorian women playwrights, Fanny Kemble, Australian theatre, Victorian theatre and popular culture, and John Ruskin, and currently leads the AHRC-funded  project ‘A Cultural History of English Pantomime, 1837 – 1901’

Dr Jürs-Munby  ('Shared Space: Playing with the Fourth Wall in Postdramatic Theatre') will explore the dismantling and playful partial re-mantling of the ‘fourth wall’ in contemporary theatre, starting from observations on recent performances such as Andy Smith and Tim Crouch’s What happens to the hope at the end of the evening.  Reflecting on the history of the fourth wall, the talk will examine postdramatic theatre’s particular engagement with this phenomenon as part of its politics of a consciously shared space between performers and audience members aiming at the audience’s implication and response-ability.
Jürs-Munby is the translator of Hans-Thies Lehmann’s Postdramatic Theatre (2006) for which she also wrote the critical introduction.  She has published extensively on historical and contemporary dramaturgies, modes of acting/performing and relations between text and performance. Most recently she co-edited (with Jerome Carroll and Steve Giles) the forthcoming volume on Postdramatic Theatre and the Political (Methuen Bloomsbury, 2013). She has a special research interest in the work of Elfriede Jelinek and is currently writing a monograph on the stagings of her texts by major German directors.  She worked as a dramaturg on the English premiere of Jelinek’s Sports Play (2012).

Janie Dee will talk about the acknowledgment (or not) of audience presence as an aspect of acting, and the impact, from a performer’s perspective, of the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe. A performer of exceptional range, Dee has worked with Peter Hall, Harold Pinter, Alan Ayckbourn, Johnathan Kent, Richard Eyre and Andrew-Lloyd Weber on Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, cabaret, Musicals, and a wide variety of drama at the Globe, The Royal Court, The National Theatre, West End and regional theatres (e.g. Chichester, Dublin) as well as for film and television (e.g. Celebration, P.D. James for the BBC).  www.JanieDee.com

Foster’s research explores the changes in the concept of theatre before and after the first performances of the authentic texts of Greek drama and Shakespeare in the 1880s. So-called ‘literary’ drama evolved together with the separation of audiences and the object presented on stage.


Open to all.  No registration required

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