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Gregory Doran: Craft, Tradition, 'Shakesepeare'

France, Mark Alan Paul (2014) Gregory Doran: Craft, Tradition, 'Shakesepeare'. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis is the first study into the career, to date, of the current Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Gregory Doran. My thesis commences by identifying that, although he is one of the most prolific and high profile directors of Shakespearean plays working in Britain today, there has been no attempt thus far to articulate or analyse what characterises his work, or how he makes it. Acknowledging that he positions himself within a tradition of Shakespearean theatre directing that rhetorically locates the source of Shakespearean meaning and authority within the Shakespearean text, I argue that this locates him in critical territory at odds with performance critics who reject this paradigm, but rather see the theatrical event as a contested site of meaning(s) that are neither universal nor immanent in the text. His personal identification with Shakespeare, and his lengthy association with the RSC, a site of production identified as hegemonic and imperialistic by many scholars, has led to critical dismissal of Doran by some as a blandly conservative director. In this thesis I argue that Doran’s theatre-making craft, as he defines it, is an enabling one. His process, which draws on Stanislavskian ideas of character that are commonplace within British theatre, has distinctive elements that promote ensemble building, clarity and textual understanding. It is democratising in intent, opening up pathways for performance outcomes that are accessible to an audience without foreknowledge of the play. I further argue that Doran’s aesthetic negotiates tradition, design and space in ways that cannot be reductively dismissed as conservative, and that his work exhibits authorial traits linked to his sexuality and Catholic upbringing that are Doranian, not Shakespearean, in origin. I also argue that he has made an important contribution to the staging of lesser-known plays from the early modern repertoire.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Depositing User: Mr Mark France
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2016 15:32
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 13:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14392

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