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Negotiating Identity in Contemporary Playwriting

Hamilton, Morven (2014) Negotiating Identity in Contemporary Playwriting. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I discuss the process of playwriting in Scottish dialect: why Scottish writers choose not to write in Standard English; how and why they choose their specific dialect; what problems lie in the writing of dialect plays; and what problems may arise in performance and production. Following on from that, I also investigate why Scottish playwrights often find themselves excluded from English theatres - particularly from the London stage - and what cultural stereotypes seem to fuel this problem. I have examined Scottish dialect plays and playwrights’ accounts from the 1940s onwards, as well as considering the critical response to these plays. In the light of this contextual background, I also analyse my own personal experience as a playwright over the course of my PhD by Practice at the University of York, and my experience as a Glaswegian playwright at an English university in a traditional English town. My dissertation begins by discussing why Scottish playwrights choose Scottish dialects, focussing in particular on the idea of language survival and resistance to English hegemony. I examine the merits and effects of urban and rural dialects, investigating why rural dialects are now largely neglected and why urban dialects are vital to representations of class and city life in modern Scotland. I scrutinise the problems of writing dialect, and the lack of official spelling and prevalence of profanity in urban dialects, which present particular problems. Audience reception will also be considered, examining the idea that non-Scottish audiences struggle to understand the dialect, and subsequently struggle to understand its humour. Finally, I consider audience responses towards Scottish dialect.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605457
Depositing User: Miss Morven Hamilton
Date Deposited: 19 May 2014 12:32
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5937

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