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Modern and contemporary social and political theatre

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

In the recent period we have been witnessing a considerable turn towards experimentation and formal flow on British stages. For a theatre culture that had previously been, with few notable exceptions, profoundly embedded in traditions of social realism, the turn has been as notable as it has been significant.

This project invites you to consider representative examples of plays written in the post-2000 period that capture this shift and to argue as to how/why this shift has materialised, what its main characteristics have been and how it has served to situate the spectator at the heart of the theatre experience in new ways that rely on affect rather than effect. You will be expected to draw on a diverse range of examples representing different thematic concerns that show that experimentation was driven by the need to respond to current social and political shifts. Examples of current debates that you may wish to engage with to evidence the drive for alternative forms that have, ultimately, infiltrated the mainstream might include but are not limited to: the economy; the environment; digital interventions; mental health; Brexit.

In this project you will also be expected to consider and argue as to how British theatre has benefited from internationalism and exchanges with European theatre cultures, emerging through the popularity of contemporary British playwriting outside of the UK, which has produced new collaborations, dialogues and shared aesthetics. Your approach, therefore, should be internationalist by default, rather than exclusively rooted in the analysis of new theatre in Britain within an exclusively British cultural framework.

Funding Notes

Self-funded students only

Bachelor's degree of at least 2.1 level (or equivalent), or a master's degree, in a subject related to the proposed PhD research topic.

How good is research at University of Reading in Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 10.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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