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Writing for the contemporary theatre: towards a radically inclusive dramaturgy

Author: Turner, Cathy

Source: Studies in Theatre & Performance, Volume 30, Number 1, March 2010 , pp. 75-90(16)

Publisher: Intellect

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Abstract:

This article describes elements of the first Writing Space project, which took place at the University of Winchester in 2008. I use this as an example of a radically inclusive dramaturgical practice, by which I mean to imply an expanded view of the theatre writer and the theatre text, including, yet moving out from, the foundational definitions of playwright and play that underpin conventional literary management. The project, which should be seen in the context of related moves to embrace a wider range of writers and writing within the contemporary theatre, attempted to construct a process in which writers across a wide range of performance forms might work together. Thus, different formal approaches could be explored, debated, developed and cross-fertilized. The article comments on the ways in which this inclusivity prompts a re-examination of fundamental principles that underpin contemporary writing practices. Examining these broad questions in turn What is a writer? What is writing? What do we do with writing? Where does writing take place? the article both questions the assumptions that are implicit in conventions of script reading and play development and speculates that there might need to be more spaces within which these questions can be freely explored.

Keywords: Writing Space; dramaturgy; literary management; performance writing; playwriting; radical inclusion

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stap.30.1.75/1

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.
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