British Theatre Scenography: The Reification of Spectacle

White, Christine A.. 1998. British Theatre Scenography: The Reification of Spectacle. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Over the last twenty years, the nature of theatre has changed due to the economic system of production which has led to the use of scenography to advertise the theatre product. Theatre has tried to make itself more attractive in the market place, using whatever techniques available. The technological developments of recent years have enabled the repackaging and sale of theatre productions both nationally and internationally. As a result theatre has become more 'designed' in an attempt to make it an attractive commodity.

Scenography has become more prominent and this has changed the authorship of the theatre production, the dramatic text; the experts required by the new technologies have had a different involvement with the product, as they have actively contributed to the scenic image presented. Commercial values may have improved the integrity of theatre design and raised its profile within the profession, with theatre critics and with the academic world but it has proved unable to sell a production, which is ultimately lacking in theatricality and true spectacle. On particular occasions the gratuitous use of technology has been criticised, and as such, has been referred to as 'spectacle'. However, spectacle theatre does not simply mean theatre which uses technology, and so it has become imperative for the word spectacle to be more specifically applied, when used as a critical term to describe a form of theatre production.

In this thesis, I intend to look at the significant factors that have led to the types of theatre presented in the last twenty years; to discuss these types of theatre in terms of their means of production and delivery to an audience, and to relate the change in scenographic values with a change in economic values; a change which has particularly affected the means of production, and as such is a vital beginning for any discussion of the scenography of the late twentieth century.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


theatre, scenography, means of production

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)



Item ID:


Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2020 15:24

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:37


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