Staging and citing gendered meanings : a practice-based study of representational strategies in live and mediated performance
My argument is that gender visibility in live and mediated performance can be enhanced by the use of the dramaturgical toolkit. The thesis as a whole offers a body of work and a method for recontextualising that work, and for reframing it in multimedia format. The visual and written texts on the DVD-Rom give equal weight to the performance and written research comprising this submission. Building upon that set of materials and meanings, but leaving deliberate gaps and spaces for debate and interpretation between them as well, I have attempted to offer a useful but also a flexible toolkit for use by future practitioners and scholars. Method: Taking as my case study Di's Midsummer Night Party, a site-based devised performance (this collaboration in 2000 was created with a scenographer, five professional actors and 20 extras, performed over five nights in an 18th-century house), I design and theorise a dramaturgical toolkit. The theoretical base is developed from established theoretical concerns, feminist performance theory and social semiotics to analyse an original contemporary performance work. Original contribution: The dramaturgical toolkit is designed to be used by artists, students and academics. My analytical tool is being used in teaching and is valuable to others who want to teach/research gender representation in live and mediated performance. Tests during development and subsequently have taken place with performance design and fashion students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where the kit encouraged the articulation and analysis of student work. The dramaturgical toolkit helps the facilitator to push students towards articulation and analysis of "bite-sized" bits that are distilled enough to be clear, and therefore useful for making and analysing performance. This process of distillation helps artists and students to focus down and to reach new levels of understanding.