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Title: A brief chronicle of the time : staging Shakespeare's English histories, 2000-2010
Author: Wilkinson, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2697 1489
Awarding Body: Sheffiled Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis uses the approach of performance criticism to study the place of Shakespeare’s history plays on the English stage during the first ten years of the twenty first century. Although there have been numerous productions of Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies during this period also, the history plays opened the decade in Stratford as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s millennium project and concluded the decade at Shakespeare’s Globe. The history plays were to some extent based on English chronicles, and this thesis acts as chronicle, setting out to address the interpretations and meanings of the productions in a decade which has seen in Britain social, economic, and political upheaval. The thesis looks at different aspects of the history plays in production: the idea of the plays as a cycle; productions that engage with the present moment; adaptation; Shakespeare’s histories on film. In so doing the thesis considers how far the productions engage with and comment on the conditions in which they have been produced and in which they were written; and whether it is necessary for them to do either in order to be successful. The introduction offers a review of existing performance criticism. Thereafter the first chapter addresses influential film adaptations of Richard III; productions of Henry V at Manchester and the National Theatre, Richard II at the Old Vic, and Richard III: An Arab Tragedy are discussed as twenty-first century history plays; Northern Broadside’s Wars of the Roses is looked at in relation to other productions of cycle adaptations; and the RSC’s The Histories is discussed in depth as a modem cycle production before the final chapter addresses the history plays on the stage of the new Globe theatre. In an area dominated by theatre history and analyses of production techniques, this thesis offers an original contribution to knowledge in its application of these approaches to recent productions of history plays, creating a chronicle survey of the history plays in these ten years on the English stage.
Supervisor: Hopkins, Lisa ; Steggle, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available