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Title: Drawing and re-drawing : working with the physicality of the performing body in costume design
Author: Gravestock, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6762
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London ; University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2011
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How does the act of drawing enable the costume designer to design costumes that work effectively with the physicality of the performing body? This research is located in the field of scenography and refers specifically to costume design practices within this field. The research project developed from a growing visibility of performances developed and created primarily from the physicality of the body rather than from a text. In these performance environments, where there is no initial text to work from and sound, lighting and set have yet to be developed the costume designer must predominantly respond to the physicality of the performing body. However, if the costume designer is to ensure that their designs and costumes work effectively with the ideas developed by the performer they must also address the relationship between their interpretation of the performing body and the intentions of the performer. My research responds to limited resources that examine and document how a costume designer can address this relationship and create designs that work with the physicality of the performing body rather than designs that work with a text. As a result of the limited resources in this area of costume design I refer to an additional field for reference. Using training practices based in figure skating to structure my drawing process my research provides new insight into how a costume designer can create costume designs that work with and enhance the physicality of the performing body. By using this repetitive drawing process to both interpret the performing body and initiate a dialogue with the performer my research enhances collaborative practices in costume design and within the field of scenography. In the absence of relevant literature in figure skating, the drawing and redrawing approach I use is primarily examined and supported using a combination of performance and training approaches developed by Jacques Lecoq. These approaches address and explore how performance is created through an awareness of the physicality of the body in relation to the physicality of mark making, and through a repetitive training structure similar to that used in figure skating. Drawing is used as the primary research method, applied within a methodology based on Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological philosophy. This methodological approach both facilitates the costume designer's encounter with the physicality of the performing body and enables an examination of this encounter in order to understand how the designer interprets and makes sense of this body. These encounters are structured through and conducted within three ethnographic case studies based in theatre performance, costume design and figure skating. The research case studies are contextualised using interviews, diaries and background research and are analysed using a structure that draws on Corbin and Strauss's Grounded Theory. The research concludes by outlining three main stages through which the process of drawing and re-drawing is applied and used to create costume designs that work effectively with the physicality of the performing body. In describing and explaining these three stages I outline how the repetitive drawing process integrates within a performance process and as a result becomes a vehicle for collaboration between the costume designer and the performer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Costume for Performance ; Drawing ; Theatre studies