Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Blind spectatorship : directing, dramaturgy and non-visual accessibility
Author: Swetz, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 6504
Awarding Body: Central School of Speech and Drama
Current Institution: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Using the social model of disability as a catalyst, this practice as research project starts with the understanding that theatre can disable some of its spectators. Contemporary theatre is conventionally visual. If a theatregoer has low or no vision she or he can be disable by theatre. An investigation of historic directing practice and dramaturgy will demonstrate an ocular bias in contemporary performance. A theatre director is in a unique position to counter this bias and influence opening performance to those with visual impairments or blindness. The idea of blind spectatorship is a provocation for directors and theatre makers. What are popular and experiential definitions of blindness and how might these ideas influence conceptions of an audience? How does theatre disable someone with low or no-vision? What can a director do to open performance to a blind or visually impaired spectator? Audio description interviews with audience members and access specialists, the practice of theatre companies like Extant and Graeae and an Affirmative Model of Disability frame and inform this study. It will be argued that access strategies for the visually impaired or blind, outside of a very few companies, are not widely considered within an artistic purview. This thesis aims to place these access responsibilities firmly within a director’s control and considerations. By locating this study in my own directing practice, I can demonstrate how performance can be opened to a broader audience. Four fully produced stage plays covering a range of performance styles (kōläzh, 2006; Foto, 2010; In the Tunnel, 2010; Variations on the Death of Trotsky, 2012) and several laboratory experiments focused on elements of staging, production, directorial intent and perceptive intersections of access are used to question and exhibit the findings of this study. Sonic dramaturgy emerges as a particularly useful tool for theatre makers and an economic and scalable balance to visual conventions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Directing ; Dramaturgy ; Practice as research