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Title: The development of amateur theatre in Britain in the long nineteenth century, 1789-1914
Author: Coates, David James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 6702
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis analyses the development of amateur theatre in Britain in the long nineteenth century and has five main emphases. Firstly, it considers the multiple functions of private theatricals in the regions and the varied reactions to their increasing popularity. It argues that they were used as a form of soft power; that they disrupted the Victorian ideology of the separate spheres; and that they developed amateur and professional theatre in the regions. Secondly, the thesis will offer new perspectives on the West End by exposing its lost histories of amateur theatre. It will break down the binary of ‘London theatre’ as ‘West End theatre’ by uncovering amateur theatrical venues and communities beyond this district. The thesis then examines the birth of amateur dramatic clubs and societies and exposes a complex network of amateur theatrical activities taking place across Britain. It reveals the symbiosis of amateur dramatic enthusiasts with members of the theatre profession and foregrounds the existence of ‘professional amateurs’ – performers who were celebrated nationally for their theatrical abilities, but chose not to adopt a stage career. The focus of this thesis then turns to the repertoire of amateur theatre and argues that existing studies of the nineteenth century theatrical repertoire have been constructed based on data from professional performances alone. It makes the case for a distinct amateur repertoire and a reimaging of the theatrical canon through use of data from amateur theatrical events in the period. Finally, the thesis considers the ‘value’ of amateur theatricals. It highlights the significance of the amateur sector to the financial success of the theatre industry. It then considers the economic, social and cultural value of the relationship between amateur theatricals and local, national and dramatic charitable causes. It concludes by emphasising the role that amateur theatre had in building strong communities and constructing identities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater