Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance Spaces

Andrew James Hartley

in The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748635238
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652297 | DOI:
Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance Spaces

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This chapter addresses the way that the physical layout of a performance space affects staged Shakespeare in contemporary UK and US theatre. The kinds of plurality of approach and audience suggested by different kinds of theatres in US Shakespeare festivals are also explained. The most major issue bound to performing space is probably that of the stage layout itself. The size and shape of a performance space are especially relevant to the staging of Shakespeare. Space shapes more than playing style: it shapes character dynamics, the way an audience relates to the performers and the way it conceives of the theatrical event itself. Space is not simply about the aesthetic dimensions of the stage, but is rooted in place in a broader political sense, that tripartite ‘location, location, location’ which is the mantra of realtors/estate agents, and which is ultimately bound both to community and to money.

Keywords: performance space; Shakespeare; UK theatre; US theatre; Shakespeare festivals; physical layout

Chapter.  9107 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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