Willett, Jennifer (2011) An Investigation into the Characteristics of Communities and Their Formation through Postdramatic Performance. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The hypothesis that postdramatic theatre can provoke a need for people to communicate and form a community is explored through observation of a given audience of 24 people, examined through the theories of Zygmunt Bauman, Gerard Delanty and Jean-Luc Nancy: The focus of the investigation was whether there was, or was not, an indication of community forming. Bauman‟s theories were used to explore the role of freedom and security and the effect these can have on the formation of community. Delanty‟s theories were drawn upon to consider the effect of postmodernism on community and identity, along with Nancy‟s suggestion that the postmodern sensibility has constructed a desire to recover community. The project was undertaken with the intention of generating a hypothesis that considered whether the postdramatic performance had an effect on the audience and why and how this may, or may not, have occurred in relation to the given theories. The practical element of the research project required the creation of a piece of postdramatic theatre and therefore, firstly, I directed and devised a postdramatic performance, Twenty Feet Wide. This performance consisted of unnecessarily complex tasks, working towards the creation of a miniature beach. The performance used postdramatic devices, such as repetition and a non-linear structure, to offer the audience the opportunity to negotiate individual meanings. Recordings of the three performances and edited clips can be found on the accompanying DVDs. The first part of the written submission introduces the concepts of community, identity and postmodernism in relation to the theories of Bauman, Delanty and Nancy. The second part of the written submission offers a reflection of the creation of the postdramatic performance Twenty Feet Wide, linking the creative process with the theories. The third section of the written submission evaluates the data gained obtained from observations of audience members when watching Twenty Feet Wide, thus allowing for a consideration of the audiences‟ responses and whether these could be seen as community forming, or indeed not, when drawing from the theories. Data was also gained from the use of a questionnaire which investigated the role of the individual in relation to the theory of community. The thesis ultimately proposes that the performance provoked a desire for community, when analysed in relation to the given framework and theories, suggesting that the postdramatic performance when combined with the task did in fact create fleeting moments of community.

jwillettfinalthesis.pdf - Accepted Version
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