Calvert, Dave (2013) From Pedrolino to a Pierrot: The Origin, Ancestry and Ambivalence of the British Pierrot Troupe. Popular Entertainment Studies, 4 (1). pp. 6-23. ISSN 1837-9303

In this article, the author considers the British development of the seaside Pierrot troupe, arguing that its construction is consistent with the notion of invented tradition, and the associated concerns with identity and nationality. Tracing the history of the character from its origins as Pedrolino in the commedia dell’arte, the article considers the traditional and novel elements of the British form. This also allows a brief account of the origin and aesthetics of the British tradition. Reflecting on the synthesis of the archaic and contemporary dimensions of the form, the author proposes that the new structure constructed an ambivalent class of character. The composition of both troupes and audiences was drawn from across the range of social strata. Through its collectivity and its treatment of contemporary social themes, it is argued the British Pierrot troupe approached and negotiated questions of a cultural and national identity in the late-Victorian period.
Dave Calvert is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, UK. His research
interests include street theatre, Applied Theatre and learning disabled
performance. He is also a member of The Pierrotters, the last remaining seaside
Pierrot troupe.

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