London Theatre Seminar, 20 October 2016 with Tom Cornford (RCSSD)

Dear colleagues,

Our first London Theatre Seminar of 2016-17 the term takes place 20 October 2016 at 6:30 PM, in the University of London Senate House (Room TBC). We are pleased to be welcoming Tom Cornford of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. His abstract and bio is below. (Please note change of speaker from previously announced).

We hope to see you there!

Broderick, Louise, & Bryce

Studios: Laboratories of the Future Theatre (1936-2016)

This paper will give an overview of my current book project, Theatre Studios: Practices, Philosophies and Politics of Ensemble Theatre Making, which is a study of the work of the London Theatre Studio (1936-1939) and Old Vic Theatre Centre (1947-1952), The Chekhov Theatre Studio at Dartington Hall and Ridgefield, Connecticut (1936-1942), and Theatre Workshop (in the years 1945-1961). In the first part of the talk, I will trace the evolution of the Studio from its inception at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1905 through the case-studies above, examining theoretical articulations of their work in relation to the contexts in which they operated and their organisational structures, creative practices and productions. I will move on from this predominantly archive-based account to an ethnographic exploration of the work of Secret Theatre at the Lyric, Hammersmith (2013-2015), which I will position as a contemporary Studio. This will bring me to a conclusion in which I will examine the legacy of the self-evidently modernist phenomenon of the Studio for theatre makers today and ask what my study can offer to wider research into the processes by which theatre has been created in the past and is made now.

Tom Cornford is a Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a director and dramaturg. Alongside his study of Theatre Studios, he has recently completed work on the development of a prototype digital application to support creative rehearsal practices and is currently working on projects exploring applications of Michael Chekhov’s artistic technique beyond actor training, Tyrone Guthrie’s role in the evolution of the role of the Artistic Director, and current dramaturgical responses to globalisation and financial and ecological crisis. He is also Lead Researcher on a Best Practice Research Project exploring the employment of people with caring responsibilities in the theatre for the campaign group Parents in Performing Arts in partnership with 15 leading UK theatres and funded by Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.