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Architecture and New Play Development at the National Theatre, 1907-2010

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rosalind Haslett



In recent criticism a perceived dichotomy has emerged between ‘new writing’ and ‘new work’ for the theatre. In this article Rosalind Haslett contends that this dichotomy is often reflected in the infrastructure of theatre organizations and theatre spaces themselves. Thus ‘new writing’ is seen to refer to a literary process which takes place in a conventional theatre building, while ‘new work’ tends to occur in non-traditional forms and spaces. The relationship between non-conventional spaces and the performance work that might take place in them has received some critical attention, but there has been less exploration of the ways in which theatre architecture can inform the processes which surround new writing for the theatre. Tracing the history of the National Theatre in London back to its origins, long before it occupied a building of its own, Rosalind Haslett explores the relationship between the policies and processes taking place within the organization and the physical and architectural development of actualizing its building. She suggests that, if the layout of a theatre building has the power to influence the kind of work and the modes of production which take place within it, the activities of the individuals and organizations residing within such structures can also drive architectural change. Rosalind Haslett is Lecturer in Dramatic Literature at Newcastle University. Her research interests include dramaturgy and literature management, theatre architecture, and theatre history.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Haslett R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: New Theatre Quarterly

Year: 2011

Volume: 27

Issue: 4

Pages: 358-367

Print publication date: 01/11/2011

Date deposited: 09/12/2011

ISSN (print): 0266-464X

ISSN (electronic): 1474-0613

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0266464X11000674


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