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The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts$
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Mark Thornton Burnett and Adrian Streete

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635238

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635238.001.0001

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Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance Spaces

Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance Spaces

(p.332) 18 Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance Spaces
The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Andrew James Hartley

Edinburgh University Press

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

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