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Theatre architecture and dramatic form: from a chronology to a typology

Helm, N; (2012) Theatre architecture and dramatic form: from a chronology to a typology. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Since the early 20th century, dramatic creativity has been limited by theatre architecture. Evidence for this is that innovative drama will rarely take place in conventional theatre buildings. The evolution of theatre architecture is traditionally viewed as fundamentally linear with classical models being modified in response to social change and technical advances. Today this paradigm continues as the accepted basis for architectural design. Examination of a range of exemplars using different techniques - historical and scientific - shows why this idea and approach persists, as it reveals other historical models that could be a reference for new approaches to designing theatre buildings/places. Informed by this work - and parallel to it - a design experiment in practice operates as a critique of today’s approach. The work as a whole looks to identify the social logic of theatre architecture in the context of the design process. It examines theatre’s ritual base and presents the dramatic event as a societal structuring device. The findings suggest that for innovation to be more than a one-off incident a different architectural-education and professional model is required to that currently in operation. A framework closer to medical practice is proposed, where architectural specialists are trained and experimental monitoring and assessment is set against a body of (typological) laboratory and desktop research. Practice demonstrates however that additionally for theatre architecture - and this is probably true of other specialist architectural fields - an interdisciplinary experimental approach must be taken if innovation is to be maximised while risk is minimised.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Theatre architecture and dramatic form: from a chronology to a typology
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisaton for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Graduate Studies

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