Artist Development and Training in the Royal Shakespeare Company: A Vision for Change in British Theatre Culture

Lyn Darnley

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Artist Development and Training in the Royal Shakespeare Company
A Vision for Change in British Theatre Culture
The thesis provides a participant observer’s perspective of an ensemble training programme within a subsidised professional classical theatre company. Wherever possible, that personal perspective is tested, interrogated and critiqued.
The study traces the RSC’s history of artist training from its beginnings and considers the contribution made by directors and key practitioners and the major theatrical influences on training within the Company.
This provides a context for the specific focus which is placed on the first three years (2003/4-2006/7) of Artistic Director Michael Boyd’s Artist Development Programme. This discussion occupies the main part of the thesis and is its raison d’être. Ongoing artist development for actors and other artists is examined as an essential element of Boyd’s ensemble ethos and the RSC’s degree of success in meeting the requirements of its Royal Charter and of the Arts Council Document (1996) to provide training for its artists, and to support the development of the wider profession is evaluated.
The discussion alludes to the current state of classical drama training in UK conservatoires with specific reference to the teaching of text and language before documenting the RSC’s attempts to establish greater links with both training and professional bodies in order to support actor and director training and the professional development of other theatre practitioners.
Factors that have to date inhibited the Artist Development Programme including the impact of the redevelopment of its Stratford upon Avon theatres between 2007and 2011 are reflected on and their impact debated.
An appendix bound as a separate document for ease of access and reference alongside the thesis, provides resource material for future researchers including schedules, artist feedback, company documents, archival material and photographs. It also allows the reader to take an empirical stance from which to assess the accuracy of the judgements offered.
Lyn Darnley
March 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Cave, Richard, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Apr 2013
Publication statusUnpublished - 6 Apr 2013

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