Balancing Acts: Aesthetics of Vulnerability in British Contemporary Improvisational Theatre. / Arros-Steen, Chloé.

2021. 228 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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@phdthesis{082174209c514f699f56e087a0cdcbcb,
title = "Balancing Acts: Aesthetics of Vulnerability in British Contemporary Improvisational Theatre",
abstract = "This thesis is an exploration of contemporary British improvisational theatre, as it began developing in the 1950s until the present time, using the notion of vulnerability as research question. It discusses the balancing act performed by improvisers, navigating both the vulnerability intrinsic to their art and the image of vulnerability they intentionally convey. Its aim is to show the central place of vulnerability as an emotional state in the creative process of improvisational theatre and the expert strategies that improvisers develop to overcome it. Stemming from Bren{\'e} Brown{\textquoteright}s notion of vulnerability as a positive creative force, it also studies the unique ways in which improvisers can perform vulnerability, use it as a strategy in order to achieve virtuosity and make it part of the aesthetics of the form. In conjunction with theatre studies literature, it relies on the methodologies of neuroaesthetics and aesthetics as defined by Denis Dutton, in order to examine in depth the improvisation creative process and complement qualitative material. Field research in the form of interviews with both improvisers and improvisational theatre spectators was conducted between 2013 and 2018 in order to gather original material to begin a dialogue with, complement and challenge the existing literature onimprovisational theatre. This thesis updates our knowledge of the form and providesan original, in depth insight into the creative process in performing arts. The key finding of this work is a new understanding of the expert ways of doing of improvisers which legitimises them as artists in their own rights and shows improvisational theatre to be an artform and not just a tool. As such, it is a manifesto for contemporary British improvisational theatre.",
keywords = "improvisation, improvisational theatre, theatre, neuroaesthetics, aesthetics, vulnerability, creativity, british, contemporary, neuroscience, biology, courage, virtuosity, artistry, failure",
author = "Chlo{\'e} Arros-Steen",
year = "2021",
language = "English",
school = "Royal Holloway, University of London",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - Balancing Acts: Aesthetics of Vulnerability in British Contemporary Improvisational Theatre

AU - Arros-Steen, Chloé

PY - 2021

Y1 - 2021

N2 - This thesis is an exploration of contemporary British improvisational theatre, as it began developing in the 1950s until the present time, using the notion of vulnerability as research question. It discusses the balancing act performed by improvisers, navigating both the vulnerability intrinsic to their art and the image of vulnerability they intentionally convey. Its aim is to show the central place of vulnerability as an emotional state in the creative process of improvisational theatre and the expert strategies that improvisers develop to overcome it. Stemming from Brené Brown’s notion of vulnerability as a positive creative force, it also studies the unique ways in which improvisers can perform vulnerability, use it as a strategy in order to achieve virtuosity and make it part of the aesthetics of the form. In conjunction with theatre studies literature, it relies on the methodologies of neuroaesthetics and aesthetics as defined by Denis Dutton, in order to examine in depth the improvisation creative process and complement qualitative material. Field research in the form of interviews with both improvisers and improvisational theatre spectators was conducted between 2013 and 2018 in order to gather original material to begin a dialogue with, complement and challenge the existing literature onimprovisational theatre. This thesis updates our knowledge of the form and providesan original, in depth insight into the creative process in performing arts. The key finding of this work is a new understanding of the expert ways of doing of improvisers which legitimises them as artists in their own rights and shows improvisational theatre to be an artform and not just a tool. As such, it is a manifesto for contemporary British improvisational theatre.

AB - This thesis is an exploration of contemporary British improvisational theatre, as it began developing in the 1950s until the present time, using the notion of vulnerability as research question. It discusses the balancing act performed by improvisers, navigating both the vulnerability intrinsic to their art and the image of vulnerability they intentionally convey. Its aim is to show the central place of vulnerability as an emotional state in the creative process of improvisational theatre and the expert strategies that improvisers develop to overcome it. Stemming from Brené Brown’s notion of vulnerability as a positive creative force, it also studies the unique ways in which improvisers can perform vulnerability, use it as a strategy in order to achieve virtuosity and make it part of the aesthetics of the form. In conjunction with theatre studies literature, it relies on the methodologies of neuroaesthetics and aesthetics as defined by Denis Dutton, in order to examine in depth the improvisation creative process and complement qualitative material. Field research in the form of interviews with both improvisers and improvisational theatre spectators was conducted between 2013 and 2018 in order to gather original material to begin a dialogue with, complement and challenge the existing literature onimprovisational theatre. This thesis updates our knowledge of the form and providesan original, in depth insight into the creative process in performing arts. The key finding of this work is a new understanding of the expert ways of doing of improvisers which legitimises them as artists in their own rights and shows improvisational theatre to be an artform and not just a tool. As such, it is a manifesto for contemporary British improvisational theatre.

KW - improvisation

KW - improvisational theatre

KW - theatre

KW - neuroaesthetics

KW - aesthetics

KW - vulnerability

KW - creativity

KW - british

KW - contemporary

KW - neuroscience

KW - biology

KW - courage

KW - virtuosity

KW - artistry

KW - failure

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -