Basten, Ruth Elizabeth (2014) The Circle of Life: Narrative, performativity and ageing in Peter Cheeseman’s documentary dramas Fight for Shelton Bar! and Nice Girls. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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The relationship between ageing and theatre has received relatively little scholarly attention. This thesis focuses precisely on this intersection by investigating the relationship between theatre and the ageing process drawing on critical gerontology and literary theory. The research explores the documentary dramas of Peter Cheeseman by looking in detail at two of the documentaries, Fight for Shelton Bar! (1972) and Nice Girls (1993). The thesis uses a complex bricolage style of analysis to explore what narratives of the life-course reveal about ageing and intergenerational relations in Nice Girls and Fight for Shelton Bar!; as well as discovering what impacts being involved with the Vic/New Vic documentaries have on individuals’ lives and their engagement with their community. The research uses different types of narrative: narratives taken from a study of the documentaries themselves; narratives as seen through the archive, which include alternative stories and discourses to those which shaped the finished documentaries; and contemporary narratives gathered from performers and original participants from both documentaries.

The thesis situates Cheeseman’s documentaries in the context of twentieth-century theatre history. In addition, it innovates methodologically by presenting the contemporary narratives in the form of dramatic scripts, with analytical commentaries. The source analyses are taken from an in-depth exploration of the Victoria theatre archive. The thesis argues that this archival material is a complex affective record of the community’s past feelings about ageing as part of the life-course.

It is through this layering of analysis that the thesis draws together thematic threads relating to community, family, intergenerational relationships, representation, shifting forms of engagement and ageing, looked at from a life-course perspective. The thesis argues that the Vic/New Vic theatre is a space that licences affective engagement. Consequently, attitudes to ageing emerge through the documentaries even though that was not the pre-determined focus of Cheeseman’s work.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Users 4 not found.
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2015 16:10
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2015 16:10

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