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7th July, 2012

‘What signifies a theatre? 3: Private Theatricals and Amateur Dramatics in Britain and Abroad

Event Details

7th July, 2012
10am (registration 9am)
University of Notre Dame in London, 1 Suffolk Street, London, SW1Y 4HG

This conference takes place at the University of Notre Dame in London, just off Trafalgar Square on Saturday 7 July 2012.

Building on the success of two previous conferences, WSAT? 3 will continue the exploration of the practice, significance and potential of non-professional theatrical performance in the long nineteenth century. Most histories of performance focus on the commercial and metropolitan theatre. Yet most drama-making is amateur, not-for-profit and takes place in a wide-variety of sites. These sites range from stately homes to bourgeois parlours, to prisons and ships, from the Home Counties to the colonies.

As well as presenting a series of case histories, this conference will address methodological and theoretical questions raised by the study of the amateur: questions of value, of the relation of public to private, of the interaction between audience and performer. It will explore how this labour of love provided aesthetic, economic and social opportunities for its participants. And it will address the key questions: what was the value of private theatricals to the original participants? And how can the revival of private theatricals add value to community involvement in heritage?

The event will conclude with a performance of Arthur Murphy’s comedy, The Way to Keep Him, presented in the manner of private theatricals by Artifice Theatre Company, dir. Kate Napier.

For further details, the full programme and on-line registration, please follow this link: Registration closes Thursday 28 June 2012.

All enquiries to Prof. Judith Hawley on

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