A World Elsewhere: Documentary representations of social Shakespeare

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    Documentaries about the use of Shakespeare in Applied Theatre publicise and endorse the work of practitioners to scholars as well as the general public, and have influenced the growth of academic interest in what this article terms Social Shakespeare: practices in which Shakespeare and social work interact with each other to bring about change. However, in the quest for touching and uplifting individual stories such media treatments risk ignoring the actual values and strategies governing the work in favour of narratives that normalize social differences through emphasis on the transformative power of Shakespearean theatre, viewed as a sanctified space. Documentaries about three different constituencies - prisoners, young people with learning disabilities, and combat veterans – are examined to determine how far they locate the need for change in society rather than in the individual.

    © 2019, Critical Survey. The attached document (embargoed until 01/12/2021) is an author produced version of a paper published in CRITICAL SURVEY uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)77-87
    JournalCritical Survey
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


    • applied theatre, combat veterans, Down’s Syndrome, media narratives, prison Shakespeare, quality, self-development, transformation

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