British Chekhov: an analysis of the United Kingdom’s 21st century national identity through contemporary reinterpretations of Anton Chekhov’s plays

  • Diego Augusto Arboleda

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis is a socio-political analysis of the United Kingdom’s contemporary national identity, as expressed through an intercultural examination of eight Anton Chekhov’s productions presented in the country between 2009 and 2011, characterised by their aesthetic and socio-political diversity. The introduction presents a theoretical exploration and definition of the notions of interculturalism and national identity, which serve as the theoretical pillars of this work. A historical contextualisation summarises the reception, assimilation and reinterpretation processes of British Chekhovian discourses from the early 20th century onwards, as well as the urban and regional transformations that the country experienced during the same time frame. The first chapter explores traditional views of national identity through the analysis of double-bill performances, connecting Chekhov’s pieces to ‘national’ works by Terence Rattigan and William Shakespeare. The second chapter discuses international discourses and their influence in the creation of local imaginaries, using foreign Chekhovian productions presented on the British stage to scrutinise reception processes, importation models and the power of sponsors and festivals. The third chapter approaches Scottish and female discourses, emphasising their ‘otherness’ and value in the construction of more plural notions of national identity, through rewritings of the Russian author done by playwrights born and raised within the UK. The fourth chapter reflects on politically progressive and intercultural understandings of nation through new British experimental performances inspired by Chekhov’s iconographies and symbolisms. Finally, the conclusion re-examines Chekhovian dramaturgy, national identity and interculturalism, proposing an abstract outline to understand processes of reception, assimilation and/or reinterpretation of foreign dramatic discourses within any given geographical construct, and highlighting the importance of building a plural and hybrid post-Brexit British society, focused on a constant intercultural negotiation between superimposing cultural forces.
    Date of Award7 Feb 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorSusan Painter (Supervisor), Joshua Abrams (Supervisor) & Graham White (Supervisor)


    • Anton Chekhov, United Kingdom, interculturalism, national identity, intertheatricality, performance studies

    Cite this