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UAL Research Online

Landscape, Place and the Gothic in Contemporary Australian Scenography

Thornett, Lucy (2016) Landscape, Place and the Gothic in Contemporary Australian Scenography. In: Theatre and Performance Research Association annual conference, scenography working group, 5-7 September 2016, University of Bristol.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Thornett, Lucy

This paper examines the impact of place and national identity on Australian scenography. Much research focuses on the importance of place, and in particular landscape, on Australian theatre and literature. Many scholars have discussed the prevalence of the Australian Gothic, emerging from the colonial experience of life in Australia, Australia’s harsh natural landscape, and the prominence of European gothic at the time of early European settlement in Australia (Turcotte, 1998; Tompkins, 2006; Steel, 2010; Hassall, 2014; Carleton, 2015). However, despite the Gothic’s close relationship to landscape, architecture and place and its frequent use in Australian play texts, its discussion has rarely extended to scenography – indeed there is very little scholarly attention on scenography in Australia.

This paper redresses the dearth of scholarship on Australian scenography. I argue that much Australian scenographic practice draws on what might be said to be a contemporary Australian gothic aesthetic. This contemporary gothic contains aspects of the colonial gothic though the recurring tropes of harsh and desolate landscape, the uncanny and the pervading sense of isolation. Beyond landscape, preoccupations with suburbia and its darker forces dominate, particularly in a contemporary context of an Australian nation state that polices its borders so brutally. The contemporary Australian gothic scenography also incorporates post-colonial, feminist, and queer politics and aesthetics. I will argue that this contemporary Gothic aesthetic is further compounded by the logisitical realities of the Australian theatre industry. Through a series of case studies, this paper will examine the notion of the contemporary Australian gothic in current Australian practice in scenography.

Official Website: http://tapra.org
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: 7 September 2016
Event Location: University of Bristol
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2017 11:42
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2017 11:42
Item ID: 11147
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/11147

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