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|Title: ||Un/Disciplined Performance: Nonprofessionalized Theatre in Canada's Professional Era|
|Authors: ||Whittaker, Robin Charles|
|Advisor: ||Barton, Bruce|
University of Toronto
|Issue Date: ||5-Sep-2012|
|Abstract: ||The discourse of Western theatre practice is founded on, and maintained as, a legitimizing struggle between the terms “professional” and “amateur.” This study moves beyond the traditional signifiers of Canadian amateur theatre—the Little Theatre Movement, the Dominion Drama Festival and connotations of “inferior” and “dilettantish”—to examine two nonprofessionalized companies that have witnessed the professionalization of Anglo-Canadian theatre in order to argue for the relevance and vitality of contemporary “nonprofessionalized” theatre practices. By drawing from Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory and Michel Foucault’s discourse theory and theories of formations of disciplines, this study argues that theatre professions seek to discipline, delegitimize and exclude nonprofessionalizing practices in order to gain capital (economic, social and cultural) at the expense of the creative freedoms inherent in nonprofessionalized work. It also considers the ways in which theatre scholarship omits critical discussion of amateur practice and how the term “amateur” is co-opted as a clouded pejorative signifier and erased by the contested term “community” within theatre discourse (institutions, practices and the Canadian imaginary).
Following a case study approach based on archival documents, the study provides the foundation for a social history of Alumnae Theatre Company (1918- ), beginning with its early years as part of the University of Toronto’s University College Alumnae Association, by examining the relationship between amateur theatre practice and campus philanthropy, followed by Alumnae’s impact on Toronto’s professionalizing theatre scene in the context of alterity in Canadian theatre discourse. It then examines Walterdale Theatre Associates’ (1958- ) relationship to the emerging theatre profession before and after the opening of Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre in 1965 to argue that Walterdale benefits the profession and its professionalizing artists while negotiating complex concerns over institutionalization. Their longevity is explained, in part, by the fact that both companies operate “as if” professional, yet outside of professionalized disciplinary regimes.|
|Appears in Collections:||Doctoral|
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