Material Text research in FTT
Interest in the Material Text in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television develops from our research on detailed analysis of plays, performances, films and television programmes. Texts like these are material (concrete, physical) though sometimes ephemeral and not preserved. Some of these texts do have preserved material forms, like written versions, videotapes or rolls of film. There are many kinds of material record in written form, such as documents detailing how films or TV programmes were devised and made. So our research includes archival work on the written records of theatre, film and television, or translation of drama scripts. Colleagues also document theatre performance as a research method for exploring how performance (often ephemeral) works as communication (creating a material relationship between audience and performance). I have pasted an annotated list of some publications and performances dealing with these issues below, and underneath is a list of some recent research grants based on Material Text resources.
A few recent publications/performances addressing material aspects of film, theatre or television
Bignell, J., ‘Beckett at the BBC: The production and reception of Samuel Beckett’s plays for television’. In L. Ben-Zvi (ed.), Drawing on Beckett: Portraits, Performances, and Cultural Contexts (Tel Aviv: University of Tel Aviv Press, 2003), pp.165-182. Archival study of how BBC courted Samuel Beckett and produced his plays for television.
Bull, J., “Serjeant Musgrave dances to a different tune: John McGrath and John Arden”, in D. Bradby and S. Capon (eds), Freedom’s Pioneer: John McGrath’s Work in Theatre, Film and Television (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2005), pp.39-54. Consideration of the relationship between the two texts, relying heavily on unpublished manuscript material.
Butler, A., ‘Feminist film in the gallery: If 6 Was 9’, Camera Obscura 58 (2005), 1-31.
Analysis of a three-screen work by Eija-Liisa Ahtila, analysing multiple projection as the material form of film exhibition of art film.
Gibbs J. and D. Pye (eds), Close Up 1: Filmmakers’ Choices, The Pop Song in Narrative Film, Reading Buffy (London: Wallflower, NY: Columbia University Press, 2006). Publication on the close analysis of film and television including Gibbs’s essay 'Filmmakers’ Choices', exploring the consequences of directors' decision-making through analyses of seven films.
Knox, S., ‘Five’s Finest: The import of CSI to British television’‚,in M. Allen (ed.), Reading CSI: Crime Television Under the Microscope (London: I.B. Tauris, 2007), pp.183-97. Discusses the circulation of TV programming through trade fairs, and the buying practices of television channels in Europe.
Murjas, T., The Morality of Mrs Dulska (Exeter: Intellect, 2007). The first English critical edition of a Polish play, locating the playwright within histories of European modernism and performance history, with documentation of processes of translating and directing the play.
Taylor, L., Research performance: Eden Cinema by Marguerite Duras, directed by L. Taylor, performed at the University of Reading (2005). A rarely performed French Modernist drama whose staging problems and critical issues of post-colonialism, family and gender were foregrounded in this multimedia production.
Thorpe, A., ‘Only joking? The relationship between the clown and percussion in Jingju’, Asian Theatre Journal, 22:2 (2005) 269-92. Documentation of musical techniques utilised by the clown actor in Beijing opera.
Thorpe, A., The Role of the Clown in Traditional Chinese Drama (Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 2007). Study on a specific role type from traditional Chinese theatre, combining discussions of theatre historiography, translation, ethnomusicology, anthropology and acting techniques.
Grants held by FTT colleagues, using Material Text research resources
Jonathan Bignell, with Jonathan Dronsfield, Martin Andrews (RA Bill Prosser) Leverhulme Trust, ‘Beckett and the Phenemomenology of Doodles’, 2006- 9. Value £147k. Research and artistic practice based on Beckett’s manuscripts held at Reading.
Derek Paget, with Jonathan Bignell, Lib Taylor (RA Heather Sutherland) AHRC, ‘Acting with Facts’, 2007-10. Value £300k. Uses interviews and archival documents to study modes of performance in fact-based TV and theatre productions.
Graham Saunders, with John Bull and colleagues from V&A Museum. ‘Giving Voice to the Nation’, AHRC, 2009-13. Value £800k. Archival research into Arts Council documents about the funding of theatre in the UK.
Access to Heritage Project at Speke Hall mentioned in Access by Design Page 24 - Open publication - Free publishing
4 years ago