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The rehearsal process of playwright/director Anthony Neilson

Cassidy, G. (2018) The rehearsal process of playwright/director Anthony Neilson. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00079996


This thesis seeks to make a contribution to the emerging field of Rehearsal Studies. It is an analytical account of the rehearsal process of playwright and director Anthony Neilson, whose ‘noted process’ has been attracting critical attention. He begins his rehearsals with no script, and the actors are involved in a complex devising process. The thesis pays particular attention to the perspective of the actor within this collaborative environment. The thesis will focus on the rehearsals of one specific production at the Royal Court Theatre in London, Neilson’s 2013 play Narrative. This thesis utilises an unusual methodological approach, in that its findings have been reached via close analysis of filmed footage of the Narrative rehearsals, as well as interviews with the practitioners involved in the production, in addition to other actors who have collaborated with Neilson in the past. This thesis follows a tripartite structure which aims to uncover the particular properties of Neilson’s rehearsal methodology and the manner in which his approach critically engages with the issue of authorship, improvisation and the director-actor relationship. It also seeks to address issues such as how the investigation of rehearsals can contribute to our understanding of theatre practice. The thesis also demonstrates how research based on the analysis of filmed footage can facilitate a more in-depth enquiry of the subtextual components that are often of fundamental importance to rehearsals. In addition, the thesis will show how the often marginalised perspective of the actor has a productive and illuminating contribution to make to the understanding of Neilson’s process specifically, and the field of Rehearsal Studies more broadly.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Saunders, G. and Taylor, L.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts and Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:79996
Date on Title Page:2017
Additional Information:The Neilson Rehearsal Sequences on a CD bound into the hardbound copy are not available to download from CentAUR.


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