Towards an aesthetics of theatre technology

  • Geraint D'Arcy

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis establishes groundwork for producing an aesthetic language for theatre technology by creating and testing a model for looking at theatre technologies in a critical manner. This model has several functions: Firstly it identifies theatre technology as something which can have a specific or a psycho-plastic scenographic effect. Through processes of re-invigoration and diversification the model allows a device to be regarded in its own context while historiologically allowing for precedent technologies to be acknowledged and compared. Lastly, because the model is ouroboric, self-consuming, it accounts for theatre technologies to be able to interpolate (and be interpolated by) other technologies whilst maintaining its own aesthetic integrity. This allows a critic to treat technology as a text rather than as a medium, and therefore enables it to be closely "read" as a text of the stage affording the technology a content of its own. Through problematising this model against theories of media and remediation, the thesis observes that the common critical position in theatre and performance studies is to treat theatre technology merely as a theatrical technē -- a tool or craft of the art. The arguments presented in the thesis reposition theatre technology from the position of craft to a position of art -- as alētheia, an artistic truth revealed through poiētic means. In the repositioning of attitudes towards technology, and by identifying theatre technologies as separate alētheuein, this thesis is then able to investigate theatre technologies aesthetically. Examining the contexts of technologies through the ouroboric model, and then critically studying their content, usage and meaning textually, this thesis is able to take a theatrical technological effect and begin to identify its affect. It posits that technology as an art in its own right can be aesthetically criticised and awarded meaning of equal weight to other elements of performance and theatre art.
Date of AwardSept 2011
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRichard Hand (Supervisor) & Lisa Lewis (Supervisor)


  • theatre
  • technology
  • aesthetics

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