Edinburgh Research Explorer

Brecht and the Art of Spectatorship

Project: Research

Effective start/end date24/06/15 → …
Period24/06/15 → …


The central ambition of Brecht's epic theatre was to empower the audience: to train spectators to watch performances critically, judge what they saw, and consider its relevance to their lives. He describes seeing as an activity that must be learned, arguing that spectators face choices about where to direct their gaze and what to do next. My monograph investigates how Brecht used onstage spectatorship in twelve of his plays, relating this analysis to his poems and theories about observation, vision, dramatic and epic theatre, and audiences. Drawing extensively on archival sources, I explore how Brecht and his collaborators presented onstage spectatorship in selected productions from the Weimar Republic to the early GDR, and how real-life spectators responded.

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