‘Demented Particulars’: Traces of Godot and the Provincial Theatre Archive'
In response to the recent 'archival turn' within Beckett studies, this article argues that the value of the ephemera located in less prestigious repositories of Beckettian materials situated within small theatre collections, public libraries, and city and county council records – scrapbooks, prompt books, ﬁnancial records and stage managers reports – is of value to scholars of Beckett and theatre historians alike in that these archives move away from the author-centred archives of Reading and Dublin to ones that expose the material conditions of performance and give indications of how a celebrated avant garde work such as Godot fared beyond the metropolitan centres of Paris and London to audiences in Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester. Here, little regard was paid to Godot’s Left Bank credentials, this essay traces the ways in which the play was ﬁrst made to conform to institutional structures, and more broadly how these Godots from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s charted the decline of the old repertory system and the policy changes instituted through the Arts Council and local authorities that directly impacted on theatre in the provinces from the 1960s onwards. It argues further that these networks of less regarded collections represent the vast, invisible ‘dark matter’ that binds together theatre studies as a discipline in the traces they reveal of backstage conditions integral to the producing of performance itself.
Citation : Mooney, Sinéad, ‘Demented Particulars’: Traces of Godot and the Provincial Theatre Archive Contemporary Theatre Review, 28(1), 1–2, pp. 39-53
ISSN : 1048-6801
Research Institute : Institute of English
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities