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Att växa sidledes: Tematik, barnsyn och konstnärlig gestaltning i Suzanne Ostens scenkonst för unga
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8993-2685
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
To Grow Sideways : Themes, Aesthetics and the Notion of the Child in Suzanne Osten's Theatre for Young Audiences (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to highlight and discuss the artistic force, potential and significance of performing arts for children and young audiences through the example of the work by Suzanne Osten. The focus of this research is on themes, notions of the child and artistic expressions and strategies. The dissertation discusses both the aesthetic and the political aspects of Osten’s theatre for young audiences and takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining theatre and performance studies and childhood studies. A fundamental assumption is that childhood is not a fixed or stable phase that manifests itself in one particular way for all children during all times. Another assumption is that theatre is more than what is visually apparent on stage. What is staged does not take place inside a vacuum, but is closely connected to the surrounding society and culture. To study theatre for young audiences as a cultural expression is therefore, to a great extent, also about analysing notions of the child.

Five performances have been selected, all for young audiences: Paddakvariet (The Toad Aquarium, 1988, for ages 10 and over), Delfinen (The Dolphin, 1992, for ages 3 and over), Irinias nya liv (Irina’s New Life, 1996, for ages 9 and over), Flickan, mamman och soporna (The Girl, the Mother and the rubbish, 1998, for ages 7 and over), and Lammungarnas fest (The Baa-lambs Holiday, 2014, for ages 13 and over). A model for performance analysis has been constructed, based on hermeneutics and semiotics, complemented by three key theoretical concepts. Firstly focalization, as used by theatre scholar Maaike Bleeker, in order to understand the interaction between the spectator and the visions produced by the apparatus of performance. The reasoning of theatre scholar Gay McAuley about space in performance is used to examine how space is utilized and retained in the performances, while the notion of utopian performative by theatre scholar Jill Dolan provides tools to discuss how moments of ‘feeling utopia’ are a significant part of the selected works which raises questions of the transformative and affective power of theatre. In order to contextualize and historicise the analyses, the response of the performances is also taken into account drawing mainly on theatre reviews.

As a whole the analyses show Osten’s theatre for young audiences as an ongoing research project problematizing the situation and position of children in society, as well as the view of art for children. Ostens performances for young audiences exhibit and make possible notions of a child outside of the norm in late 20th and early 21st century childhood discourses both within research and society as a whole. Osten’s theatre and artistry are identified as growing sideways, developing in unexpected directions while disrupting ideas about childhood and adulthood, and also what can be viewed as theatre for children and theatre for adults. The dissertation states that Osten’s theatre for young audiences can be seen as pioneering, not only in the field of children’s theatre, but also for the development and renewal of Swedish theatre in general.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för kultur och estetik, Stockholms universitet , 2018. , p. 320
Keywords [en]
Theatre, Children’s theatre, Theatre for children and young people, Performing arts for young people, Suzanne Osten, Performance analysis, Utopia in Performance
Keywords [sv]
Suzanne Osten, teater för barn, teater för unga, barnteater, föreställningsanalys, uppsättningsanalys
National Category
Performing Art Studies
Research subject
Theatre Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159947ISBN: 978-91-7797-406-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-407-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-159947DiVA, id: diva2:1247386
Public defence
2018-10-27, Auditoriet, Manne Siegbahnhusen, Frescativägen 24 E, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-10-03 Created: 2018-09-12 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved

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