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O'Rourke, Deirdre (2014) RESTORING BRITAIN: PERFORMANCES OF STUART SUCCESSION IN DUBLIN, EDINBURGH, AND LONDON. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Though much worthy scholarship exists about English Restoration theatre, few studies examine the intersections between theatrical activity in London and its British “sister” cities of Dublin and Edinburgh and the stakes of Stuart restoration and British union for all three kingdoms expressed through theatre and performance. This dissertation is a historiographical reconfiguration of the Restoration period that analyzes how theatre and performance in Dublin, Edinburgh, and London contributed to Charles II’s reestablishment of Stuart rule and British union. My project brings together new British history and performance studies to uncover the British theatrical and cultural performances that re-defined union during Charles II’s restoration.
I examine Stuart succession through three case-studies: beheadings, Shakespeare adaptations, and the actress. I analyze beheadings as performance events that map a history of Stuart succession through the triple beheadings of Charles I and his Irish and Scottish viceroys. Through their speeches on the scaffold, Charles I and his viceroys made themselves enduring symbols of Stuart monarchy. Charles II then reestablished execution as a royal power, executing and publicly displaying the corpses of the regicides. He highly regulated performances of execution in the theatre, however, especially plays that restaged royal executions from British history. I then examine the ways in which Shakespeare adaptations interrogated past and present British union through plays that betrayed the tensions between the three kingdoms. I consider adaptation a practice shared by Charles II and playwrights, both invested in restoring Britain’s cultural past. Through their adaptations, theatre artists created Shakespeare into an origin myth of the English theatre. Lastly, I argue that Charles II’s introduced the professional actress on the public stage as a surrogate of two past traditions of female performance, the boy actor and the female courtier, who served his agenda to provide his British subjects with public access to himself and his court. Charles II revived Britannia, the female personification of Britain, to capitalize on the popularity of public female performance and create public support and ownership over the reunited Britain.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
O'Rourke, Deirdre
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJackson-Schebetta, Lisalisajsch@pitt.eduLISAJSCH
Committee MemberFavorini, Attiliobucfav@pitt.eduBUCFAV
Committee MemberMcConachie, Brucebamcco@pitt.eduBAMCCO
Committee MemberWaldron, Jenniferjwaldron@pitt.eduJWALDRON
Date: 29 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 April 2014
Approval Date: 29 May 2014
Submission Date: 18 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 267
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Restoration theatre, Charles I, Charles II, new British history, Shakespeare, adaptation, Britannia
Date Deposited: 29 May 2014 22:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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