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date: 16 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay considers three movements in twenty-first-century Shakespearean performance in light of Philip Auslander’s influential study Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (1999): (1) the live broadcasting of theatre productions; (2) the increasingly popular genre of immersive theatre as spectator sport; and (3) the body of practice emerging from, and centring on, the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. It considers the ways in which each of these movements constructs ‘liveness’, paying particular attention to the implications of these constructions for Shakespearean performance. The first movement is examined through the lens of the National Theatre Live broadcast of Nicholas Hytner’s Othello, whose ‘liveness’ involves an interplay of filmic and theatrical registers; the second, through a discussion of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More; and the third, through the modern practice of finding ‘liveness’ in game-like theatre techniques and in the responsiveness of the actor at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Keywords: Key terms, Philip Auslander, liveness, live broadcasts, immersive theatre, game-like techniques, National Theatre Live, Punchdrunk, reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe

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