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Title: An actor manages: Actor training and managerial ideology
Authors: Chow, BDV
Keywords: Theatre;Political theory;Body;Performance studies
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Citation: Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 5 (2): pp. 131 - 143, (2014)
Abstract: This article reads the development of psychologically based actor training against larger changes in the organisation of work in North America and Europe in the twentieth century. Konstantin Stanislavky's System and later adaptations including the American Method are wrapped into a larger ideology of individual self-management and discipline – mental, physical, and emotional – that accompanies the emergent managerial class of the post-war era. An actor is an ideal manager, and therefore prefigures only a few decades later the ideal freelance worker in the post-Fordist era of creative, immaterial, flexible, and precarious labour. The article maps the contours of a citational network between actor training and business management, focusing on the production, maintenance, and instrumentalisation of emotion, empathy, and social relations by waged labour. This ‘alternative’ historical reading of actor training allows us to question and perhaps challenge discourses of ‘transferable skills’ and ‘employability’ in higher education drama and theatre departments. When do the positive qualities of a career in theatre or performance such as creativity and autonomy become the same qualities required by those who can survive the insecurities, uncertainties and overall precarity of the ‘new’ flexible labour market?
ISSN: 1944-3927
Appears in Collections:Dept of Arts and Humanities Research Papers

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