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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
dramaturgy, dramaturg, devised theatre, Beyond the Horizon, theatre, artistic instigator
Dramaturgs have been struggling to define themselves and assert their raison d'être in the American theatre for the past four decades. In an evolving theatrical landscape that includes expanding new play development processes and new modes of collaborative interdisciplinary theatre-making, the role of the dramaturg must be reexamined in order for it to stake a new artistic claim in the field. Devised theatre-making processes rely on dramaturgical practice as an integral part of generating, editing, and structuring performance material and offer a fertile artistic avenue for dramaturgs to utilize their skills. To explore the role of the dramaturg in devised theatre, I chose to curate a festival of three new devised works entitled Beyond the Horizon. This thesis describes in detail my role as curator in the planning, creation, and execution of the festival, as well as my role as a dramaturg within the devising process of one of the three works. To encompass both the idea of the dramaturg as an active co-creator of performance and an empowered facilitator of change, I proposed a new title for the role: artistic instigator. Drawn from my conclusions and discoveries while working on the Beyond the Horizon festival, I have formed a description about how the dramaturg-as-artistic-instigator might function within devising ensembles, propose changes to current new play development practices, and advocate for expanded methods of play-making.