Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Janet Land

Second Advisor

Shea Stuart

Abstract

This thesis considers the development of a unique form of theatre - feminine resistance theatre. Through the process, this work will consider the true nature and power of theatre as an artform, the placement of the problematized female voice within society, literature, and theatre, and how the theatrical form can create a unique catalyst for the female voice to be considered and implemented. In order to fully comprehend the nature of this exploration, this thesis discusses the placement and relevancy of the foundation eighteenth century theatre provides, by examining four of the women who fought for the validity of the female playwright as a relevant public figure-Susanna Centlivre, Eliza Haywood, Frances Sheridan, and Hannah Cowley. Following biographical overviews and textual analysis of the work of these authors, the study explores the importance of resistance in art, the relationship between gender and genre in these texts, and what it would mean to have a specifically feminine discourse in theatre. The study then looks to a modern example of another group of "other" voices, the Jamaican women of Sistren and their contribution to the feminine theatrical canon. The voices presented in this study all speak from points oflocation that are as varied and diverse as the women themselves, which points to the development of the unique nature of feminine resistance theatre.

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