Marketing a foreign classic to British audiences
This exhibition ran from Friday 24 January to Monday 5 May 2014
Chekhov is probably the most widely staged foreign dramatist in other cultures after Shakespeare. The British have a rich tradition of Chekhov performance from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.
Exploring the theatre programmes, flyers and posters relating to Chekhov productions which can be found in the historic collections at The University of Nottingham, gives deep insight into British domestication of this foreign classic. These materials begin to explain why this translated playwright seems so close to the British psyche and theatre-going public. The images used here are examples of British marketing for Chekhov plays.
Examining theatre ephemera shows how much the programme, in particular, has changed its function from being simple production information to providing cultural and historical contexts. It also shows how the marketing of Chekhov has responded to the changing perceptions of Russia in the theatre-going world and so, arguably, in society itself.
This exhibition was jointly curated by Cynthia Marsh (Emeritus Professor of Russian Drama and Literature) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.
A series of talks and events were held to accompany the exhibition.
Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive, Nottingham Playhouse, draws on her extensive experience of theatre management to illustrate the process of marketing famous plays, such as those by Chekhov.
Rose Whyman is currently Head of Drama at the University of Birmingham. Her research and teaching interests are in Russian theatre and actor training. She visits Moscow to do research and to take part in arts projects regularly. Dr Whyman will discuss how Chekhov's plays are perceived in the much-changed Russia of our times.
Rosamund Bartlett is a biographer and translator of Chekhov, Visiting Professor, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, and Founding Director of The Anton Chekhov Foundation. On the basis of her research expertise and knowledge of the plays she illustrates British affinity to Chekhov.
A performance-lecture presented by Cynthia Marsh with Theatre Matters. Questions are posed about British perceptions of Chekhov and his Russia, and answers are sought by exploring the plays themselves in performance.
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