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Shakespeare's Wardrobe: Ghosting at the Globe

Masters Degree Dissertation, 2019

When the new Globe theatre opened in 1997 as a reproduction of the original Globe theatre, it aimed to perform at least one 'original practice' production per season. The ‘original practice’ productions used extensive research in an attempt to recreate, as closely as possible, what the productions would have looked like and how they would have been performed in the time of Shakespeare and the original Globe theatre. The dissertation predominantly focuses on the costumes of the ‘original practice’ and uses them as a lens with which to investigate the role knowledge and research played in the ‘original practice’ project and how it was used to situate the Globe in a discourse of authenticity and original practice. The dissertation uses Marvin Carlson’s theory of theatrical ghosting as the theoretical framework and assesses what role haunting played in the ‘original practice’ project at the Globe. This dissertation investigates how the Globe positioned itself through costume as an inheritor of Shakespearean knowledge. It also addresses the claims to authenticity that the Globe has and how it contributed to its positioning as an entertainment and research venue, as well as discussing the Globe’s strategies for survival in conducting the ‘original practice’ project. Furthermore, the dissertation examines the strategies that the Globe employed in order to ensure audiences saw a lineage to Shakespeare. The research is rooted in the investigation and object analysis of the material remains of both the Elizabethan performances and those of the ‘original practice’ productions, as well as the use of scholarly articles and books, recorded interviews and newspaper articles from the period of the ‘original practice’ project.

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