Performance, Madness and Psychiatry Isolated Acts

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-09-02
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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This exciting collection of interdisciplinary essays explores the complex area of madness and performance. The book spans from the 18th century to the present and unearths the overlooked history of theatre and performance in, and about, psychiatric asylums and hospitals. Performance, Madness and Psychiatry will appeal to historians, social scientists, theatre scholars, and artists alike. It features interviews, archival research, and academic analysis of this rich and diverse area of theatrical and psychiatric history. The book departs from a set of questions regarding the role and nature of theatre both within asylums and hospitals as well as beyond these spaces. The authors pause over questions of environment, architecture, politics, language, performance and power and try to illuminate the interrelations between madness and theatre in a number of periods and health contexts. This eclectic volume attempts to examine some varied voices that collectively challenge the dominant orthodoxies of psychiatry. In this sense the book argues that madness matters.

Author Biography

Anna Harpin is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, UK. Her research examines post-war theatre and film with particular interests in madness, trauma, and questions of representation. She is currently writing a monograph entitled Disordered: Madness and Cultural Representation. Anna is a fellow of the Institute for Mental Health.

Juliet Foster is a Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and Fellow and Senior Tutor of Murray Edwards College. Her research interests include social psychological approaches to mental health and illness, especially issues relating to the development of different forms of understanding. Her previous book, Journeys Through Mental Illness: Clients' Experiences and Understandings of Mental Distress was published by Palgrave in 2007.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Locating Madness and Performance; Anna Harpin and Juliet Foster
1. Smart's Authority and the Eighteenth-Century Mad-Business; Richard Stern
2. Performance in Bethlem, Fulbourn and Brookwood Hospitals: A Social Psychological and Social Historical Examination; Juliet Foster 
3. A Life of Their Own: Reflections on Autonomy and Ethics in Research-Based Theatre; Susan M. Cox
4. Whose Mind is it Anyway: Acting and Mental Illness; Sarah Rudolph
5. Start Making Sense; Dylan Tighe
6. 'No one ever listens': Body, Space, and History in RedCape Theatre's The Idiot Colony; Rebecca Loukes
7. Ophelia Confined: Madness and Infantilisation in Some Versions of Hamlet; Bridget Escolme
8. Dislocated: Metaphors of Madness in Contemporary Theatre  Anna Harpin
Conclusion: Relocating Madness and Performance; Anna Harpin and Juliet Foster
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