Theatre, justice and punishment: a study of theatre's role in the evolving narrative of criminal justice

Hepplewhite, Jack (2016) Theatre, justice and punishment: a study of theatre's role in the evolving narrative of criminal justice. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation examines the role of theatre in relation to justice and punishment. In a climate of major prison reform in contemporary Britain, this study aims to validate theatre as an effective platform for debate on issues surrounding criminal justice. It explores the close relationship that theatre and performance holds with all institutions of the legal system.
    Chapter 1 is a study of the historical and contemporary relevance of the discourse on governance in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. The writings of poststructuralist philosopher Michel Foucault assist in explaining how the narrative of the play demonstrates the maintenance of state power.
    Chapter 2 examines the connections between theatre, justice and punishment through anthropologist Victor Turner's theory of the social drama, and Foucault's historical analysis of the birth of the prison, to develop an understanding of the evolving narrative of the performance of justice.
    Chapter 3 looks into John Galsworthy's historical influence on penal reform, explores the circumstances surrounding his successful campaign against solitary confinement, and explains how and why theatre played an important role.
    The findings of this dissertation indicate that theatre is a valuable tool for reform. As a form of culture, theatre can both support and challenge existing models, but the close link it holds with the performative institutions of justice urges contemporary dramatists to act upon its radical potential.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2016 17:03
    Last Modified: 11 Nov 2016 17:03

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