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Introduction: Performing the Neo-Victorian

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Publication details

JournalNeo-Victorian Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Nov 2016
DatePublished (current) - 23 Dec 2016
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)1-11
Original languageEnglish


2016 special issue of Neo-Victorian Studies:

This special issue will explore the ways in which modern cultures have re-worked the Victorian past through performance. As Marvin Carlson has famously suggested, theatre is a haunted practice, summoning up ghosts of past productions, styles and performances, which are often inherited from the Victorian age. Present-day live representations of the Victorians inevitably mix elements of the ‘old theatre’ – nineteenth-century auditoria, costume and
spectacle – with ‘new performance’, such as projections, recorded sound, and different configurations of performance space, actor-audience relations, performance styles and scripting or devising practices. This special issue seeks to examine such haunted interactions between old and new performance both in the theatre and beyond the stage. The guest editors invite contributions from those working across a range of arts disciplines, both scholars and practitioners, who can elaborate and analyse the ways in which the Victorians have been performed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While fiction and film have enjoyed scholarly attention in the field of neo-Victorian Studies drama, theatrical entertainments, music, dance, visual and audio cultures are all areas which have been relatively neglected. This special issue seeks to extend the existing neo-Victorian canon and firmly place performance as a practice heavily invested in the afterlives of Victorian culture. Topics might include but are not limited to:

 Theorising neo-Victorian performance

 Adapting (neo-)Victorian texts for performance

 Understanding nostalgic performance, re-enactment, commemoration and

 Satirising the Victorians and investigating comic performances

 Neo-Victorian theatre and drama

 Neo-Victorian dance and music

 Neo-Victorian audio and visual cultures

 Performing the (neo-)Victorian in the digital world

 Probing the inceptions of neo-Victorian drama as far back as Patrick Hamilton’s Gaslight (1938) or Virginia Woolf’s Freshwater (1935), or earlier

 Translating and adapting neo-Victorian performances for new cultural settings

Please address enquiries and expressions of interest to the guest editors Beth Palmer at and Benjamin Poore at Completed articles and/or creative pieces, along with a short biographical note, will be due by 15 July 2015 and should be sent via email to both guest editors, with a copy to Please consult the NVS website (‘Submission
Guidelines’) for further guidance.

Bibliographical note

© 2016, The Author(s).


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