At the TaPRA (THEATRE AND PERFORMANCE RESEARCH ASSOCIATION) annual conference. September 5th – 7th 2016, University of Bristol, U.K.



Cathy O’Carroll presented a paper ‘Local identity & national brand: contesting ‘amateur’ identity through scenography’ at the annual conference of this internationally respected research association where I’m a member of the Scenography working group.. TaPRA exists in order to facilitate research through and into theatre and performance.

This paper interrogates the interrelation of scenography and local/national identity within hyper consumerist constructions of culture that seek to instrumentalise the arts in the service of economic goals as part of a national ‘brand’. Current funding policy tends to conflate ‘art’ as public sphere with economic and ameliorative concerns, conceiving identity in terms of design and management. Disinterested spectatorship and performance practices conceived in terms of excellence, innovation and ambition are valorised within this milieu and local subjective interest is disenfranchised and relegated as ‘amateur’.