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The Capitalist Actor

Research project
Inactive research
Project owner
Academy of Music and Drama

Short description

Dissertation by Ulf Friberg, 2014.
The dissertation revolves around an actor’s craft as a changing craft. Theatre workers - like many other professions in Sweden – have experienced major changes in the labour market during a relatively short period of time.

In what way has capitalistic ideology changed society over the last 25 years, and in what way has this affected the actor’s craft, and what impact has been experienced? What strategies can the field of the theatre, in general, and the actors, in particular, use to create space for the development of the craft of acting in a new era?

The different parts of the dissertation attack the questions mentioned above from a number of different angles. References from other disciplines such as philosophy, the history of ideas and sociology, which are placed in dialogue with the theatre in this dissertation project, are all-important.

In the first part of the dissertation, the author positions the research and himself and also presents the methods used and the theories from other disciplines through which he discusses the issues to be addressed. The next section discusses leadership and organisation through the 1990’s until today. The economic crises that affected Sweden during this time not only produced fairly extensive changes for publicly funded theatres but also brought about a changing balance of power in theatres.

Theatrical craft is discussed in the next section, where the main questions addressed are: In what way do changes in power relations affect the actor’s craft? What is the actor’s craft and who is really portraying the role? Actors in fact need what the author would like to call “informal power” in relation to their craft; however, this informal space, the author argues, has been cut back.

The fourth act in this dissertation consists of the text of a play, which adopts a freer and more associative approach to the issues discussed, and, as part of the discussion, is staged in a publicly funded theatre in connection with the actual public defence of the dissertation. The Epilogue carries and drives issues towards a changing future – if this future exists.