A "proper job" : acting as vocation and work in theological perspective with particular reference to Dorothy L Sayers
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In this dissertation, I will be looking at the actor as a craftsperson and artist from both a secular and a theological standpoint in order to determine if the labour of acting can be considered both as work, a “proper job”; and as a calling from God, a vocation. The main questions prompting and shaping this dissertation have arisen out of my own personal experience as an actor struggling both in the performing arts business and with my Christian faith. So, the opening chapter will introduce a personal background approach to the dissertation. It will summarize the experiences that brought me to the place of asking these two questions. It will also serve as an introduction to the life of Dorothy L. Sayers, outlining her own life and demonstrating why she is important to our work as actors. Chapter Two will then cover historical data on Anti-Theatrical Prejudice, laying the foundation for the ongoing discomfort with and misunderstanding regarding the actor’s craft. Chapters Three and Four will examine separately our notions of work (Three) and then of vocation (Four) in order to gain a broader view of these two terms. At this point, we will have laid the path to reintroduce Dorothy L. Sayers in Chapters Five, Six and Seven, both as a partner in conversation and as one who held this broader understanding of the terms work and vocation and applied them to creative activities, in particular acting. The final chapter will look at acting as connected to the basic features of life. It, among other things, will revisit some of the anti-theatre argument; pick up on ideas such as the imagination’s ability to rehearse life; and will examine some uses of acting as a means of human exploration and social change. Finally, we will explore the artistry, technique, and craft of the actor, to firmly establish the place of acting in society as an important task, a “proper job,” and a Christian vocation.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2020-04-15
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 15th April 2020, pending formal approval
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