• Tom Cornford deposited Beyond Realism: Into the Studio on Humanities Commons 2 years, 8 months ago

    In his epilogue to this special issue’s collection of essays on early modern drama and realism, Tom Cornford returns to Stanislavsky’s studio and to the practices which gave rise to his “System.” This approach is often cited as the means by which realism came to dominate the aesthetics of theater-making in the last hundred years, and yet, as Cornford shows, it was also an attempt to go beyond realism and was inspired as much by the challenges of staging Shakespeare as it was by any other form of drama. Stanislavsky’s studio practice was widely influential and this article focuses, in particular, on Harley Granville Barker’s ideal of an “exemplary theatre” (described in his 1922 book of that title). This was intended as a theatre “founded upon corporate study by the actors,” a model which is employed by Barker to redescribe Shakespeare’s work as well as to inspire innovations in future practice. Turning to the present day, Cornford uses Barker’s ideal to evaluate some current developments in studio-based theater-making before setting out his vision of a Shakespearean studio for the future.