Heritage, Capital and Culture: The Ghost of 'Sarah' at the Bristol Old Vic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This essay considers how history functions in the redevelopment of celebrated historic theatres. Taking as its detailed case study the 2011-2012 redevelopment of the Theatre Royal, Bristol (part of the Bristol Old Vic complex), it explores how narratives of past performers, spaces and performances represent critical fundraising and marketing strategies for the historic theatre in the modern theatre industry. Close analysis of how material and digital representations of the theatre's past have moulded and influenced its present discloses a complex and intriguing network of culture, capital, history and innovation at play in this twenty-first century producing house. From tickets that detail the past spaces that have occupied the place you now take, "you are sitting on the site of the original 1766 Jonson box", to the ghost stories told and retold during the development, the framing of discoveries made during the redevelopment and the presentation of the past in public tours of the redevelopment, this essay considers the ghostly presence of the theatrical past in the realm of popular history and how this reinforces and sustains the myth of theatre and the cultural capital of theatres and theatre buildings in their regional and national contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheatre and Ghosts: Materiality, Performance and Modernity
EditorsMary Luckhurst, Emilie Morin
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781137345066
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2014


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