The Global and Local Appeal of Kneehigh Theatre Company: Brand Kneehigh
This book explores Kneehigh Theatre Company’s notions of “Brand Kneehigh”, discussing how their theatrical style enjoyed local and global appeal, in relation to theories of globalisation, localisation and cultural exchange. It defines Kneehigh’s theatrical brand, indicating Cornish cultural identity as a core component in conjunction with international influences. By looking at the history of this company, the book’s analysis of key productions reflects on qualities attributed to “Brand Kneehigh” and considers the ‘local’ and ‘global’ nature of their work.
The selection and review of productions examined here reveals the changes and reinventions Kneehigh have undergone to incorporate shifting interests and socioeconomic engagements. This book explores Kneehigh’s ambitions to establish themselves as a company delivering material that is ‘popular’ in appeal, meeting the needs of a Cornish (local) community and an international (global) audience. However, tensions working between local and global interests are also exposed, with an investigation into Kneehigh’s own cited solution: their self-created performance space, the Asylum.
Dr Catherine Trenchfield obtained her PhD at Royal Holloway University, UK, researching Kneehigh Theatre Company. In addition to being an Early Careers Researcher, she is a Team Leader/Higher Education Lead in Creative Industries within the University Centre at Kingston College (part of the South Thames Colleges Group), as well as Course Leader of the BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Media and Associate Lecturer in Performing Arts at the University of West London. Additionally, she is a Senior Fellow with the Higher Education Academy, UK, and received her MA in Theatre and Performance Studies from Rose Bruford College, UK.
“This book discusses, across nine chapters, the Kneehigh company (hereafter Kh.), its ethos, and style of theatre within a selective framework that Catherine Trenchfield sets out. There are a number of case studies that become primarily illustrations of the company’s work within that framework. […] As an introduction and examination of Kneehigh’s work, the book gives a comprehensive overview from the acknowledged themes of ‘brand’, ‘local’, and ‘global’, and how these create their claimed USP. The broad characteristics that Catherine claims for Kh. are set out in the context of these themes, funding policies, comparable theatre companies, and the company history over forty-plus years.”
Dr John Keefe
Senior Lecturer, London Metropolitan University
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