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Michel Saint-Denis and the Shaping of the Modern Actor


Michel Saint-Denis and the Shaping of the Modern Actor Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In a career that spanned more then four decades and four countries, Michel Saint-Denis-actor, director, teacher, and theorist-was a major force in twentieth-century theatre. Baldwin chronicles his life and career, which was characterized by frequent beginnings, triumphs, and disasters. Although the times, the artistic currents, and the places changed, Saint-Denis's ambition remained consistent: to create a permanent company dedicated to theatrical experiment coupled with school. While this aspiration was never fully realized, the result of his failure was to have a more lasting effect on the theatre. Always on the move, he implanted his theatre practice internationally through the creation of innovative drama schools and his own teaching. In this long-overdue assessment, Saint-Denis's contribution to the stage is brought to light in vivid detail.

Making the case that the Saint-Denis's innovations, ideas, and vision are present in current theatrical practice, Baldwin resurrects this important figure and examines a life and career that had almost been forgotten. Thirty-five years after his death, the author contends his influence can still be seen in the drama schools he created-the London Theatre Studio, the Old Vic School, the Ecole Superieure d'Art Dramatique, the National Theatre School of Canada, the Juilliard Drama Division-and in the spirit behind much that was accomplished at England's National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, and Royal Court. This consideration casts new light on this important figure and reveals the extent of his role in the shaping of modern theatre and dramatic arts.

Book News Annotation:

Baldwin (a theater historian at Boston Conservatory) presents a study of director Michel Saint-Denis (1897-1971) whose productions of Oedipus, ce/>, and Stravinsky's oratorio Oedipus Rex, set high standards. As a director, Saint-Denis was involved in every aspect of theatrical presentation, including architecture, design and performance. As an educator, he founded five major theatre schools. Despite his influence, Saint-Denis remains unrecognized except by a few former colleagues and students, and by scholars of 20th-century British theater.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


The first comprehensive study of Michel Saint-Denis from a cultural and historical perspective.

About the Author

JANE BALDWIN, a theatre historian, is a member of the Boston Conservatory faculty, where she teaches Acting, Dramatic Literature, and Humanities. She has written on acting techniques, training, and productions, and her articles have appeared in several journals including Theatre History Studies and Theatre Topics.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword by D. G. Beer, Simon Williams, and Christopher Innes



(Re)claiming Michel Saint-Denis's Place in the Theatre

A Call to the Theatre

Burgundy: Working with Actors

The Compagnie des Quinze and the Emergence of Michel Saint-Denis the Director

Linking Theatrical Cultures: The London Theatre Studio

Chekhov,the Rediscovery of Realism: Saint-Denis's Productions of Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard

Michel Saint-Denis/Jacques Duchesne at the BBC

Saint-Denis's Oedipus

Triumph and Disaster: The Old Vic Theatre Centre

Strasbourg and the Centre de l'Est

Extending the Influence: The Juilliard Drama Division


Appendix: Actor Training

Select Bibliography


Product Details

Baldwin, Jane
Westport, Conn.
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Theater - History & Criticism
Saint-Denis, Michel
Criticism and interpretation
Drama -- History and criticism.
Contributions in Drama and Theatre Studies: Lives of the Theatre
Series Volume:
no. 27
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
9.56x6.26x.89 in. 1.13 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Drama » History and Criticism
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Michel Saint-Denis and the Shaping of the Modern Actor New Hardcover
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Product details 240 pages Praeger Publishers - English 9780313305665 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The first comprehensive study of Michel Saint-Denis from a cultural and historical perspective.
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