Theatre, Drama & Cinema

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The Open Space

Theatre as Opportunity for Living

Roger Grainger is the author of a number of books, including The Language of the Rite (Darton, Longman and Todd); The Message of the Rite (Lutterworth); and The Drama of the Rite (published by SAP in 2008), the final book in the trilogy. He has also written about therapeutic theatre, group spirituality, and bereavement; and combines parish work with his practice as a Chartered Counselling Psychologist. His latest book is Nine Ways the Theatre Affects Our Lives.

This book looks at the way theatre works in order to make ‘for living’. It provides the means to help one feel more deeply, think more clearly, relate more personally, by giving audiences and actors the opportunity to rehearse their roles within a setting which is imagined, but to make use of feelings and thoughts which are real. The Open Space: Theatre as Opportunity for Living extends the territory explored by Peter Brook in The Empty Space. It adds a new psychological dimension: recognizing that not only do we ourselves make space for theatre, but it is also true that theatre makes space for us – a ‘space for living’.

Roger Grainger looks in turn at the different kinds of space theatre creates, using written sources and the spoken testimony of actors and members of the audience. The author’s own discoveries as a professional actor give passion and immediacy to the acting/audience participation opportunities these insights provide. Based on genuine experience of, and love for, the theatre, this book does not present plays solely as literature but as particular kinds of theatrical experience. In so doing the author breaks new ground in theatre studies and provides actors and audience with tools that promote ‘hands-on’ knowledge and experience of the human value of drama and theatre.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-668-4
Paperback Price: £16.95 / $24.95
Release Date: August 2014
Page Extent / Format: 140 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


1  Theatre Space
2  Play-Space
3  Angry Space
4  Remembered Space
5  Occupied Space
6  Private Space
7  Functional Space
8  Space to Manoeuvre
9  Space as Depth
10  Space for Change
11  The Open Space
12  Space to be Human


Robert Grainger, author of a half dozen or so books about theatre, here makes observations about its basic nature. In particular, Grainger thinks about how theatre space operates. He points out in various ways that life invites us to make theatre and that theatre opens us up to life. He talks about the “angry space,” that is, the function of a play being to involve and even, especially, to push audience emotions beyond the usual. Grainger also explains theatre’s capacity to create significant memories. Again, it is the emotional impact of a play that stays with a spectator as a memory. He explores the interplay among the realities of an actor’s roles in life and in the theatre, and of a spectator’s perceptions of a play compared to his sense of his own life. A thread on dramatherapy winds through the book. Chapters are titled “Theatre Space,” “Play-Space,” “Angry Space,” Remembered Space,” Occupied Space,” “Private Space,” Functional Space,” “Space to Manoeuvre,” Space as Depth,” “Space for Change,” “The Open Space,” and “Space to be Human.”

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