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Autoscenography: The intersection of a scenographer’s story with her practice

Henry, Susannah (2022). Autoscenography: The intersection of a scenographer’s story with her practice. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Guildhall School of Music and Drama)


This practice research project introduces the neologism autoscenography, to identify the place where the lived experience of the scenographer intersects with their practice. Drawing on theories of feminist building, place orientation, and calls for greater agency in the field of ‘expanded’ scenography, autoscenography is proposed as a nourishing, fruitful parallel practice to the prevailing ways one might do the work of scenography. The practice is contextualised by a broad spectrum of references, congruent with a feminist approach to research methodology. The thesis details four practical autoscenographic projects, foregrounding the originating scenographer’s focus on performance space and evidencing different dimensions of the practice. A walking project explores the embodied, felt experience of being a scenographer with landscape. A second project re-stages family photographs, drawing on the family history of the scenographer and making her a part of the picture. Project 3 sees a feminist strategy of ‘breaking-up’ with theatre design enacted through the writing of a ‘Dear John’ letter. A final project explores the time-space potential of autoscenography and the role of the personal in research, through the scattering of a bespoke bookmark in borrowed or second-hand books. Autoscenography emerges as a space to consider the subjectivity of the scenographer in relation to their practice, and points to a range of possible directions for this work from self-reflection, through critical appraisal of the scenographer’s working environments towards new directions for - or an alternative to - professional practice.

The original PhD thesis was submitted as a website, which can be found at The documents available here are pdf copies of the webpages that make up the website, as well as some additional material linked to from the website.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Departments: Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Henry thesis 2023 PDF-A.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
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[thumbnail of Autoscenography, She Wrote] Video (Autoscenography, She Wrote) - Accepted Version
Download (531MB)
[thumbnail of Bookmarks] Video (Bookmarks) - Accepted Version
Download (367MB)
[thumbnail of HK Family Album] Video (HK Family Album) - Accepted Version
Download (890MB)
[thumbnail of Practice Review Part 1]
Text (Practice Review Part 1) - Accepted Version
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[thumbnail of Practice Review Part 2]
Text (Practice Review Part 2) - Accepted Version
Download (26MB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Practice Review Part 3]
Text (Practice Review Part 3) - Accepted Version
Download (9MB) | Preview


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