Thursday, March 15, 2012

Disney as National Theater

One of the original ideas that I wanted to explore with this blog was the idea of Disney theme parks as a kind of national American theater.  I haven't spent much time discussing that here (there's just so many photos of trash cans to post!) but it's definitely been in the back of my mind particularly as I explore what it means to be nationalistic theater and the origins of self-appointed national theaters.  Disney has never to my knowledge claimed that title.  I can only imagine what the response would be if they did. 

"Shouldn't a national theater do intellectual work like the Royal Shakespeare Company or the National Theatre of England?"

"Wait, Disney World or Disney Theatrical's productions?"

"They're so corporate."

"Shouldn't a state theater be funded by the government?"

"But Disney doesn't even do theater!"

"Disney isn't art!"

There are so many things to consider and explore when looking at this topic. 

Is Disney theater? Well certainly parts of the Disney theme parks include theatrical experiences.  Disney's own corporate lingo calls its employees cast members and its staff areas backstage. 

Does Disney make art? I'd argue yes, though not all of it is good by any means. 

Is Disney a national theater of a sort?  Well that's what I hope to explore as I study more about theories of national culture and look at examples of national theaters both state sponsored and not.

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