The project aims to address two specific aspects of Harold Pinter’s cultural activities: what performance aesthetics have been attached to his work over the course of his career [Histories] and what impact has his work had on the broader palette of British performance (stage and screen) history since the late 1950s [Legacies]. The construction of a comprehensive database of professional UK productions (and broadcasts and film releases) will be central to first mapping histories. Applying metadata to entries in the database will facilitate later research, including but not limited to the scrutiny of patterns across productions. In thinking of these patterns in terms of the ‘histories’ and ‘legacies’ of his work, we will detect, define and collect different narratives in both categories, and employ the following as research questions to interrogate them:

  • How has Pinter’s writing been approached, appropriated or interpreted by the creative artists involved in the different media in which this has been expressed?;
  • How have the products of those processes in themselves participated in an evolving British aesthetic attached to his work, and what role has that played in broader national and international understandings of British theatre and film?;
  • How has knowledge of past iterations of his work affected new iterations?;
  • How has his influence on other artists been mediated by productions of his work or by the construction of his celebrity?;
  • How has his being situated within or against perceived cultural moments or movements impacted on the (public and critical) reception and interpretation of his work?