The Copla Musical: An Intercultural Exploration of Spanish Musical Form

Postigo Gomez, Alejandro (2019) The Copla Musical: An Intercultural Exploration of Spanish Musical Form. Doctoral thesis, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.


This Practice-as-Research thesis, The Copla Musical, explores an intercultural adaptation of the 20th-century Spanish folkloric song-form of copla. Enjoying great
popularity during the mid-20th century, copla’s influence waned in the latter years of the Franco regime. It remains, however, a strong marker of Spanish cultural identity through nostalgic musical preservation. This project investigates copla’s roots as a storytelling form, its position as a folkloric genre and its role as a subversive tool in the
Spanish 20th-century zeitgeist. It asks new questions of copla, by documenting and analysing the process of sharing my experience of this musical form with audiences
outside Spain, testing the findings in an iterative context. Merging copla with elements found in Anglo-American musical theatre structures such as book musicals, revues and jukebox shows, The Copla Musical shows the ways in which this cultural form can be appropriated within an alternative theatrical and socio-political context. The numerous performances documented and commented on in the thesis allow for a discussion of divergent forms of musical theatre, audience engagement and cultural difference. Chapter 1 (Positioning copla) presents a history of musical theatre in Spain, framing copla in relation to Anglophone developments of musical theatre. Chapter 2
(Adapting copla) analyses the theoretical framework to my practice: translation, intercultural and queer theories, and their influence on the practical elements of the
thesis. Chapter 3 (Making copla) explores resonances of the practice in its various presentations. The thesis is accompanied by a series of appendices and a website
which documents the evolution and iterations of the practice ( In its totality, the project demonstrates the possibilities for
copla to be appropriated as a musical form that can travel beyond its Spanish roots.


Submitted Version - PDF (Gomez AP Thesis - Electronic copy.pdf)
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