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Review Article

Queering Time, Ageing and Relationships with Split Britches

orcid-imageJen Harvieemail-imageJen Harvie

Jen Harvie is Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. Her research explores how theatre and performance artists make their work, and the cultural politics of contemporary performance, especially in the context of neoliberalism, focusing particularly on urban inequalities, gender, sexuality and age. Her publications include: The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver; Fair Play – Art, Performance and Neoliberalism; and The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre since 1945 (forthcoming 2023). She is writing a monograph on feminist performance in the UK, co-edits the book series ‘Theatre &’, and releases open access interviews with performance makers on her podcast Stage Left (soundcloud.com/stage_left).

email-image j.harvie@qmul.ac.uk

Abstract

This article begins by outlining some dominant narratives that produce ageism by socially constructing older age as a time of linear decline, social dependency, social isolation and intergenerational conflict. It then concentrates on recent work by elder lesbian feminist performance company Split Britches: Ruff (2012), Unexploded Ordnances (2018), What Tammy Needs to Know about Getting Old and Having Sex (2013) and Last Gasp (2020–1). It explores the alternative narratives of older age – or elder life – that Split Britches propose, as a time of futurity, desire, unexplored potential and intergenerational as well as intra-generational relationality. It also explores how Split Britches responds to chrononormative practices – which make socially produced understandings of time appear natural – by queering them. The article argues that Split Britches model socially progressive visions of elder life and relationships, both across generations and within their own, by queering dominant expectations and practices of relationships and time – including ageing.

Keywords

Split Britchesageismolder agefuturitydesirerelationalityintergenerationalintragenerationalchrononormativequeer
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Published on: 10 August 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: Supplementary issue 2
Article ID: 117
Pages:117 - 146
Copyright statement
© The author(s) 2023.
Cite this article
Harvie (2023), ' Queering Time, Ageing and Relationships with Split Britches ', Journal of the British Academy, 11(Supplementary issue 2): 117 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s2.117

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Queering Time, Ageing and Relationships with Split Britches

orcid-imageJen Harvieemail-imageJen Harvie

Jen Harvie is Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. Her research explores how theatre and performance artists make their work, and the cultural politics of contemporary performance, especially in the context of neoliberalism, focusing particularly on urban inequalities, gender, sexuality and age. Her publications include: The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver; Fair Play – Art, Performance and Neoliberalism; and The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre since 1945 (forthcoming 2023). She is writing a monograph on feminist performance in the UK, co-edits the book series ‘Theatre &’, and releases open access interviews with performance makers on her podcast Stage Left (soundcloud.com/stage_left).

email-image j.harvie@qmul.ac.uk