chapter  7
19 Pages

'A oes heddwch?' Contesting meanings and identities in the Welsh National Eisteddfod

This rather arbitrary separation of ritual and public spectacle, and the linking of the latter with theatre, may be due in part to the relative paucity of studies of both theatre and spectacle which concentrate on 'performance per se: its structure, its cultural meaning apart from other institutions, the conditions under which it occurs, and its place within broad patterns of community life' (Beeman 1993: 370). This chapter explores the nature of spectacle by examining the performances which constitute the Welsh National Eisteddfod with particular reference to the two dimensions noted above: the role of spectacle in formulating, maintaining and projecting collective identity; and the importance of the nature and participation of the audience in this process.