This article proposes a definition and terminology for identifying and analysing a concept of institutional persona in relation to theatre. The essay posits the theatre institution as an example of a ‘composite persona’, whereby cultural value is produced through the interplay between theatre as building, theatre as organisation, and theatre as event. Using the case-study of Bristol Old Vic, I examine how executives and practitioners involved in a specific historic theatre ensured its post-war survival in the 1940s by connecting the prestigious heritage of a local landmark with the national reputation of two London-based organisations. I suggest that theatre institutions offer a particularly rich investigative ground for the application of persona study theory in their need to mobilise individual and organisational personas for the purposes of reinventing a ‘good story’ and brand over time.


Live Performance; Audience; Cultural Value; The Archive; Reputation; Composite Persona

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