I have always felt personally challenged and invigorated by one line in Peter Brook's canonical text The Empty Stage: “if the need for a true contact with a sacred invisibility through the theatre still exists, then all possible vehicles must be re-examined" (Brook 54). This thesis will endeavour to suggest and explore heavenly theatre, one possible vehicle to find that sacred invisibility. I will argue that heavenly theatre encompasses Peter Brook's understanding of holy theatre, but is more specific and tied to the manifestation of deity in the form of the Holy Spirit as understood and defined within my personal religious beliefs in LDS theology (of or belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The blue print, foundation, or first consideration in creating this heavenly theatre is narrative, and I will show that practitioners searching for the sacred or holy in theatre have largely neglected discussing narrative as a core element of their endeavours. Specifically, I will examine pilgrimage narrative, a potential blue print for heavenly theatre, but one which is not prescriptive. I will engage with pilgrimage through the seminal writings on Christian pilgrimage by the anthropologist Victor Turner and his wife Edith Turner, and go on to explore how the pilgrimage narrative is deeply embedded in King Lear. I will then conclude that this pilgrimage narrative parallels in many respects the journey of Jesus Christ, and how this parallel lends itself to the creation of heavenly theatre. When interviewed, the Canadian director Robert LePage once said he believed the purpose of theatre was to put us, “in contact with the gods" (Delgado 143). I agree with him, and this thesis represents the very beginnings of my personal journey, or pilgrimage as it were, to understand a little more as to how that may be possible.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts



Date Submitted


Document Type





King Lear, pilgrimage, heavenly or holy theatre