Backstage in the theatre


Judith Tanner, School of Healthcare Studies, Baines Wing, University of Leeds, PO Box 214, Leeds, LS2 9UT, England. E-mail:


Backstage in the theatre

Observations undertaken in the operating theatre suggested that the social environment, and certain forms of staff behaviour could be explained using the space analysis developed by Erving Goffman (1969) in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. In the study reported in this paper the theatre department was found to be a strongly ‘backstage’ area. However, it was also found that there were limits to this analysis, and these are explained within this article. Some practical suggestions as to how this analysis might be helpful in the management of health care institutions and the education of health care professionals are made.