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Professor Yvette Hutchison

Yvette HutchisonProfessor of Theatre and Performance

Tel: +44(0)24 765 74278

Room 1.42, FAB, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7HS


Yvette Hutchison taught at the Universities of Natal, Stellenbosch and the Western-Cape in South Africa in both English and Drama Departments from 1988–1997. She researched her D.Phil at the Institute for African Studies in Germany, with a DAAD scholarship in 1997–8, while registered in the Drama Department at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and received her doctorate in 1999. She lectured at Winchester University (1999–2006) on the BA Drama and Theatre in the Community and MA in Theatre & Media for Development.

Yvette joined the department at Warwick in April 2006 where she has continued to develop her research and teaching interests focussed on theatre in the African context, particularly South Africa, and intercultural theatre practices.

Funded projects:

2010-2013 - Leverhulme project, Performing Memory: Theatricalising identity in contemporary South Africa, culminated in South African Performance and Archives of Memory (Manchester University Press, 2013).

2015-17 AHRC network funding for AWPN - to develop virtual network connecting African women-identified creative practitioners with one another and other interested parties, including schools who want to widen curricula, through African Women Playwrights Network, cf. from 2018-2020, Warwick supported the project, and then we had private donor support. See opens in a new windowk/awpnLink opens in a new window, opens in a new window

2023-2024 - UKRI-AHRC Disability Inclusive Sustainable Global Development funded collaborative project, Encountering disability through contemporary dance in Africa, with Dr Lliane Loots (UKZN, SA), director of Flatfoot Dance Company, is tracing how integrated dance is being used to negotiate citizenship in various Africa countries. Her chapter, 'Unmuting citizenship – Engaging audiences with disavowed issues through physical theatre', in African Theatre 17: Contemporary Dance, which she and Nigerian scholar Chukwuma Okoye co-edited in 2018 (James Currey) was the starting for this work. See opens in a new window

Research interests

  • Memory and transitional justice
  • Post-colonial theatre/ contemporary South African Theatre
  • Theatre in the African context
  • Intercultural Theatre
  • African womanisms/ feminisms
  • Disability citizenship and integrated dance.

My primary research interest is African theatre and performance, and its relationship to history, myth, and memory, particularly with regard to hidden, or forgotten memories and contemporary identity construction in post-Apartheid South Africa. I currently working intersectionally to consider gender and disability citizenship.

I am an

* editor for African Theatre series (James Currey)
* assistant editor on South African Theatre Journal (Taylor & Francis)
* on the editorial board for Performing Ethos: An International Journal of Ethics in Theatre & Performance (Intellect) and  African Performance Review

Teaching and supervision

In first year I teach on introductory modules, introducing students to non-western, embodied performances forms, while emphasising the importance of socio-political, historic context in which a work is created, produced or experienced.

In second and third years I teach elective undergraduate courses including Theatre in the African Context (TH222) which introduces students to the diversity of theme and form of theatre in Africa in the post-colonial context; South African Theatre (TH234) which traces the development of South African theatre from the apartheid period to post-apartheid responses to the new democracy. Intercultural Performance Practices (TH320), which explores issues related to making or analysing contemporary intercultural performance practice.

PhD supervisions: I supervise in the areas of my research interest.

Recent PhD supervisions include:

  • Nesrin Alrefaai (2006-2009): An analytical study of Sadallah Wannous's contribution towards defining an Arabic theatre in the Twentieth Century. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
  • Awelani Moyo (March 2010–2013): Re-tracing invisible maps – landscape in and as performance in contemporary South Africa (Leverhulme Scholarship).
  • Alexi Marchel (Oct 2011–2017): Staging the Nation: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the War of 1812 Bicentennial (Chancellor's International Scholarship).
  • Luana Tavano Garcia (Oct 2014-2018): Brazil performing itself: popular music, performativity and national identity at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games (Chancellor's International Scholarship).

  • Claire French (Oct 2014 -2018): Shifting language through performance: towards multilingual methodologies. (Commonwealth Scholarship)
  • Co-tutelle Melissandre Varin (Uni Luxembourg, Oct 2017-2021): Excavation at the intersticies: Black Femme/ female/ womxn body performing layers of Otherness.
  • Co-supervising Sky Herrington (French, Oct 2018-2022): Théâtre pour l’humain: embodiment and performances of power in Sony Labou Tansi’s plays (CADRE Scholarship)
  • Co-supervising Lanalire Adermei (WWP,2022-2025): Egba Women's revolution - explored through creative forms ( (M4C Scholarship)
  • Emily Walsh (PT, Oct 2020 - ): International Development in East Africa: global and local understandings of disability and their impact on Arts practices.
  • Zhiling Guo (Oct 2023- 2027): Hearing Difference, a Gift to Applied Theatre

Administrative roles

  • Director of Research SCAPVC
  • 2022 Spring term - co-director of Graduate research
  • University Committees:

    Steering committee WCID and Africa Hub (UoW)

    AFRIC & Impact Funding Committee

    Warwick International Research T&F Group.

Selected publications

In public domain


2013. South African Performance and Archives of Memory, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.

Edited Books

2023. Gendering Taboos:10 Short Plays by African Women Playwrights, co-edited and introduced with ‘Tosin Kooshima Tume & Ekua Ekumah (Bloomsbury, Nov 2023).

2019. Contemporary Plays by African Women. Methuen/ Bloomsbury (Co-edited with Amy Jephta)

2018. African Theatre 17: Contemporary Dance. Woodbridge: James Currey/ Boydell & Brewer Inc. (Nov) (Co-edited with Chukwuma Okoye).

2015. African Theatre 14: Contemporary Women (co-editor with Jane Plastow and Christine Matzke). James Currey/ Boydell & Brewer Inc.

2010. African Theatre 9: Histories 1850 and 1950 (guest editor) 2010. James Currey/ Boydell & Brewer Inc.

2000. History and Theatre in Africa. Bayreuth African Studies 50/ South African Theatre Journal 13, co-edited with Eckhard Breitinger.

1995. Open Space: An introduction to African drama. Cape Town: Kagiso, co-edited with Kole Omotoso.

Chapters and Article

2022. ‘Challenges to Belgium’s Colonial Amnesia: Mobilising Archives and Resonant Spaces’, in Unfinished Histories: Empire and Postcolonial resonance in Central Africa and Belgium, Pierre-Philippe Fraiture (ed.) Leuven University Press, 121-141. OAPEN:

2021. 'Calling everything into question: Articulations of Black Women in post-1995 South African Commemoration’, Narratives, silences and embodied resistance: gendered remembering in post-1994 South African commemoration', in Gender, Transitional Justice and Memorial Arts: Global Perspectives on Commemoration and Mobilization. Boesten, Jelke & Helen Scanlon (eds.) Routledge, 97-114.

2020. African Indigeneity: The Southern African challenge, in Key Concepts in Indigenous Studies: Indigeneity and Nation. N. Devy (ed.) Routledge, 102-122, 2020. African Indigeneity: The Southern African challenge, in Key Concepts in Indigenous Studies: Indigeneity and Nation. N. Devy (ed.) Routledge, 102-122,

2020. Loots, L, Yvette Hutchison & Ongezwa Mbele. Voicing the Imaginative in Africa: three creatives speak. Agenda, special issue on “Cultural Dialogues for Feminist Creatives: Southern Voices”,

2019. Hutchison & Steve Ranford. Creating a network on and off-line, in and out of Africa: African Women Playwright Network, Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 24:4, 508-521, DOI: 10.1080/13569783.2019.1646122

2019. Into zones of occult instability: Negotiating colonial afterlives through intercultural performance, in Interculturalism and Performance Now: New Directions? (eds.) Charlotte McIvor and Jason King. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 153-179.

2019. Unmuting citizenship – Engaging audiences with disavowed issues through physical theatre, in African Theatre 17: Contemporary Dance, (eds.) Yvette Hutchison & Chukwuma Okoye. Woodbridge & New York: James Currey, 67-88.

2018. Aesthetics of South African women’s embodied activism: Staging complicity. CTR: Contemporary Feminist Theatre and Performance, 28:3, 355-366, 

2016. Embodied Practice that troubles fixed narratives of identity, history and memory, in Making Space for Creativity in Collaboration & Cultural Interventions: 25 Years of Magnet Theatre (eds.) Megan Lewis and Anton Krueger. Bristol, UK/ Chicago, USA: University of Chicago and Unisa, SA, 175-196.

2015. Contemporary Collaborators II: Magnet Theatre, in The Methuen Guide to South African Drama. Martin Middeke, Peter Paul Schnierer and Greg Homann (eds.) London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 59-75.

2015. Between word, image and movement: performative critiques of colonial ethnography, in Temoigner/ Testimony Quarterly - Special issue: Testimony Between History and Memory, No. 121, October, 15-26.

2013. Women Playwrights in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Yael Farber, Lara Foot-Newton, and the Call for Ubuntu, in Contemporary Women Women Playwrights into the Twenty-First Century, Lesley Ferris and Penny Farfan (eds.) Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 148-163.

2010. The “Dark Continent” goes North: an exploration of intercultural theatre practice through Handspring and Sogolon Puppet companies’ 'The Tall Horse'. Theatre Journal, 62, 57–73.

2010. Post-1990s Verbatim Theatre in South Africa: Exploring an African Concept of 'Truth’ in Dramaturgy of the Real on the World Stage, Martin, Carol (ed). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 61-71.

2009. Verbatim Theatre in South Africa: ‘Living theatre in a person’s performance’ , in Get Real: Documentary Theatre Past and Present, Alison Forsyth & Chris Megson (eds), Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 209-223.

2005. Truth or Bust: Consensualising a historic narrative or provoking through theatre – the place of the personal narrative in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Contemporary Theatre Review, 15:3, 34-362.

2005. Riding Osofisan’s Another Raft through the sea of Nigerian history: Theatre for Agency. South African Theatre Journal, No. 19, 242-253.

2004. Memory and desire: the museum as space for performing cultural identity? in African Theatre: Southern Africa, David Kerr (ed.) Oxford: James Currey, Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 51-67.

2004. South African Theatre in 'A History of Theatre in Africa', Martin Banham (ed.) Cambridge University Press, 312-379.

Professional associations

  • International Federation for Theatre Research, member
  • African Theatre Association, Honorary member (awarded 2022)

  • Royal African Society, member


  • D.Phil (Stellenbosch)

Office hours - - via Teams

Thursday 11.30-12.30, or by arrangement via email


Undergraduate modules


Theatre in the African Context

South African Theatre

Intercultural Theatre Practices


Postgraduate - MA Applied Theatre: Arts, Action, Change

MPhi/PhD - in areas related to my research



Logo with an abstract, symbolic figure of a dancer in yellow, orange and red alongside a curve in green that signifies a wheelchair. On either side is lettering that spells out the name of the network in black – African Dance Disability Network.

Book cover: South African performance and archives of memoryContemporary plays cover

African dance

Colourful image of an African woman dancing on the African continent with title: 'Gendering taboos - 10 short plays by African women'

African Theatre Contemporary Women