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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.

She is associate editor of the South African Theatre Journal and the African Theatre series. Her Leverhulme project Performing Memory: Theatricalising identity in contemporary South Africa in 2012, culminated in her monograph South African Performance and Archives of Memory (Manchester University Press, 2013). From 2015-17 she had AHRC funding to develop mobile app technology to to create a 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.

Her next collaborative project with Lliane Loots of Flatfoot Dance Company, will trace the relationship between disability dance and citizenship with specific companies 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), is the basis for this work.

Her latest publications include the co-edited African Theatre: Contemporary Dance (James Currey, 2018), and Contemporary Plays by African Women (Methuen, 2019), articles or chapters on contemporary South African women-identified artists (2013, 2018), on 'Creating a network on and off-line, in and out of Africa' (RiDE, 2019), and various analyses of how artists and ethnographers are re-visiting European aesthetics and archives to reveal colonial afterlives that continue to resonate in the present (2015, 2019).

AHRC-funded project: African Women Playwrights' Network, see

Sign up at

From 2015 - June 2017, Yvette worked with Amy Jephtha (South African playwright and director) and Every1Mobile to create an app to grow an online network of African women creative practitioners with the following primary functions:

- to enable female artists from Africa to create profiles for themselves and their work, to increase their visibility and connectivity beyond regions, to access one another and others nationally and internationally.

- to highlight events from regions posting each month. This will both connect artists, and allow other interested parties (researchers, programmers, etc) to see key activities happening in the field of performance in various regions of Africa easily.

- to facilitate researchers engagement with artists via forums. Amy and I will post discussions on topics based around our own research, as well as issues that have arisen from surveys that we have conducted with participants through the project.

In a move towards decolonising methodologies of research, we created this as a reciprocal site whereby as we research, the participants are enabled in various ways to develop their own work and networks independently.

Since then, Warwick University has supported this project to the point of setting up and training the steering group to take over the network, created an Educational toolkit and film on the project. For further information and access to the resources, see the project web-site above, or email me at the address above.

Research interests

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

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 am at present expanding my research to incorporate issues related to gdenr and how the specific related issues arising affect aesthetic choices artists make.

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)

Teaching and supervision

In first year I teach on introductory modules, helping students see how they can analysing non-western, more embodied performances and public events, like a Truth Commission, or an Olympic Games opening ceremony. I also emphasise 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.
  • Emily Walsh (Oct 2020 - ): International Development in East Africa: global and local understandings of disability and their impact on Arts practices.

Administrative roles

  • Director of Research SCAPVC
  • 2022 Spring term - co-director of Graduate research
  • University Committees - Education Committee, Representatives of Arts Faculty to the overall Review of Assessment Group constituted by AQSC

Selected publications

In public domain


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

Edited Books

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

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, member

  • South Africa Federation for Theatre Research, member

  • Royal African Society, member


  • D.Phil (Stellenbosch)

Office hours - - via Teams

Tuesday 14.00-15.00,

or by arrangement via email


Undergraduate modules


From Text to performance



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

 Book cover: South African performance and archives of memory


Contemporary plays cover

African dance

African Theatre Contemporary Women