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TH320 - Intercultural Theatre Practices 2014-15

Seminar: Friday, 13.30 – 15.30, G56, (except week 4 - G55)

Convenor: Dr. Yvette Hutchison,

Room G23, Millburn House, .


T2, week 1 - Essay (3000 words) – 30%
Term 3 - Research presentation – 50% (exam), Critique (2000 words) - 20%

This module sets out to look at the implications of contemporary intercultural performance practice in the context of globalisation in terms of form, focus, ideological and ethical implications.

The learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:
- demonstrate a critical analysis of cultural differences and to examine the processes of their mediation through the various cultures;
- articulate an understanding of the concepts of (1) cultural in relation to identity and aesthetics, (2) the difference between inter- and multiculturalism, and (3) the impact of cultural imperialism and globalisation in relation to theatre production
- analyse how theatre as a form can both reflect and challenge ideas of cultural representation and expression
- engage in research-led investigation of these ideas in both primary and secondary material and communicate their findings both orally and in writing.

We will explore the course through
• focussed reading of primary and secondary material for each tutorial session
• group discussion and presentation, including visual material and textual analysis
• research in small groups for presentation in class
• some practical class work
• Two written assessments (essay & critique) over the two semesters and an examination in the form of a research presentation

Questions we will explore in seminars will include

  • What is culture, and how is it constructed? (This will include exploring the construction of cultural hegemony, a collective ideology and aesthetics). Here we will specifically be looking at Patrice Pavis’s introduction to the Intercultural Performance Reader, looking at the various approaches to culture and exploring the implications of these approaches, particularly in relation to globalisation.
  • We then turn to looking at the implications of such construction of culture for the way we represent ourselves as a group – either as an essentialist discourse (exclusively) or as a constructivist discourse (inclusively). This notion of representation includes the negotiation of identity – both personal and collective. This, in turn, leads us to ask how a multi-cultural context, as the world has become in the global context, affects the expression of this complex identity in performance?
  • If we are working across cultures, languages and contexts, how do the issues of translation, appropriation, and representation affect intercultural performance practice?
  • What is the relationship between the postcolonial and intercultural in the context of globalisation and media?

These ideas will be explored against actual examples of interactions between Asia, Africa and Europe in twentieth century film and theatre.

Pre-read - Ric Knowles, 2010. Theatre & Interculturalism. (Palgrave Macmillan) – overview.

Prescribed texts (recommend buying)
Patrice Pavis (ed.) 1996. The Intercultural performance Reader (London/ NY: Routledge)
Helen Gilbert (ed.), 2001. Postcolonial Plays: an anthology (London: Routledge)
David Henry Hwang M. Butterfly. 1957. (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1989, or in Wadsworth. multiple copies in library)
Video material and readings will be available to exemplify much of this material.
Other key references
Bharucha, R. 1993. Theatre and the world: Performance and the politics of culture. London: Routledge
McLeod, John. 2000. Beginning Postcolonialism. Manchester: Manchester Uni Press.
Said, E. 1994. On Orientalism, in Culture & imperialism. London : Vintage. (Scanned excerpt)
Schechner, R. & Appel, W. By means of performance – intercultural studies of theatre and ritual. Cambridge: CUP.
Schipper, Mineke. 1999. Imagining Insiders: Africa and the question of belonging. London: Cassell (the introduction, Scanned excerpt)
Video material and readings will be available to exemplify much of this material.

Autumn Term: Theatre & interculturalism

Week 1: Defining key questions, concepts 

Consider what constitutes culture and tradition? How do these ideas relate to peoples’ construction and representation of their identities: personal, communal, national, international?

Read: Introduction to Pavis’s Intercultural Performance Reader

Mineke Schipper – Introduction to Imagining Insiders scanned at


Week 2: Intercultural practices involving specific embodied forms: 1st wave

Review critiques of interculturalism discussed in year 1, specifically with reference to

Peter Brook’s Mahabharata and Ariane Mnouchkine’s Asian Shakespeares, Tambours sur le Digne.

Discussions on Brook: (from Pavis, Patrice, The Intercultural Performance Reader)

  • Brook, Peter – The culture of links, pp. 63 – 66.
  • Williams, David – “Remembering the others that are us”: Transculturalism and the myth in the theatre of Peter Brook, pp. 67-78.
  • Carlson, Marvin – Brook and Mnouchkine – Passages to India, pp. 79-92.
  • James M. Harding, ‘Brechtian aesthetics and the death of the director in Peter Brook's The Mahabharata’, in The ghosts of the avant-garde(s) : exorcising experimental theater and performance. University of Michigan Press, 2013.

  • Bharucha, Rhustom Peter Brook’s Mahabharata – A View from India. In: Bharucha, R. Theatre and the World. London & NY: 1993.
  • Dasgupta, Gautam. The Mahabharata – Peter Brook’s Orientalism. In: Interculturalism & Performance. (eds.) Bonnie Marranca & Gautam Dasgupta. PAJ Publishers, 1991.
  • Dasgupta, Gautam. The Mahabharata – Peter Brook’s Orientalism. In: Interculturalism & Performance. (eds.) Bonnie Marranca & Gautam Dasgupta. PAJ Publishers, 1991.

On Mnouchkine’s adaptations of Shakespeare using Asian theatre forms – Zarilli, 477-478, Suzuki’s European adaptations, Zarilli, 459-461.

Rhustom Bharucha “Foreign Asia / Foreign Shakespeare: Dissenting Notes on New Asian Interculturality, Postcoloniality, and Recolonization”, Theatre Journal, Vol. 56, No. 1, (March 2004), 1-28.

Mnouchkine's more recent work - Tambours sur la digue and Le Dernier Caravanserail (Odyssées) (stage productions,later films)


Week 3: How Interculturalism Performs the Self as an Other

Read - Extract from Said “On Orientalism”, 

- Fiona Siang Yun Sze, “How interculturalism Performs: Performativity, performability and the theatricality of interculturalism”, in Interculturalism: exploring critical issues, Diane Powell and Fiona Sze (eds.) Oxford: Interdisciplinary Press, 2004, 127-133. [e-book]

- Hwang’s M. Butterfly, in W. B. Worthen, (ed.,) The Wadsworth anthology of drama, (muiltiple copies in library)

Week 4: Kathakali Workshop (G55) - Dress appropriately!

Read in preparation background to Kathakali, see Theatre histories [electronic resource] : an introduction / Phillip B. Zarrilli ... [et al.]

Week 5: Contemporary Adaptations: negotiating intercultural performance through dance

Discuss - workshop experience

This week in IPP we are going to look at two Sadlers Welles' collaborations, as examples of contemporary intercultural perormance:

1. Bengali-British dancer, Akram Khan, whose work is described as described as ‘a mix of North Indian classical dance, Kathak, and contemporary dance’, we will specifically look at his piece zero degrees,

In prep, find out what you can about Saddlers Welles, and Akram Khan’s background, see,

We will focus particularly on his collaborative piece Zero Degrees, where Khan worked with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Antony Gormley & Nitin Sawhney.

As you watch the clip, think of last week's workshop,

Also see Sidi Larbi and Akram Khan talk about the making of Zero Degrees,


2. Inala (WAC, Tues 30 September 8.00 p.m), the ‘zulu ballet’, a collaboration between Ladysmith Black Mambazo and dancers from the Royal Ballet and Rambert dance.

Find out what you can about all concerned, and watch (15 min clip of the ballet).

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7: Interculturalism in the postcolonial context: India

Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana (in Postcolonial Plays)

Further reading: “Girish Karnad and an Indian theatre of roots”, in Brian Crow & Chris Banfield. An Introduction to post-colonial Theatre (CUP, 1996) pp. 136-160.

Karnad, Girish. 1989. Theatre in India. Daedalus. 118:4, pp. 330- 352.

Karnad, Girish interviewed by Aparna Dharwadker: “Performance, meaning, and the materials of modern Indian theatre.” NTQ, Vol. XI, No. 44, Nov. 1995, pp. 355-370.


Week 8: Post-war Japan - Takarazuka and the 1950s American musical

Read – Brau, L. 1990. The Women's Theatre of Takarazuka. Drama Review, 14:4, 79-95.

Nobuko Anan, 2011. Two-dimensional Imagination in Contemporary Japanese Women’s Performance, TDR, The Drama Review, Vol. 55, No 4, Winter 2011 (T212), 96-112

Watch Clips

The Final Countdown (1999), Minoru Kou and Yuri Hoshina in the Star Troupe production of "Great Century",

Rose of Versailles Memorandam (2008) -

Me and my Girl (2008),

[For further interest see Goth Lolita and Harajuku fashion]


Week 9: Australian aboriginal identity and music

Read: Jimmy Chi and Kuckles: Bran Nue Dae (in Postcolonial Plays, 320-347.)

Jo Roach. World-Bank Drama, in ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 50:1-3 (2004), 157-176.

See also:

Compare play to film, Jan 2010, official web-site:

Makeham, Paul B. (1996) Singing the landscape: "Bran Nue Dae". Australasian Drama Studies (28):pp. 117-132,

Makeham, Paul B. (1996) Singing the landscape: "Bran Nue Dae". Australasian Drama Studies, pp. 117-132, .

Jacqueline Lo, Tropes of Ambivalence in Bran Nue Dae, Australian National University, - 38k

Impact of Hip Hop on Australian Aboriginal identity, see,,

Aboriginal hip hop and youth identity, Stavrias, Australian Aboriginal Studies 2005/2, 44-54. See


Week 10: Beyond the postcolonial? Interculturalism in the context of the global/ cosmopolitan ...


Post-race, Geopolitical division and identity construction - Guillermo Verdecchia: Fronteras Americanas (Canada) (in Postcolonial Plays, 419- 442.)

Anoop Kayak, After race: Ethnography, race and post-race theory, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29:3 (May 2006), 411 – 430., 5 Aug 2014, accessed 15/08/14

Begin considering the number of Human Zoo exhibitions in Europe

Discuss presentations


SPRING TERM: questions of globalisation in relation to new spaces and modes of cultural representation

We will address questions of globalisation in relation to new spaces and modes of cultural representation, and the ways in which these have both facilitated and problematised our negotiations of race and histories of colonialism in last decade of 20th and beginning of 21st centuries.

Week 1 - Discuss possible areas/ groups for research presentations (exam).

Come with ideas, areas or questions of interest, and be ready to outline yours.


Week 2 – Discuss Intercultural renegotiation of past: Contemporary Human zoos in Europe/ Africa

With the awareness of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Coco Fusco’s controversial "The Couple in the Cage” (1992-93), 30 min video, and Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West (1992–1994)


The rebuilding of Kongolandsbyen from the 1914 world fair in Oslo, Norway, May - Aug 2014.

The Human zoo in Congo,

Township tourism in Kenya, South Africa, etc ...

Information on the conception and reception to Brett Bailey’s Exhibit B, a human zoo, in Europe/ UK.

What issues do these examples highlight for theatre/ cultural practices?

Secondary reading: Chikha, Chokri Ben & Karel Arnaut (2013) Staging/caging 'otherness' in the postcolony: spectres of the human zoo, Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies, 27:6, 661-683.


Week 3: Work on your research projects as groups. Make appointments to see me to discuss these.


Week 4: Aesthetics and revisioning of ethnographic gaze

Belgium company Action Zoo Humain’s De Waarheidscommissie / The Truth Commission (2013-14),

Interactive sound installation Between Words and Images, curated by Ernestine White, oral poet, Toni Stuart, Rust en Vreugd, SA, 2013-14.


1913 World Fair in Ghent, Truth Commissions, particularly SA TRC

Characteristics of Verbatim theatre, see Michael Mangan’s The Drama, Theatre & Performance Companion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp201-2.

18th century French explorer, François Le Vaillant


Week 5: Aesthetics continues: non-naturalistic representation

Sogolon and Handspring Puppet Company’s Tall Horse (2005), promotional DVD, Cape-Town.

Read: Text by Kephra Burns in Millar, Mervyn. (2006) Journey of the Tall Horse: A story of African Theatre. London: Oberon Books (text of the play and notes on the process)

See Youtube clip of the show -, 28 Oct 2013

Secondary material:

Hutchison, Yvette. March 2010. The ‘Dark Continent’ goes North: an exploration of intercultural theatre practice through Handspring and Sogolon Puppet companies’ The Tall Horse. Theatre Journal, 62:1, 57-74.

Kruger, M. The Relationship between Theatre and Ritual in the Sogo bo of the Bamana from Mali. New Theatre Quarterley, Vol. 25; Part 3; No. 99; 2009, 233-240,

SABC-TV 2. (2004) "Sticks and Strings". Producer: Simon Damast, Directed: Jemima Spring


Week 6: Reading week

 Week 7: Physical theatre: Engaging the disappeared

Magnet Theatre’s Rain in a Dead man’s Footprints (DVD)


Brown, Duncan, 'Stories of Land, Land of Stories: Aboriginality, Identity and Belonging in South Africa and Beyond', in: To speak of this land: identity and belonging in South Africa and beyond, 7-35,

Mark Fleischman. 2005. ‘Stories like the Wind’: Recontextualising / Xam narratives for contemporary audiences. SATJ 19, 43-57.

Secondary material:

Kati Francis. 2006. Theatre of struggle and transformation: A critical investigation into the power of oral traditions as used by director Mark Fleischman. SATJ 20, 102-127.

Alex Halligey. 2005. Re-inventing mythologies: arguments towards cultural identity in Medea and Rain in a dead man's footprints. SATJ 19, 208-222.


Week 8: Disney and interculturalism

In preparation think about your own experiences with Disney.

Think about what constitutes a stereotype, how and why stereotypes work in society.

Read: Kathy Maio, "Disney's Dolls" by Kathi Maio, New Internationalist (Dec. 1998) Issue 308,

Shu-Ling C. Berggreen & Katalin Lustyik “Lilo vs. Dora: Interculturalism through the Lens of Disney and Nickelodeon.”, accessed 2/03/2011, or,
accessed 23/02/2015.

Further reading: Annalee Ward, Mouse Morality (University of Texas Press, 2003)

Week 9: Dash Arts - Tim Supple and Josephine Burton are coming to discuss intercultural Shakespeare with us, and their experiences with their company. In preparation, please prepare thoughts on the following three questions:

1. How would you personally define 'intercultural performance'?

2. Prepare one example (to describe and talk about) that you have seen of what you consider to be 'intercultural performance' that you either feel was especially successful or non-successful.

3. Prepare the best argument you can as 'devil's advocate' AGAINST 'intercultural performance'.

Week 10: Finalising research presentations.