Skip to main content

Performing Ethnicity, Culture and Identity






School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies

TH216 - Aspects of Theatre and Performance: Performing Ethnicity, Culture and Identity

Tutor: Dr Nadine Holdsworth (


Autumn Term 2011


Seminars: Tuesday 1.30-3.30pm

Room: G56




50% = 1 x 3000 word essay (essay questions to be released in week 5)

50% = 1 x 1.5 hour exam in the summer term


Module Description: During this module we will discuss twentieth and twenty-first century playwrights, performance artists and theatre practitioners who have used theatre and performance to intervene in debates and concerns around black cultural identity and representation. Drawing on the work of theorists such as Franz Fanon, Edward Said and Homi Bhabha, we will consider how practitioners have engaged with notions of ‘otherness’ in their work. The module will explore the performative strategies used by theatre and performance practitioners to critique cultural representations of the ‘other’ and the ways in which they have opened up debates around structures of power and representation. We will also address the increasing presence of playwrights and performance practices that seek to acknowledge, represent and explore the hybrid, diverse and multiple nature of cultural identity. Discussions will involve concepts and issues relating to the classical canon, discontinuous histories, notions of beauty, authenticity, belonging, commodification, eroticization and globalisation. By looking at a range of playwrights, theatre practitioners and performance artists and a variety of theatrical forms, the module will encourage you to explore and assess some of the textual, theatrical and performative strategies that have emerged to confront, critique and animate debates around cultural ‘otherness’.


Learning Outcomes:


Subject Knowledge and Understanding

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which playwrights and theatre-makers have used theatre to respond to, intervene in and debate issues around cultural ‘otherness’ and display an understanding of why and how the concerns addressed relate to wider historical contexts.
  • Show an awareness of how theories, issues and debates relating to race and cultural identity are explored in and through the subject matter, forms, creative processes and performance contexts utilised in a variety of theatre works.
  • Describe and assess some of the textual, theatrical and performative strategies used in the works studied.

Key Skills

  • Access and collate relevant primary and secondary sources.
  • Undertake research tasks and use appropriate research tools.
  • Coherently communicate what they have learnt and to argue their point of view orally and in written form.
  • Display good time management and organisational skills by meeting deadlines and preparing work to an acceptable standard.


Cognitive Skills

  • Critically analyse diverse forms of theatre and performance practice.
  • Make connections between forms of theatre and attendant social, political and cultural debates and theories.
  • Collate, examine and utilise relevant primary and secondary source material.




Subject Specific/Professional Skills

  • Describe, interpret and evaluate performance texts, production techniques and performance events within their historical and cultural contexts.
  • Engage critically with a range of critical and theoretical perspectives.
  • Embark on appropriate independent research.
  • Demonstrate organisational, communication and presentational skills.