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Dr Yvette Hutchison


Reader in Theatre and Performance

Director of Graduate Studies

Tel: +44(0)24 765 74278

Room G23, Millburn House
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 PhD 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 PhD 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. Recent publications include the monograph South African Performance and the Archives of Memory, (Manchester University Press, 2013), a chapter on contemporary South African women playwrights Lara Foot-Newton and Yael Farber in Contemporary Women Playwrights: into the Twenty-First Century (Palgrave, 2013), co-edited African Theatre: Contemporary Women (James Currey/ Boydell & Brewer Inc., 2015), a chapter on Magnet Theatre, in The Methuen Guide to South African Drama (2015) and the article, 'Between word, image and movement: performative critiques of colonial ethnography', in the transdisciplinary journal Temoigner/ Testimony Quarterly - Special issue: Testimony Between History and Memory (2015).

AHRC-funded project: African Women Playwrights' Network

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

- to allow 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 have created this as a reciprocal site whereby we share and research, while providing a means for the participants to develop their own work and networks independently.

From 2017, University of Warwick Impact have funded this project to continue as some 240 African women from 21 countries promote their work, collaborate and discuss issues relevant to their industry, while at the same time connecting with researchers, programmers and other interested parties on the African continent and beyond.

Though the network’s app, the project team has worked with seven female playwrights from Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa to publish Contemporary plays by African Women (Methuen, January 2019). We have also worked with women to develop critical essays, explore issues that affects them as artists in a symposium in Cape Town in February 2017, and now are moving towards seeing how these exciting artists can act as potential role-models for other women. At the same time we are researching what kinds of interactions different platforms - live, social media and mobile apps - facilitat. We are also exploring different engagements with Africana womanisms.

For further information, or if you have questions, please feel free to email me 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)

My latest research projects have looked at how aesthetic choices effect performative engagement with sensitive issues and memories, particularly by women in the African context and in the ways in which artists and ethnographers are re-visiting European colonialism in Africa, particularly in restaging Human Zoos of the 19th century. I am also increasingly engaged with how embodied practices affect intercultural engagement, and am adding disability and dance to this work.

Teaching and supervision

In first year I co-ordinate and teach on the Performance Analysis module, which introduces students to ways of analysing plays and public events, like a Truth Commission, or an Olympic Games opening ceremony.

My second year elective undergraduate courses include 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.

My third year module Intercultural Performance Practices (TH320) explores issues related to making or analysing contemporary intercultural performance practice.

PhD supervisions: I supervise in the areas of my research interest. Recent 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 - ) 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 - ): Shifting language through performance: towards multilingual methodologies. (Commonwealth Scholarship)

Administrative roles

  • Director of Graduate Studies.
  • University Committees - Education Committee, Representatives of Arts Faculty to the overall Review of Assessment Group constituted by AQSC

Selected publications

At publishers

2018. African Theatre 17: Contemporary Dance. Woodbridge: James Currey/ Boydell & Brewer Inc. (Nov) (Co-edited with Chukwuma Okoye).
2018. 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. (6000 words)
2018. 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
2018. African Indigeneity: The Southern African challenge, in Key Concepts in Indigenous Studies, (eds.) N. Devy & Geoffrey Davis. Routledge.
2019. Contemporary Plays by African Women. Methuen (Co-edited with Amy Jephta)

In public domain

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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, (2005),15:3, 34-362.

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

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

South African Theatre (2004) 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


  • PhD (Stellenbosch)

Office hours

See noticeboard for available times each week.


Undergraduate modules

Performance Analysis

Theatre in the African Context

South African Theatre

Intercultural Theatre Practices

Postgraduate modules

MA in Theatre & Performance Research

 Book cover: South African performance and archives of memory