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Interculturalism and Modernist Theatre

Monday, 21 November 2022, 10 – 11am

Interculturalism and Modernist Theatre

A seminar by Professor Brian Singleton (TCD) as part of the School of Creative Arts Research Forum.

Seeking to expand European theatrical norms, many in the modernist theatre turned to adaptations (or in many cases appropriations) of non-Western performance practices, from W.B. Yeats’s attempts to recreate Noh drama to Antonin Artaud’s interest in Balinese theatre to Bertolt Brecht’s inheritances from Beijing opera. Often beset by issues of primitivism, orientalism, and colonial exploitation in their approaches to non-European theatrical forms, such efforts stood alongside other attempts at intercultural exchange, from global re-stagings of European modernist plays to African adaptations of Greek tragedy to Asian and Latin American engagements with the play of ideas and the theatre of the absurd. These manifestations of modernism in theatre proved to be among the first and most influential manifestations of a newly globalized theatrical culture. This paper takes the postmodern term for the representation of others and otherness, interculturalism, and maps it onto the nineteenth-century term orientalism to explore both the Euro-American trajectory of modernist theatre as well as differing modernisms in global contexts.

Brian Singleton is Samuel Beckett Professor Drama & Theatre, and Academic Director of The Lir – National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity College Dublin. He is a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and an Honorary Fellow of Rose Bruford College. He is former Editor of Theatre Research International (Cambridge University Press, 2001-3) and former President of the International Federation for Theatre Research (2007-11). In 2012 he and Janelle Reinelt won the ATHE Excellence in Editing Award for their 40-volume book series ‘Studies in International Performance’ published by Palgrave Macmillan. A second book series (with co-editor Elaine Aston) entitled ‘Contemporary Performance InterActions’ for Palgrave Macmillan, has just been completed with a further 25 monographs and edited collections. He has published widely on theatre and performance practice in Irish and European contexts with a particular interest in interculturalism, orientalism, gender and memory, with books on Oscar Asche, Orientalism & British Musical Comedy, Masculinities and the Contemporary Irish Theatre, ANU-Productions: The Monto Cycle. Work in press includes a book chapter on thisispopbaby’s production of RIOT, and a book chapter on Interculturalism and Migration. He is currently working on a book chapter on Interculturalism for the Cambridge Companion to Modernist Theatre, and has completed the first draft of a new monograph on ‘Performance in Neoliberal Ireland’.

The School of Creative Arts Research Forum meets weekly on Mondays from 10am-11am in the Neill Lecture Theatre in Trinity Long Room Hub. The aim of the Forum is to provide a space for School researchers, both staff and postgraduate students, to share their ideas in an informal and supportive environment. It is also an opportunity for the School to hear about the research of colleagues both from within TCD and from outside the university who share our research interests. In line with the research agenda of the School, talks encompass traditional research and practice-based research.

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Room: Neill Lecture Theatre
Research Theme: Creative Arts Practice
Event Category: Arts and Culture, Lectures and Seminars
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Researchers, Postgrad, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free
Contact Name: Dr Scotty McQueen

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