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Title: Children's theatre in the UK : representing cultural diversity on stage through the practices of interculturalism, multiculturalism and internationalism
Author: Schuitema, Karian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 8432
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2012
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The UK is a diverse society. It has had a colonial past and is now part of an interconnected global world. Past and present immigration have continuously shaped and re-shaped the ethnical, racial and cultural made up of its people. Children’s theatre can be understood as a theatrical dialogue between the adult practitioner and the child as an audience member that takes place at a specific time and place, while set in a wider social historical context. As such, it is important to understand how this diversity, found within the society, is represented on stage and how it informs this theatrical communication between adult and child. This thesis will therefore focus on the related practices of interculturalism, multiculturalism and internationalism, to discuss the importance but also the problems associated with representing cultural diversity. It will specifically focus on interculturalism which, in short, attempts to stage the interaction between multiple cultural influences. Understanding children’s theatre as a dialogue, this practice is particularly interesting as the cultural interaction between the representation on stage and the cultural background of the young audience members should also be considered. The central argument of this thesis is that intercultural productions can acknowledge and contribute to the cultural diversity found in the UK and offer children and young people from a range of different backgrounds, cultural representation and an opportunity to feel included in what is presented on stage. This in turn counters the desire to construct national identities as homogeneous, authentic and superior, excluding the cultural ‘other’ not just from the theatrical experience but denying access and participation in the ‘nation’s culture’. The thesis will discuss the problems associated with interculturalism, as staging the 3 ‘other’ culture might risk stereotypical and exotic representations as well as cultural appropriation and exploitation to underline creative processes. It will also take into account the increasingly negative perception of the terms ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘globalisation’ that generally inhibits the attempts of representing cultural diversity on stage. Overall, this research highlights the difficulties of cultural representation on the stage, but also focuses on the reasons and benefits of creating theatrical productions that more accurately represents the UK’s ‘globalised’ and ‘diverse’ society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available