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Title: The emergence of Italian Canadian theatre from 1947 to the present
Author: Lomartire, Simone
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis represents the first study of Italian Canadian theatre. By Italian Canadian theatre, I mean plays written in Canada by Italian immigrants, in Italian dialect, Italiese, English or French. The criteria I followed are obviously selective, yet still important. Particularly, the primary sources discussed here have been chosen from within a corpus which explicitly addresses the ways in which Italian and Canadian cultures have combined to shape the emergence of distinctive identity-based dramatic texts, even when these play texts seem to have embraced more universal interests. 1947 marks a significant milestone, coinciding as it does with the removal of the Enemy Alien Act, in which the Canadian government officially proclaimed all Italians to be 'enemy aliens' and forbade them entry in the country. A new wave of immigration to Canada from Italy began then. The theatre that emerged in those early days speaks of communities striving to survive emotionally in unknown territory, expressing a growing awareness of what Italian immigrants brought with them and how this affected what they had been before. Unlike earlier theatre works, post-1947 theatre also reflects on what these immigrants became in Canada and on how new meanings and values, new practices, new relationships and kinds of relationships were continually being created, negotiated, and transformed. In order to examine Italian Canadian theatre, work needs to be considered within drama, anthropology, ethnography, and cultural studies. Research in these disciplines is helpful because it reflects on ethnic identities in terms of emergent cultures writing emergent literatures. The act of emergence implies a rereading of the canon through intertextual, interliterary, and interartistic networks of exchange. This emergence is calculated according to its distance from the national referent, and the theoretical model proposed recognises the complex participation of various types of change- transformations, discontinuities, and continuities. Following this theoretical framework, my thesis places emphasis on three case studies around questions of emergence in Italian Canadian theatre: a period of community-building amateur theatricals in which Italian Candian identities are established (1947-1974); a phase when Italian Canadian theatre emerges as 'multicultural' and as part of the subsidised arts sector through the politics of recognition of the Candian government (1973-1997); and a third period in which Italian Canadian theatre is still emerging and is increasingly being recognised beyond national borders (1996-present). Since this is the first in-depth study of Italian Canadian theatre, there is a need to account for its historical emergence. Emergence doubles here as a historical category which reads the chosen theatre works as documents speaking to the concerns of the Italian immigrants to Canada at specific moments in history. This is not to say that the plays selected here merely reflect their own conditions of production: a cultural historical approach is needed. Cultural history reads these works not just as passively marked with the imprint of history, but also as one of the ways in which history is made and remade. Moreover, it studies the construction of the subject, the extent to which and the mechanisms through which individuals are attached to particular identities, and the shape and characteristics of those identities.
Supervisor: Huggan, Graham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available